Anime and Male Entitlement: How Men Defend Perversion and Pedophilia
Sex sells, non-sexualised female characters, and Anita Sarkeesian
When I thought about all the anime I’ve watched and tried to sort out which ones avoided sexualising its female characters, I found the list to be extremely short.
Most of the popular anime out there spend a hefty amount of time focusing on a child's developing breasts and on what's underneath her extremely short school skirt.
So I tried to find more non-sexualising anime on the internet and I came across this Thread on Reddit. A person asked for some anime recommendations that weren’t overly sexualising its female characters, and one Redditor responded with this:
This misogynist, as you can see, is mansplaining and defending female sexualisation. He considers sexualising female bodies as an acceptable means of marketing towards men.
He also considers access to female bodies a necessary aspect of men’s lives, reducing women to commodities like alcohol and video games men can use to relieve stress or distract themselves from their depressing lives. And finally, he gets offended when a person calls sexualising anime for what it is—sexist, misogynistic, pedophilic.
“Sex Sells” - Male Entitlement in Media:
“Sex sells” is an infamous excuse used in the advertising industry to sexualise women. When any product is targeted to a male consumer, the laziest, most uncreative tactic that works is putting a half-naked woman on the cover. It’s just an excuse to make money off women’s bodies.
Why is this absurd?
Consider a show aimed at girls. It would revolve around their lives, their friendships, focusing on their goals, or cute things they buy, and when the topic of boys comes in, it is mostly about falling in love.
Now, take a show aimed at boys, it revolves around proving the strength of a character with some kind of social commentary. And when a woman comes in, her character design is sexualised, irrespective of her age. The show would have frequent low-angle shots of her mini skirt and uncomfortable scenes of boob jiggle.
In fact, even in a show aimed at girls, this rule has no exception. (Azumanga Daioh, Asobi Asobase, Komi Can’t Communicate, etc.) Girls are forced to look at themselves in this uncomfortable light until we get accustomed to it.
Why do adult artists fixate on sexualising the female character? Why is a woman’s body necessary to keep a school boy hooked to a show? Why do adult men teach young boys to be perverts at such a young age? The response of High School of the Dead creator Shoji Sato to an unrelated question in an interview was that he created something that his fourteen-year-old self would enjoy.
Teenage years are when a child’s sexual curiosity starts to develop. The solution is not to show them that sex is a one-way-street where a man gains pleasure by ogling at a school girl’s body, but to show sex as a mutual act of passion.
And since it’s not sensible to add sex into a show for kids, the appropriate thing to do is show the development of love between characters and maybe some mutual romance, you know, like they do in a show aimed at girls. But men just want to have a peek at a girl’s underwear and see her huge breasts jiggle. They see female bodies as objects of pleasure. They don’t want love. They want sexual gratification.
“Sex sells” is just an excuse for men to access women’s bodies from the comforts of their living room. For them, women are just another possession to buy and use or be rewarded with, like money, a trophy, or a car; and not humans they could interact and spend time with.
If they ever interact and act “nice”, they feel entitled to sex. If they rescue you from the bad guy, help you with your work, pay your bill at the restaurant, they seek sex in return. This is the male entitlement. The thought that access to female bodies is a right they have earned for being the winner or the “nice guy”. It’s not for friendship, not for connection. It all boils down to using female bodies for pleasure.
What about Male Sexualisation?
Male characters, at large, aren’t sexualised, at least not in way that is attractive to women. When a male character appears shirtless, it is to prove his strength to his male opponent. It is to appear intimidating. To appear as a role model for the young boys watching.
But when a female character does it, it is to appear pleasing to the male viewer. It’s about being submissive. And if she’s a powerful character, then she is sexualised so that men wouldn’t feel too intimidated by her and hate her for being a strong, feminist bitch. The ultimate aim is to have a strong female character that still gives a boner.
Who is Anita Sarkeesian?
But thanks to this Redditor’s sexist comment, I was able to know who Anita Sarkeesian is—the name he uses in the Thread as an insult.
Anita Sarkeesian is a feminist activist who has worked to educate people on sexism in video games and has faced online harassment, death threats, and rape threats for the same. Men have created video games where the player can punch her face until it bleeds. There were also extreme cases where men have threatened to do a mass shooting if she ever received an award for her activism.
If you're wondering what got men and boys to turn into instant terrorists, here's one of Anita Sarkeesian's analysis of video games:
If you'd like to know the full length of threats she has received for her activism and the amazing work she has done, read this Guardian article.
List of non-sexualising anime:
I was going to include anime with mild sexualisation on this list, but if boys and men feel so much entitlement towards female bodies as some sort of reward for their hard work or a stress buster in their privileged lives, then screw those perverts and pedophiles.
And remember. Don’t you ever let a guy mansplain to you why female sexualisation is a sensible marketing strategy that should not be considered sexist.
You can read the list of anime that do not sexualise female characters here. The list is short, but will hopefully grow as I watch more anime and keep updating it.