Thursday, December 22, 2011

Interesting Food-for-Thought About the Female Interest Juxtaposition of Animé and Comic Book Culture

spiderman-marvelGuest post by Arienne Keith, a prolific Facebook auteur, metal smith, jewelry maker, and also a dyed-in-the-film animé fangirl. Here she responds to an article in Kotaku entitled “Nerds and Male Privilege.”

My comments on the thing: I think it leaves out the differences between different sects of geekdom. I think this article speaks to comic book geekdom and some to video game geekdom, but it ignores anime geekdom. Not quite sure how to say this, but... my thought is that the sexualization of certain characters both is and isn't a problem in attracting female fans. I didn't read all the comments below the article but I skimmed some, and one said that both the male and female characters are sexualized, pointing at Batman's abs as an example. I think that they're not sexualizing them the right way, and this is why comic-book fandom is male-dominated and anime fandom is female-dominated. Somehow, with all the otherworldly DDD-cups bouncing around in anime, anime draws a noticeably greater female audience than American comicbooks. Also, anime is produced by a country where the feminist revolution is much further behind, and one could argue that anime is more sexist than comic books -- yet it still draws the larger female audience. So, sexist elements and overly-sexualized female characters don't necessarily deter female fans. I posit that anime has hot guys, and comic books don't.

I think my point is best exemplified by this: in Google, type in "top ten hottest anime guys" and the first page will all be related results; they spill over past the next page and you don't see hot anime babes until page three of results. And there are videos and images galore. Now type in "top ten hottest superhero guys" and only the first two results are related. Result four already starts with hot superhero babes. And, personally, I agree with the Google results -- there aren't any Marvel/DC Comics characters I find attractive... except maybe Spiderman. Just a little bit. In fact, I find comic book girls to be more attractive than comic book guys, and that's a bad sign because I'm a heterosexual. ANIME guys, on the other hand -- well let's just say the 1GB of pictures on my computer is mostly anime guy screencaps and fanart.

However, I haven't been able to pinpoint what it is that makes anime guys hot and superheroes not. My husband suggests it's the story mechanics and such: as an example, Spiderman is a college student who gets stuck in awkward social situations with his best friend and the girl he's crushing on, much like in anime. And maybe that similarity to anime is why Spiderman is kinda attractive. He was ranked #1 on the only hot superheroes list in Google.

Thoughts? Why are anime guys so much hotter than superheroes? And can any of you think of other reasons why comicbook geekdom is male-dominated and anime geekdom is female-dominated? Please discuss.

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