Monday, November 5, 2012

Ah, fuck anime

I can take a lot of stuff that I don't necessarily find good in terms of gender politics, I've watched series with plenty of eye candy and varying degrees of fanservice whether in terms of visual style or character quirks. Stuff like Ikki Tousen, Re:Cutie Honey, K-On!, or a certain series that will not be named. After a while, that kind of thing just rolls off me if there are other qualities of the show that I like enough to keep watching, and to the extent that the existence of said gender politics, I can ignore and criticize it as I see fit.
So maybe it's weird for me to want to flip a damn table when I see a female character unquestioningly go stand at the stove and cook food for the male characters who lounge around a table waiting for her to finish. It might just be because it's reflects the fact that domestic work is something that overwhelmingly falls on women in pretty much every country, while the existence of super-powerful people who punch each others' clothes of is more restricted to excessively silly action shows, grounded in male gaze and viewer-attracting calculation though it may be. It might also be that I'm feeling extra sensitive about the topic in a Japanese context at the moment after reading Susan D. Holloway's Women and Family in Contemporary Japan, where the situation for some mothers in Japan is analysed based on a set of extensive interviews with mothers in Osaka. It also provided a historical background and left me fuming at the conscious policy to restrict women to domestic and part-time work, unquestioning assumptions about gender roles, and the smothering of the ambitions of young women on the altar of said gender roles, and to see part of that play out in a series I'm watching pushes my buttons a bit extra right now.
I should probably be clear in that there weren't that much in Holloway's book that was new to me, but having it all laid out at once does give it an added weight.

No comments: