Friday, May 4, 2007

The Final Post

Anime is highly based on the principle of completely escaping what is normal. Not only do people fly and robots roam the earth, but people act and behave quite abstractly. The writers of Anime try to create characters that are just as abstract as the world they have their characters living in. The result of this effort is a genre of entertainment with personalities that are exclusive to it alone. With this in mind, one would immediately assume that if there were ever to be a form of entertainment that best escaped falling into the trap of reinforcing norms, it would have to be Anime.

I began this study with that mentality. For the most part, I saw Anime as a fairly progressive form of entertainment. Many of its characters behave in ways that are far outside of what is considered normal, and in doing so tear down a lot of established ideas. The viewers of this media are then exposed to ways of thinking and living that are very different from their own, and are then more inclined to look more closely at their own lives. They will begin to consider a lot of the norms that they have been taught to accept as fact, and just in the revelation of more than one option, Anime has created huge change.

Unfortunately, as I did my study I discovered that Anime may not be the quintessence of progression that I originally thought it was. It is often very easy within Anime to see where gender norms are defied and new ways of thinking are explored, but just as some norms are torn down others are left untouched. This practice of selective rebellion can have just as many detrimental effects as it does positive. By ignoring some social norms while challenging others you are in effect saying that those norms you have not questioned are unquestionable.

Anime falls into this trap many times. It’s very difficult to catch; often I find myself so focused on the challenges and the ideas put forth that I forget to question all that was not suggested or put forth. For example, my post on Happy Lesson does a lot to champion anime in terms of progression. I explain that there is no definition of a good mother, and that certain qualities (even highly anti-social qualities) don’t necessarily make you incapable of taking care of a child. I went very wrong with this post when I failed to look at a much bigger picture. I said that society shouldn’t deem “bad mothers” as such because there is no definition for “good mother.” I wonder now why I didn’t address the fact that society shouldn’t really have the authority to judge who is bad and who is not. The factor that Happy Lesson and I failed to take note of is that we are essentially saying “there is a system in place that doesn’t work” rather then suggesting “there shouldn’t be a system at all.” By never making the bigger suggestion both I and the Anime have reaffirmed the belief that women should be gauged in some way on how well they raise their children; not a very progressive idea at all.

Anime in the end is not all that different from any other media form, it can be both highly progressive and not at all. The same can be said about a lot of American comic books and cartoons; some are more progressive than not, others reinforce norms more than they challenge them, but in the end they all do both. What truly separates Anime (and the media like it that strive for progression) from those that seem apathetic to change is the effort they put into trying to create change. Allan Johnson, in his piece Patriarchy: A System An It Not a Him They or Us, best explained why this is true in a quote at the end of his piece:

“We’re involved in patriarchy and its consequences because we occupy social positions in it, which is all it takes. Since gender oppression is, by definition, a system of inequality organized around gender categories, we can no more avoid being involved in it than we can avoid being female or male. All men and women are therefore involved in this oppressive system and none of us can control whether we participate, only how…”

Though Anime seeks to create worlds that greatly differ from our own, these worlds still mirror our own, if they did not it would be far too alienating and unappealing as a form of entertainment. Just as we as a society cannot escape the influence of patriarchy, neither can a form of media that even loosely mirrors it. Through this study I realized that Anime the fact that Anime has so many progressive ideas hardly makes it progressive since it has just as many reinforcements. What makes it progressive is that, more often than most entertainment, it tries to move us forward socially. Making an effort is in the end better than not, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that is a patriarchal participation we can all get behind.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Feedback from Blog Buddy Tara

Strong analytical work is shown throughout your blog. Two posts stand out the most; “Genesis and Gender” and “A Lesson from Happy Lesson.” In “Genesis and Gender,” you bring to the table a show that contradicts society’s norms about gender. You are very effective in conveying the ideas the show portrays. By pin-pointing the gender and corresponding personalities of two main characters, we are shown the counter-hegemony that exists. Furthermore, you present a key analysis of the “mistake” the show makes; people are either male or female. “A Lesson from Happy Lesson,” is a very interesting post about what seems to be a very interesting show. The unique family structure of the main character is a great source for analysis. By bringing to light society’s depiction of what a mother should be (calm, caring, nurturing, and problem-solving), as well as the media’s frequent attacks on “bad mothers,” your analysis of non-traditional mothering develops importance. The validity of the question you pose, “can someone be a good mother without fitting the mold,” is proven through the examination of the mothers in Happy Lesson. Also, you are very successful in analyzing the lesson the writers of the show subconsciously teach coupled with society’s take on non-traditional mothers.

Your strength in analytical writing will help you in many ways. Being able to successfully pull important ideas, themes, etc. out of a scholarly piece of work and use them to interpret and analyze gender in popular culture will certainly aid you in writing your final blog post. The facts that certain anime goes against societal norms in specific ways and that you have already effectively analyzed this fact, can be used to strengthen your final post. If this seems to be a dominant trend in anime, perhaps it could be used as a point of analysis.

You have created a distinctive blog which captures a unique area of popular culture, anime, and gender analysis all in one. The topic of anime is clearly evident throughout the entire blog, and you seem to be extremely knowledgeable, as well as interested, in your topic. Each post uses gender as a primary focus of analysis, had a clear point, and provided insight and evidence to the claim. It was; however, somewhat difficult to pair each post with its specific post instructions, making it difficult to tell if the analysis connects with the assignment; simply adding a label is an option. The sources used in your posts are relevant to their sites of analysis within the topic, and they help to prove your argument. However, it would be more effective to actually quote the author of the reading rather than just referring to it.

I thought it was great when you didn’t overlook the “mistake” that Neon Genesis Evangelion makes in their attempt to defy hegemonic norms. You write well, and you are successful in your analyses. I was; however, a bit confused by your response to Madeline Ashby’s post in that the stereotypes referred to are unclear. It would have been helpful to have more background information on anime in general for readers who are uncultured in the realm of anime. Incorporating actual quotes would help to further enforce your claims as well as provide a clearer understanding of the analysis as a whole. Also, it might be a good idea to proofread your posts again to eliminate certain grammatical mistakes. Overall, your blog is a fantastic examination of anime and race, class and gender. You are successful in your analyses and you exhibit your points clearly. I enjoyed reading and learning about anime in general, in addition to the actual analyses. I predict your final blog post will effectively wrap up the points you have made and the themes you have presented. Great job!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Blog Buddy work with Tara

1) Where has your Blog buddy shown strong analytical work (be specific—is it a particular post, a type of analysis, a site for analysis that seemed to click more so than others, etc)?

2) How could your Blog buddy use this strength for the final Blog post and presentation?

3) Think about the following statements in relation to your Blog buddy’s Blog and then provide feedback on each area (constructive praise/criticism):
The Blog is on a topic that has been clearly evident in the Blog posts throughout the semester

-The Blog is on a topic that seems to interest my Blog buddy

-My Blog buddy’s topic is one that has produced a good set of posts that were analytical used gender as a primary category of analysis

-The posts make analytical arguments.

-The posts are understandable and each post logically outlines and supports the argument presented.

-The posts were clear, provided insight, evidence, and analysis to connect the topic with the assignment for each of the posts

-The sources cited in each post are relevant to the topic and help to aid the understanding of the argument and/or assisted in proving the argument.

-The quotes used illustrate a broad range of course readings throughout the semester.

-The quotes were clear and succinct; additionally, the material was presented so that I could differentiate the Blog buddy’s ideas from that of the author cited.

4) Finally,

-I thought it was great when you...

-I found it confusing when you…

-You’re really great at…

-I wish you could focus (more) on/alter/edit/explain/expand on/etc these three things…

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Lesson from Happy Lesson

The role of mother, within many forms of media, often carries with it certain connotations. Mothers within the media are often portrayed as caring, nurturing, problem-solving, patient individuals. They are often the cool, calm, collected and understanding part of the parental dynamic. Many would say that the media holds mothers in high regard when one considers all of the qualities it associates with being a mother, but these unwritten definitions can have very negative and even damaging effects.

Obviously, there aren’t many people who would argue that being called caring, nurturing, and problem-solving is insulting. Many would say that this depiction of mothers is positive and complementary. The problem, however, with this seemingly positive depiction is that is says “this is a mother” rather than “a mother can be this.” Unfortunately, this seemingly positive depiction, results in the alienation of all women who have children and don’t fit this mold. The question that I propose is this, “Can someone be a good mother without fitting the mold?” There is no anime better than Happy Lesson to explore that question.

Happy Lesson is the story of a young boy named Chitose Hitotose that is orphaned in his early teens. After spending some time in an orphanage, he eventually moves back into the house his parents left him with five of his teachers who act as Chitose’s mothers. Each of the mothers contributes to Chitose’s guardianship in a different way because their personalities are all so different. Together they provide an environment in which Chitose can learn everything he needs to know about life, while also getting more than enough motherly love…whether he wants it or not. Though unusual and probably not likely to ever take place in reality, one would say that in the anime Chitose is very well taken care of by his mothers, however, none of them fits the definition of mother. For example, Chitose’s science teacher, Kisaragi Ninomai, is incredibly introverted, seemingly emotionless, and incredibly reckless with her scientific pursuits; hardly the nurturing problem-solver. Her influence on Chitose, however, is irreplaceable and essential to Chitose’s development. So while she is a problem-causing stoic, she is ever bit the mother of Chitose all of the others have become, even if she doesn’t seem to be as mothers have come to be defined. Yayoi Sanzenin, Chitose’s school nurse turned mother, both fits the mother mold and doesn’t. She is calm, collected, and protective of Chitose, but she also is often seen drawing the sword she keeps in her waist and putting it against Chitose’s throat when his actions disagree with her wishes. She’s eccentric and often destructive, but just like Ninomai, she is irreplaceable. [Of course the constant sword threat would in reality be taken more seriously than I have. In Anime it is understood as a sign of an over-aggressive nature rather than a propensity to actual violence.]

Happy Lesson is a perfect example of how a mother can be a great parental figure without following socially accepted associations with motherhood. Unfortunately, the lesson that Happy Lesson teaches is not so readily applied to the actions of the real world when they feel a woman is a poor parental figure. In the book, “Bad” Mothers: The Politics of Blame in 20th Century America, author Norma Coates discusses how Courtney Love is often considered a terrible mother by the media. From what most of have been shown, the assumption that she is not at all a calm, collected, nurturing, problem solver would be an understandable one. Without getting into whether or not that is actually the case and supposing she isn’t, does it even matter? Considering the argument that Happy Lesson puts forth, that a mother need not be a mother to be a mother, should we leap at the chance to attack Courtney Love (and countless others) because they don’t fit the mold?

Friday, March 30, 2007

These are just a few characters from various Anime that clearly illustrate how the idea of masculinity and femininity can change greatly between social group. In the previously mentioned piece Boyhood, Organized Sports, and the Construction of Masculinities, author Michael Messnar states that gender identity is “shaped and constructed through the interaction between the internal and social.” Following this logic we can see why these characters, all of whom are men except one, could perceive themselves as masculine even though some would not. According to Messnar, it is a reflection of the differences between internal and social interactions in different cultures and social groups. Though these men and other fictional characters like Superman and Batman all perceive themselves to be just as masculine as the other, we can see that the differences between what there respective societies have taught them to believe is a masculine appearance greatly differs.

Genesis and Gender

Anime is very interesting in terms of its characters. The characters of almost every show both follow and reject societal norms them in very interesting ways. For example, one of the most talked about and respected Anime series of all time, Neon Genesis Evangelion, if filled with characters that are both hegemonic and counter-hegemonic. The show's main character Shinji Ikari is often faced with conflicts dealing with his self-esteem, how he feels others perceive him, and being true to himself instead of following the orders of others. A supporting character Asuka Langley Soryu is often faced with conflicts dealing with being the strongest, being the best, and almost every endeavor turns into a competition.

Now most of us would assume by reading these descriptions that Shinji is a girl and Asuka is a boy but in reality the reverse is true. Men are often perceived as those with aggression and a competitive nature, as addressed in the piece by Boyhood, Organized Sports and the Construction of Masculinities by Messnar. We perceive this because men re often socialized to be both aggressive and competitive. Messnar explains that many men engage in sports and other forms of competition to prove there worth among others and live up to or surpass the men before and around them. In Neon Genesis Evangelion, we see all of these qualities embodied by a female character. Shinji embodies many of the conflicts typically associated with female characters. In the article No: It’s Power is Distinct and Uncompromising, author Kiini Ibura Salaam discusses how hard it was for her to say “no” growing up because of the fear of disappointing her peers (“maybe,” “I’ll try” or “will see” would take the place of an all too decisive and offensive “no”). Female characters often are an exaggerated version of this basic idea; they are usually plagued with problems dealing with peer perceptions. We’ve all seen episodes of many shows with the girl who cares about not having the latest clothes, best makeup, or thinnest body. Rarely do we see any programs dealing with men facing these or similar issues.

Neon Genesis Evangelion succeeds in creating characters that defy the basic template that most forms of entertainment follow. It takes into account that not only men can be competitive, and not only women care about what the world thinks of them. It also acknowledges the truth that no of the conflicts I have addressed face men or women exclusively. In many ways, Neon Genesis Evangelion is quite progressive, but it makes one key mistake. Essentially, all it has done is swapped male norms for female norms and vice versa. It’s great that we have these very interesting characters that defy most of the established character norms, but it also introduces the new idea: people are either one or the other. It doesn’t do much (at least not until the final episodes) to acknowledge the fact that these characters can be both aggressive and self conscious (characters are red or blue, not purple). In the end, the show doesn’t really say “men and women are equal and suffer from the same problems,” it says “Shinji is weak like a girl because he has girl issues, and Asuka is aggressive like a man because she wants to be the best.” Also, the fact that “becoming the best” is associated with attributes that are associated with males implies that males are the best and you have to be like them to be successful or better; not a very progressive message at all.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

This is an excerpt from a post by Madeline Ashby on the blog Fandrogyny that I found interesting:

Thank you, Maura Egan. What with the NY Times reportage (if it can be called that) regarding Heroes and its fandom, I worried that this article might rely on the same old stereotypes of fans -- stereotypes that, in their own way, hurt women by excluding them. Part of what "straights" find so easy to pick on about fandom is the old-fashioned, mistaken impression that it's a predominantly male space. (Many female fans would disagree, I'm sure.) This isn't to say that the dated stereotypes about fandom doesn't hurt men, either -- the "40-year-old male fan living in his mom's basement" stereotype doesn't do men any favours. In reality it's unfair to all genders: the "Android's Dungeon" archetype within pop culture suggests that fans can be only male, only white, and only heterosexual. And those whom it doesn't exclude, it insults: male fans are somehow lesser, characterised as childish, weak, or unable to carry on adult relationships.

To which I responded:

You make a very important point in your comments regarding the fans of comics, manga, etc. The members of these fans have changed and most of the stereotypes used to refer to these members are outdated and do very little in the way of describing them accurately. But I feel, and you might agree, that though this doesn’t do any one any favors, it’s hard not to expect it. After all, most of the same people using these false generalizations are the same people who don’t understand how much the world of comics, manga, etc has changed in the last few years. If they cannot understand or are unaware of the changes within this form of entertainment, then it’s expected that they also will have incorrect perceptions of those who are entertained by it.

I highly recommend reading the rest of the post, and other posts.

Monday, March 5, 2007

This entry is a response directed at the blog entry "Anime Philosophy" posted at:

You’ve made some strong opinions based on your observations, but I think your opinions reveal that you fail to realize that most of Anime is satirical. Most of the negatives you feel Anime embraces with open arms are put in not only for straight-forward humor, but also as a satire. For example, let’s say a man gets slapped about in an Anime for accidentally falling into a girls’ bath room. This is a satire of all those moments in reality when men have been referred to as perverts for situation that have been misunderstood. And the abuse could be seen as a satire of not only all the Anime before it that used similar situations but also cartoons like Charlie Brown in with Charlie was constantly harassed by Lucy in verbal and physical was for little or no reason. But the message the Anime is conveying is quite multi-layered. It could be as you said: “men are weak, power to the women.” Or it could be the complete opposite. We are empowering men by showing the viewer that he clearly did not deserve the beating he got, and making women into violent animals. The Anime could be saying “men are angels, and women have no control of their emotions.” In fact every possible explanation, including yours, makes a false or negative portrayal of someone. And that very truth is what reveals to use that it is a satire. If everyone can laugh at everyone involved, then it must be a joke (at least that’s the idea). The creators make Anime this way purposely so that it appeals to both males and females almost equally.

Most people miss the satirical component of the Anime structure, so I hesitate to judge you on that. But I must say I found your “decent strong female character” opinion quite interesting. Ghost in the Shell’s Motoko can hardly be seen as a “decent strong female character” because of the following:

A) She almost completely lacks emotion making her more robotic that human. This can be understood since she is after all half machine, but the lack of emotion hardly makes her a good example of a female character

B) The only points in the story line when her gender is brought back to our attention are when she takes her clothes off.

Though she does often show emotion, they are usually highly generic displays of curiosity or regret that do little to shed light on the soul of the character, and make her little more than “a cyborg with breasts;” hardly a fair representation of women. Noir suffers from the same exact problem. Even though the use of female characters was obviously a way to take a fresh spin on Action Anime and make the protagonists women (not a way to “bash” on men), they still have made the characters very void of emotion. In essence, the role of protagonist in both Noir and Ghost in the Shell could have been filled by a men or women. Faye Valentine is no better. Sure, she’s a great character from a great show, but she’s ditsy, brings trouble, irresponsible and often lacks foresight. She has a lot more emotion than the characters of the aforementioned Anime (is strong-willed, sometimes clever and speaks her mind; all great qualities), but she is often used in the Anime just for her physical attributes (notice how much time she spends on screen, and then compare it to the amount of relevant contributions she makes). None of these women fit the mold of a “decent strong female character.” They all say women are either close to lifeless shells or prone to stupidity, and are only good for their physical attributes; hardly an empowering statement.

I feel many of the opinions you’ve expressed (even those I have not begun to criticize), though supported with examples, suffer from the same problem. You have taken Anime at face value and refuse to look beneath and behind what it shown to find what is trying to be conveyed. Like its subject matter, Anime is often so much more deep than it appears, even when it doesn’t seem made to be. If you would only challenge yourself to understand why certain things are done in Anime as opposed to exploring other options, you would see that you have very little to complain about (since most of what you’re complaining about is actually just a joke). Many of the real problems exist in what seems “okay.” There is so much more that I have not yet begin to discuss, but they become quite obvious when you give Anime the consideration it requires and beckons for. You may still arrive at the same conclusions that you have now, and it not my intention to steer you away from them. It is just my belief that your argument would have more credibility and fortitude if you did not so obviously make yourself susceptible to the surface of something as multi-layered as Anime.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Wooldoor's Giggle-Wiggle Funny Tickle Non-Traditional Program Multicultural Round Table!

This is the Drawn Together episode.

1st Entry: Drawn Together

For those who still believe that cartoons are for children and Adults who still collect comic books, it is my sincere hope that over the course of this blog I will be able to change your perception of Animated Entertainment. Before Diving into the world of Japanese Animation, I would like to begin to illustrate how cartoons are not at all what they are generally perceived to be by exploring Comedy Central’s Drawn Together. I will admit, most of my knowledge lies within Japanese Animation so I thought it might prove to be a bit of an undertaking when I challenged myself to find a popular American animated program with questionable gender portrayals (please excuse my sarcasm, it is unprofessional of me). By chance, I happened to stumble upon what I believe to be the Holy Grail. The subversive ideas on masculinity and femininity conveyed through this one episode reveal a great deal about what our society views as acceptable and unacceptable when gender is regarded.

The show, Drawn Together, is a mock-reality show featuring typical cartoon characters such as the superhero and the princess. The show throws character from a variety of child-aimed animated genres into one house (very much like The Real World or Big Brother) and allows them to act without the normal censors of a child’s cartoon. The idea behind the show is to combine the generalizations of reality television with the fantastic qualities of animated characters. It is within these characters and their satire of reality television personalities that we begin to see very thought-provoking ideas about how we really view the people on these shows and what that says about how we view people in reality.

The episode I have chosen for analysis, “Wooldoor’s Giggle-Wiggle Funny Tickle Non-Traditional Program Multicultural Roundtable,” focuses on the character Wooldoor Sockbat who creates a television show for children that in the future turns everyone in the world into a homosexual. Sockbat is based on your average Looney Tunes cartoon character; he is colorful, seemingly elastic in motion and appearance, and can “poof” as he runs. His personality on the show matches his happy-go-lucky exterior quite closely (as did the show he produced within this episode). The show, one that taught tolerance and acceptance, was called by fellow character Princess Clara “a breeding ground for homosexuality” and the fight to save or destroy it began. Throughout the episode, Sockbat is protected by fellow character Xander P. Wifflebottom, who is often referred to as the token gay member of the household. Wifflebottom, who claims to have seen the future, warns Sockbat of an impending threat sent back in time by those who have resisted the global change to homosexuality and seek to kill him. The threat come in the form of a Terminator-type robot built by heterosexual rebels of the future to be the quintessential heterosexual male and to kill Sockbat in the past before the homosexual future can be realized. Though Wifflebottom acts as the primary protector in this episode, Captain Hero often lends assistance by inadvertently distracting the robot with manly heterosexual conversations about what they both like about “baginas.” The episode ends with Sockbat being saved by the love that blossomed between Captain Hero and the robot during their conversations about “baginas,” and Wifflebottom dies from a sprained ankle.

During the course of the episode, the male characters are either portrayed as either a hyperbolic stereotypes of homosexuality or masculinity. Wifflebottom is depicted as a physically weak man with many female characteristics. Sockbat is depicted as a clown with an excess of happiness which makes him susceptible to homosexuality. Captain Hero and the robot are the “real men” of the four. They talk to each other about “baginas,” makes jokes at the expense of women, and slap each other high fives. But of course, an excess of masculinity also makes you homosexual. First, starting with “what it is to be masculine,” talking about genitalia and slapping each other high fives are by no means the definitions of what it means to be a man. Second, homosexuals are not necessarily physically weak or effeminate. But of course, as Diane Raymond mentions in her essay “Popular Culture and Queer Representation,” homosexuals of any sex are rarely ever depicted as normal folks but instead always embody some type of stereotype associated with their sexuality. In addition, the association between female characteristics and being physically inept goes as far as saying that women possess these unwanted characteristics that make them inferior and by being homosexual you’re one step closer to becoming weaker like them. Third, homosexuality is not some ridiculous epidemic that is highly contagious and silly. Throughout the episode, the idea that one can become homosexual in response to even the smallest influences is conveyed; as is the idea that homosexuality is something for idiots. Homosexuality is the sexual preference of a group of people, not an unstoppable epidemic that must be stopped by censoring media, not acting too masculine, and not acting too feminine. Finally, since it is obviously impossible for men to have a close relationship without being homosexual, Captain Hero and the robot obviously must be.

The other half of this episode follows the female characters of the house Toot Braunstein and Foxxy Love (with the exception of her initial expression of disgust at the beginning of the episode, Princess Clara does not appear). Braunstein, a spoof of Betty Boop, is overweight, constantly depressed, irritable, and only made happy by the prospect of food in the near future (she is often seen as the “bitch” of the group). Love picks up all of the remaining female reality show stereotypes. She wears barely any clothing, is “a black woman with attitude,” incredibly thin, and unknowingly suggests that she has an eating disorder. In their storyline, Braunstein continuously goes on about a Weiner mobile that gives out free hot dogs to those it deems worthy. Love eventually gets so irritated by this that she locks Braunstein in a closet. It is eventually discovered that Braunstein was right about the Weiner mobile, but she is left in the closet while Love enjoys the free hot dogs. When Braunstein later becomes angry because of this, she is depicted as the one who needs to “chill out” and her angry is conveyed as almost completely unwarranted.

Although there are many things that one could take first notice to (and far more than anyone could ever list), I must say I was first drawn to the fact that the creators successfully included as many stereotypes as they did with only two characters as canvas (we want to make generalizations, but we still don’t want too many women in the show). The second factor that caught my attention would be that of Braunstein the Bitch versus Love the Attitude. It just seems all too convenient that the attractive and thin Love would be called sassy and funny while Braunstein who causes little to no trouble at all would be dubbed the bitch. But then, how could we justify making fun of her weight and her social problems if we did not first label her a Bitch? It makes you wonder, how does one gain the title Bitch after complaining about being locked in a closet by the Attitude?

The obvious argument to be made in defense of this show is that it is a satire. And I completely understand that, in fact, I enjoy it as much as any fan might. It does make fun of a lot of reality show norms that have become monotonous, predictable, and almost seemingly scripted. That being said, there is a still a very questionable factor that is present that most may not consider. A satire is used to exaggerate real-life realities in a fictional yet feasible and similar world. This show does that in many ways successfully. We can look at the Bitch versus the Attitude and say, “Yes, that does often happen in reality television and even reality. People do often choose to side with the more attractive one.” But are we then inclined to say, “Yes, gay men are like that…well not all gay men but most.” Is that a fair statement or a perpetuation of a stereotype? What about masculine men being the ones who talk only about genitalia and nothing else. Is that really how all men are? Is that even how most men are? You might say that these are also intended satirically; these are popular stereotypes that are being used ridiculously in order to make them seem as ridiculous as they are. But eventually it becomes very hard to say where the stereotype ends, and actually beliefs begin. And if this show is only a hyperbole of actual reality shows, what does that say about the people picked for those shows? Producers and those in charge of creating a reality show’s “cast of characters” pick characters that they know will appeal to large audiences (and ratings show that they’re right on the money most of the time). A network would never air a show such as Survivor or The Real World is they did not feel it was going to be appealing, or at the very least acceptable. So the question that Drawn Together puts forth is, “If this is so appalling, why does it appeal to us even when it’s not a joke at all?”

Monday, February 19, 2007

Related Sites

Hi, I'm Mr. Leo Mahaga.

Below are some websites that contain information that can be used to provide a good amount of background information on what I will start blogging about shortly.

"It's No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons"

This site gives a brief overview of how an artist can express themes through the way their art, the subject matter of the art, and so on. I will more than likely refer to all five of these main points throughout my study.

Anime/Manga Web Essay Archive

This database is amazing. It is filled with a near infinite amount of essays by a multitude of Anime/Manga scholars much like myself.

The Anime Cafe

This site has a lot of general information that one who is new to the world of Anime could definitely benefit from.

Reconciling Anime and Feminism

This site begins to tackle the topic I plan to explore. It tries to provide those outside of the Anime world with some explanation for the themes present that most may at first glance find offensive. It acts as a pretty acceptable introduction to this blog.

(I have also just recently joined a group on Yahoo! created for scholars like myself who study Anime. It promises large amounts of essays, studies, and opinions galore. Unfortunately I have to wait for approval. I will post the url once I've been inducted.)

Monday, February 5, 2007