Upon my research on how Sailor Moon is portrayed in the media i found that a lot of the articles compared Sailor Moon to Barbie and basically portrayed Sailor Moon as the strong fighter and Barbie as the superficial glamour doll.
Smith (1996) “In their search for identity in an ideal, young 1990s teenage girls have outgrown the materialistic Barbie world of coifs, glamorous fashions and pink cars.
Sailor Moon is above this superficiality.
She and her loyal scouts, Venus, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter, combat wicked Queen Beryl and the malignant forces of the Megaverse, “fighting evil by moonlight.””
I believe this, while it portrays Sailor Moon as great, also relates to the portrayal of women in the media.
Barbie is seen as superficial and girly, which in turn suggests that being materialistic somehow is bad. The issue that comes up is the women being strong vs weak (Sailor Moon vs Barbie) and suggesting that being girly means you’re weak. However, in reality women can be both of these things.
Barry (1995) quotes a male spokesperson for the company that’s importing Sailor Moon to the United States: “Today’s little girls want to be just as strong as boys. Barbie is not really an appropriate role model anymore.” “this guy is trying to tell us that Barbie is NOT STRONG ENOUGH.”
I feel that both of these characters show women in different ways and i find it interesting that the people associate being strong with men and this whole societal stereotyping and sexism that comes with these statements.
As i reflect on my initial reaction i realise that these opinions are from at least 10 years and as a woman in this day and age we are more aware of the stereotyping of women.
Barry, D 1995, To The Moon, Sailor, Buffalo News, United States.
Smith, N 1996, Sailor Moon eclipses Barbie, The Record, Kitchener ONT.
Interesting to find that these two characters/figurines which were so prevalent throughout our childhood, have been compared as opposing influencers on us. I feel personally, that they provide a different outlook on women’s ideals and interests but they also appeal to different individuals. I loved Sailor Moon as a child, though I had friends who were not exposed to the show.
The impact that either had on us as young females would definitely effect us according to our exposure. It is interesting to take a step back, now that we are able to see the both Barbie and Sailor Moon from a new perspective. How much they have sculpted our idea of the ‘role of women,’ and ‘women’s interests,’ would be interesting to research, though it would also be difficult! How would you go about this study? Would you be interviewing people?
I look forward to reading more!
This blog might be interesting for you to look at as it shares a lot of posts related to a meme called “Self-Positive Sailor Moon”, which the blogger actually started off as part of a therapy project. So in this meme and blog we can see a culture of female empowerment and self-positivity growing around the characters of Sailor Moon http://sailorscoutsays.tumblr.com/
It might also be worth considering the different cultures that shaped the ideologies that Sailor Moon and Barbie both represent? Or maybe even looking at Sailor Moon in the context of the Magical School Girl genre in anime that the series essentially pioneered?