FEMININITY IN JAPANESE ANIME: Analysis.

ALEX

In my autoethnographic account: ‘FEMININITY IN JAPANESE ANIME’, I explored how my initial ideas of femininity, including how they are visually portrayed, were challenged. This occurred through my viewing of various anime and Studio Ghibli films.

Throughout this account, I used epiphanies to present to my readers just how different Hayao Miyazaki’s portrayal of females were compared to animations that I was previously used to e.g. Disney and the damsel in distress stereotype. These epiphanies impacted on and helped to further shape my understanding of femininity in anime.

I used Ellis et al’s methodology of “storytelling” and “showing” in an attempt to familiarise my audience with the characters of whom I was talking about, and by doing so, ‘bring “readers into the scene” – particularly into thoughts, emotions, and actions.‘ I also did this as a way of informing my readers, who may not be familiar with anime…

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5 comments

  1. Femininity is a great idea to focus on, as the way in which females are represented is so diverse depending on the culture. It’s awesome that you’re exploring the notion of femininity in relation to Japanese anime from past and current Japanese art, that way you can contrast between the two and reveal the differences, if there are any. I like how you referred to Kobayakawa’s ‘gaze’, during my art theory studies, I’ve learnt a lot about the concept of the ‘gaze’ in relation to how an audience views the people presented. The concept of the gaze became popular with the rise of postmodern philosophy and social theory, this article explains more about it and might be of use to you http://www.artandpopularculture.com/Gaze
    I also found this article that contrasts masculinity vs femininity in Japanese culture which could be a useful, unique way to look at your project http://www.handa-links.com/masculinity-femininity-japanese.asp
    Overall, good post. Well done

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  2. I find the topic of femininity in Japanese culture broadly speaking especially interesting and so I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your experience. While Studio Ghibli is setting a great example of redefining gender roles, do you think this is having a pronounced effect in the larger anime world? I like how you wove the Ellis et al reading into your experience to aid with the narrative structure as well as implementing Stockins’ thesis to provide context to your personal experience.

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    1. Thank you for commenting! From the research I have conducted so far, the influence of Studio Ghibli films on broader anime products doesn’t seem too large. A lot of anime and manga culture still manifest some concerning depictions of females, and Stockins’ objectively explores this in her thesis. At the most basic level, it really just comes down to cultural differences. When the ‘outsider’ is exposed to these differences they become shocked as it is so far removed and unfamiliar from their perceived ‘norm’. I am constantly trying to remind myself of this while conducting my research and to question why I am feeling a certain way. I would love to see Studio Ghibli films become more influential on the larger anime world, but it really comes down to a lot of other heavily engrained cultural elements (e.g. what defines sex appeal) that decide whether or not this changes.

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  3. After reading your original post on femininity in Japanese anime and then reading your self-analysis of how you approached the blog post, I can see that you did use some of Ellis et al’s approach to autoethnography. It was interesting to see your cultural framework in relation to anime and how that not only shaped how you viewed the anime but also how you approached the blog post. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a deeper analysis into some of the contrasts between women’s role in Japanese anime and Western cartoons. Otherwise, this is a good self-analysis.

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    1. Thanks for your comment! At this point I’m still trying to figure out which path I want to take in my research which is why I did not delve too deep into certain areas. I also want to avoid strict comparisons between Japanese and Western animations, but I see no harm in using them as points of reference and perspective.

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