Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Question for the Girls



Ok, so this post is gonna be a little different from my usual. Why? Because for once, instead of writing my opinions and telling you what to think, I'm going to do what I've never done before and actually give a crap about what you have to say!

Anyway, onto the topic; it doesn't really take a genius to notice that anime seems to be a very male dominated industry. Whilst there are obviously shoujo and josei titles out there, very rarely do they break out into mainstream acceptance. Ouran Host Club and some of the CLAMP work may have done very well with both male and female audiences, but they are a rarity, with most popular mainstream titles being originally targeted towards male audiences.

This I believe, is further compounded in Akihabara, the otaku promised land. I've been to Japan twice now, and both times I had spent a considerable number of days in Akiba, where I was surrounded by a nonstop montage of everything that could possibly appeal to a man, that being tits and giant robots (and also lolis and moe, but I refuse to acknowledge them).

Just like the anime industry, Akiba was very much a man's town. There were stores that catered to female audiences (I once accidentally bought a yaoi manga from one when I mistook the two characters on the cover for chicks), but they were few and generally off the main road. For the most part, all the largest and most visible stores generally catered to men and the women who enjoy big plastic tits.

Similarly, one of the most striking aspects of Akiba is the sheer gender imbalance of the place. It wouldn't be an exageration for me to say that I saw about one chick for every ten guys. Furthermore, most of the women I saw there were simply working either as store keepers or maid cosplayers who constantly try to sell you shit/prostitute themselves/annoy you.

Likewise, the online fandom, whilst counting many women amongst its ranks, seems geared primarily towards the male point of view. Online goliaths such as Danny Choo and others are almost invariably men, whereas sites such as Sankaku Complex take it one step further by exhibiting blatently anti-feminist views (I realize not all women are feminist, but it's 3am and I'm too tired to get into details).

Having observed Akihabara and popular anime fandom in general, it seems hard not to conclude that anime is primarily targeted towards men, with women as a subsidiary market. Yet, this doesn't appear to be case. In the anime blogosphere, there are many female bloggers; on my blogroll alone, Riiana, Koshiko, Duckie, Meimi, Coeli, Anna and Devon are but few of the seemingly many female fans. Similarly, anime conventions generally seem to have a pretty even mix of both genders.

So my question to you girls out there is, what's it like to be a female otaku? I'm going to go and a limb here and assume that most of you don't quite like animated tits as much as I do, so what's it about this strange little fandom that appeals to you?

As I've mentioned, anime and its fandom seems very much geared towards men, seeming at times almost hostile to women. Yet, here you are. Nonetheless, while we're all anime fans here, I'm presuming your experiences as female fans are vastly different from mine as a male fan, so please, feel free to share those experiences.

(Guys, feel free to post as well)

EDIT: I forgot to mention in my earlier, these anti-feminist views that seem embedded in anime fandom have become distinctly manifest during the recent rape game ban debacle. According to quite a few blogs I've read, feminist are now apparently the worst oppressors in the world. Kim Jong-Il be damned; these feminist and their inhumane beliefs of equal rights are the real villains.

30 comments:

  1. "I once accidently bought a Yaoi Manga because I mistook the guys on the cover as chicks"

    That just made my day XD

    Why is this a mostly male dominated market?
    I think this is due to the gender roles in Japan and other parts of the world.
    While grown up guys are allowed to still have childish hobbies its an absolute No-No for women.As soon as they reach a certain age they have to act all mature.

    Just go look around.When a housewive talks about her man and his Miniature Train collection her friends just shake their heads and say...Guys...
    A women with the same hobby would be called weird though

    Okay and heres a different Take on the Whole Anime is a Guys thing:
    Over here in Germany Anime and Manga are a female dominated market and nearly exclusively caters to this market.Id say that 80% focus on the 14 year old female market.Sure there are some Shounen series that are popular but the rest is rather pathetic.

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  2. One thing that is more common with female fans of something "nerdy" is that they (we) are better at keeping it secret when not with close friends. Blowfish already said that women are not allowed to have childish hobbies, so it is rarely paraded the way you might see otaku in Akihabara. On the other side, you have the loud screaming fangirl type that makes the sane fans look bad, lol.

    Personally, I am into some stereotypically male otaku things (like video games and mecha model kits), but I only really interact with other females.

    I'm not into anime tits/hentai, but I mainly just avoid certain anime and websites (cough, Sankaku).

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  3. I'm an Otaku no Fujoshi as I do not like BL at all. I perfer Eroge and figures. I don't tell my work friends about my eroge hobby or collection of that genre but only to my real friends.

    I find it frustrting to only get female figures I wish theyw ould release 1/8 scale Gilgamesh from Fate/Stay Night or Yashamaru from Basilisk. Only very popular male characters get figures like Death Note of Code Geass, which is also good but I want more.

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  4. I think its all a market plan. why is otaku male dominated industry? because its a bigger market share for them and the earnings are bigger.

    Girls probably feels more atracted by male seiyus.

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  5. Hehehe...animax is male dominated.

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  6. OMG Snark, you actually add my name into your blog, wow! Hahaha! Expect a loooooooooong comment. XDDDDDDD;;

    Ok, so my opinion as a female who likes anime? (you will realize I do not label myself as fan/otaku because I don't think I watch enough or love every anime compared to so many out there, so yeah. I ONLY indulge to specific titles!) It's funny that I actually got back to watching anime (& auto like many all-things Japanese) during the era they aired Kenshin, LOL. This is the main reason why I'm so loyal or still crazy over that series, because without it, I think I'll still be a Western media, all-things 80's fan, ROFL!! I mean, sure, I do watch some fury or classic anime way before Kenshin, but they do not turn me into a silly fangirl towards anime men, the Jap. culture & gave me opportunity to know other great anime. ^_^x'

    Well, what draws me towards my fave anime series (in order), is because of the characters, the story/the idea/concept, the style, the music, the cast & the crew. Surprisingly, I think anime does not only cater to male, but also to female AND children! I feel that in order for an anime series to be extremely popular (financial wise), it needs to have CRAZY fangirls/fanboys or the ECSTATIC children. (money coming, baby) I realized the Japanese are SO DARN SMART, they actually know how to market to their target audience/consumers. They don't only produce anime alone, there's the manga market push, the merchandise, the seiyuu connected branding, the music soundtrack, the trend for lifestyle & so on!! This is why the Western media are slowly fading & ppl convert to anime otaku because there's so many variety & revivals. When you think you've seen the best anime, no, there will always be new anime to prove you wrong. I know some ppl might already be fed up with anime now, due to the abused of mainstream/stereo-typical usage (moe & the like), the similar style & over-doing of promotion.

    This is why GAINAX is my top most respected anime studio (while others preferred Miyazaki), because they don't go for trying too hard to impress ppl or to suck in the money of the usual fanbase, they don't adapt from existing manga (I'm referring to their original works, not sub or collab), they always bring something crazy, new flavor, brilliant concept AND they managed to be the KING.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. wow...ok, comment box can't take too many words from me, so here's the balance:

    Now more about me with this media. I on the other hand feel like I am very picky/fussy & do not think or act like the normal/majority of female fans. For one, I am not into yaoi. I remembered I really get freaked out by it, but now I'm more cool maybe because I'm getting used to it.(as in, being surrounded for so long by females who loves it) I really feel down when they think I'm a homophobic or reacted too much but hey, everyone is different. Female catered genre (shoujo) somehow seemed more horny & full of fluff compared to shounen. If the guys think they are the ultimate perv, well I think the girls will shock you. I've read shoujo manga (and I'm SURE they got adapted to anime, but I don't have the source) for YOUNG girls, & I was "........" when I saw that they allow the mangaka to showcase harrassment, sex, gang rape with abuse, etc. openly (they are NOT doujin btw) & the female characs do NOTHING as if they enjoyed it & don't plan to fight back like...oooookay, is that what they want the real girls to do? It's STILL popular until now, & this means the readers just begs for more because they've already got brainwashed by it. I'm sorry, but I find the overly obsessive female channel to be sick. Being a female, this is embarassing as it is not enough voice for me to defend for the female amounts who do not follow those group & have sophisticated taste. I think out of all the females around me, only a few & below are as rare as me. Oddly, it's so HARD to get male characters as merchandise, I always see female instead. While most girls are into girlish, clean shaved, cute, mysterious/aloof, whatever feeds their fantasy term, I HEART gar men all my life, & I am so glad that Kamina brings ppl back to admiring gar, HAHAHAHA!!

    I think I better stop here. If you want more, just tell me. ;P

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  9. Anime industry is a guy's thing? My sister likes mechs and some older shounen stuff, and she detests things that are usually oriented for girls.

    I've met a few girls who's into the things we like rather than the other side, but they don't spend as much money on merchandise that guys do I think.

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  10. I admit that I was never really into anime aimed at the female demographic. I grew up watching G Gundam, Yu Yu Hakusho, Rurouni Kenshin and Dragonball Z -- and never even heard of Sailor Moon until years later. Personally, I think most female-oriented anime is a bunch of recycled love triangles and relationships. See one and you've seen 'em all.

    As a "female otaku" I have to say that it makes it easier for me to get along with guys my age than with other girls. I can talk about how awesome it was when ___ got his arm ripped off in (insert series name here), but I can't even think of a single thing to say if the conversation is about makeup or something like that.

    For the most part, I don't care if the demographic isn't aimed at girls -- if it has awesome explosions, blood and at least a few character deaths, then I'm your girl. XD;;

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  11. Q's sister & Miken...YOU SHOULD BE MY NEW BEST FRIENDS, COME ON ;__;

    about the spending on merchandise part, it really depends on ppl XD I'm not the splurgy type cause I have other things to splurge on (actually I'm a saving money for rainy day type bastard), & boy do I know girls who can splurge on merchandise alone (envy), lol.

    Yeah, good to see other females who love shounen stuff too :) WE ROCK! >:P

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  12. A few yrs then I though the anime industry was gender balanced. Were Giant Robots for guys and random Magical girl series for the gals. Until the Sudden rise of Ecchi/Hentie.

    Ive befriended a few girls who doesnt have much care for the gender inequality of the anime industry. (Okay one of them supports the femminist group)

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  13. Osu! I got here through Kodomut's twitter. LOL XD I'm also a female otaku *nodnod*

    Technically, I have been an otaku since I was a kid... grew up to watching Sailormoon, Yu Yu Hakusho, Recca no Honou and other series that were dubbed in our local language before. I wasn't really picky with what series I watch as long as it was interesting. As I grew older, I learned about the internet and downloading fansubs and then I really got hooked. I love how Japan makes series out of random subjects -- like bread or basketball -- and still manage to make it funny or interesting. A lot of my recent favorites aren't really shoujo: Code Geass, Gurren Laggan, Needless and Canaan XD then there's Haruhi and Toradora, but then I think those series have a healthy following of both genders.

    As Blowfish has stated, general society doesn't approve much of girls having "childish" hobbies. I can attest to that fully since I have a much older brother who also likes anime (but not as much as I do) and yet only I am ragged on by my parents to stop watching anime because "It's for kids" Dx and somehow, being an otaku makes it a little bit tougher to bond with girls of my age -- because most are "Gossip Girl"-esque, for a lack of a better explanation. I am thankful though that I've gotten into cosplaying because I found fellow female otaku that way... although there's another thing there that I'd rather not explain since it's OT ^^;

    As for the recent series coming out, I can more or less tolerate most of the fanservice. I have read some ecchi/hentai doujins before, but they're not in my daily to-read/watch list. The only thing I dislike about it is when you feel that the animators are too desperate to give you fanservice that they literally throw it at you and you can feel it... example: Queen's Blade -- don't get me wrong though, I love the figures. LOL.

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  14. only a short one, have a lecture in 10 mins...
    i would have to agree with the fact that anime is male dominated but for me as a covert male otaku, i really dont give a shit about MASSIVE EXPLOSIONS!!! and blood gore etc... id much rather an anime that mixes relationships with action and has REAL female characters who arent just there for fanservice. some of the stuff that japan produces is rather wacked from a western (/australian) point of view like the rather blatant rape/domination/degridation bits that seem persistent but most of the stuff in the mainstream is more family friendly and gender equal atleast in terms of role definitions.

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  15. I agree with anonymous when she said "they (we) are better at keeping it secret when not with close friends."

    Anyway, my sister watches anime, and mostly shounen anime like Bleach, but she hates fanservice. I'm kind of the same way too, but not really. I watch pretty much anything.

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  16. Not a female of course, with no sister nor girlfriend ever, minimum contact with woman in general, the women I seen the most is my mother and grandmother. So I don't think I will be very constructive in this topic, but if blowfish said is true, that women are not allowed to have silly hobby? Women are suppose to grow up sooner and guys are spare from it? I don't think that's very fair. Then of course, I don't even have any female friends so I have no way to verify.

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  17. I'd say quite a few women/girls like anime, but most of the girls I know are Tomboyish (lol).

    It's not sexist in general, but it does seem that the male audience is the more targeted audience, and the one more attracted to this kind of thing.

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  18. ...or it may be easily summed up as guys are easier to "seduce" into buying anime related stuff compared to girls. And I'm a guy by the way.

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  19. As a female fan...I'm fine with big boobies up to a certain point, I hate the REALLY over emphasized ones that just look like eggs with a point at top. Wish I could draw a picture to give you a better idea.

    In my shoujo/josei series it seems 8/10 heroines have very small boobies and the big booby girls don't ever seem to get the man that a small boobed girl is going after. LOL it's kind of like as big as the shonen/seinen boobies get the shoujo/josei boobies get smaller and in shoujo small boobs win and in shonen big boobs win. Although that is obviously a generalization and there are exceptions.

    I don't know many people that like anime in real life so I don't get any special treatment as a girl. But I bet if I dressed up in an exposed cosplay outfit on my blog I could exploit the fact that I'm female for blog hits (not that I'd do that).

    You sir got me to talk more about boobies more then anyone else ever has :)

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  20. Wellll first it was the cuteness that attracted me. Tokyo Mew Mew is the main cause lol. After Pokemon/Cardcaptors etc lol.
    But my tastes have evolved, heck from early on, the manga that was available in the UK wasn't too girly, was I was reading Love Hina and Chobits out of a sort of desperation. Both classic series tho, that both genders shudda read/seen. I do like a wider selection of stuff tho, not all girly. That'd be boring. And I'm not big on yaoi... if I had to choose between yaoi and yuri, I'd take yuri, lesser of two evils lol.

    And as for being a female otaku. I like it cos its being like a rare breed lol. There are tons of female anime fans who fawn over Vampire Knight and Furuba, stuff like that(I love Furuba, dont love Vampire Knight). I put up with the fanservice from series like Strike Witches and Sky Girls, cos I like the cuteness, and with Sky Girls there was a good story, Strike Witches, not so much, but still cute. The figures, dakimakura, oppai mousepads, stuff like that, I do love it. I love the collecting thing as a whole lol. Need more dakimakura covers... lol.

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  21. I'm a female and I love the explosions and blood and guts featured in seinen series. I stay the hell away from shoujo because the plots suck and there's too much fluff. Not to mention the fights are really, really bland. I like a few shounen titles but I like the mental stimulation that comes with many seinen titles.

    When it comes to anime, I hate fanservice with a passion. I don't care if it's aimed at males or females, in my view in just makes the series childish. If I wanted to watch something childish I'd watch Looney Tunes, right? I'm tired of seeing all the moeblobs and their panties and all the girls with the big tits. I could NOT get through Popotan because of this.

    Don't even get me started on ecchi/hentai. Please don't. We'll be here for months.

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