Following on from the topic I was talking to my friends about today, anime does have a lot of sexual deviations. It has been said that the amount of sexual fetishist material is so high that Japanese men are now de-sensitised to them. Lolitas, cross-dressing, boobs, they have seen so much of them that they aren’t even affected anymore.
In every anime nowadays, it seems necessary to include fanservice segments, whether for male or female audiences (well, even in live action dramas the same principle applies, really). Many anime now have a perverted man (or sometimes many perverted men) who makes sexual innuendoes and is constantly trying to look up a girl’s skirt. Imoutocons, or “little sister complex”, where male leads fall in love with their sometimes not-blood-related younger sisters (increasingly this has reached a point where siblings are allowed to fall in love even if they’re blood related). Traps exist for the bisexual or sexually confused. And the amount of boy-love or girl-love connotations has reached an all-time high, especially with Free! and some more explicit modern yuri anime.
If there was ever a stark example of the collective representation of women in the media, the anime industry is one. I cannot wait to take the Media & Representation module and see what they have to say about anime, because I can assure you that girls who watch anime are being blatantly socialised into some demeaning roles.
First of all, there is always the traditional subservient girl model. Granted, there are a lot of anime that showcase girl power, but most of the “powerful” ladies aren’t the taken ones. Just looking at Mahouka Koukou no Rettosei is enough to convince me that the stereotype has far from abated. Look at Miyuki. She is gentle, quiet, shy, and extremely compliant to Tatsuya, and she doesn’t voice her opinions aloud. The typical ideal Japanese lady.
Secondly, there seem to be certain expectations anime women have to fulfil, one visible one is breast size. If you’re to be a woman to be respected, you must have a decent breast size. No proper anime female lead is ever flat-chested (even poor Mayuri has got to undergo some implants). If she is flat-chested, she is most likely to be prepubescent like Shana in Shakugan no Shana. If a girl is not prepubescent and is yet flat-chested, she is guaranteed not to have a boyfriend. Comedies would take delight in poking fun of this trait.
Thirdly, there is of course the obsession with cuteness. If you have seen ladies fascinated with Japanese culture, you will know what I mean. They wear coloured contact lenses, cut their hair into a doll fringe, wear pink Hello Kitty hairclips, a flowery dress and sometimes high socks. This is the epitome of an anime girl, in the flesh. What this also looks like is a girl who has strangely not grown up. And that is really the point. Anime girls have wide eyes, small noses and faces, and look pretty much like a little girl’s face with a hot body, not to mention a babyish high-pitched voice. They also dress in school uniform, not unlike the idealised costume I mentioned before. So basically what anime wants is for women to be forever young, even when they’re growing older. Think about it. Isn’t it just a tad creepy to expect a woman to dress, look and act like a kid, and then men get all turned on by these “moe” ways?
This, I think, is the most entrenched fetish of all, and the scary part is that it has become internalised in both its male and female audiences.