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Male and Female Sexuality Embodied in Anime and Manga


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skyesage



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 10:35 am Reply with quote
So, the old thread is years old and some troll decided to revive it (how did they find it anyways?) and so here we go, a new thread.

What are the facets of sexuality as depicted in anime and manga? I'm not so much talking about what was brought up at the beginning of that thread (which was fanservice), but how women are portrayed and men are portrayed in terms of the sexual.

Men
Bishonen Specifically--yaoi bishonen. These men are often divided into 'tops' and 'bottoms' with specific sets of traits. A rather narrow view of homosexuality, yes...? Also very much these are sex objects.

Nerds So like the main character in Love Hina and every harem in history...a male fantasy--but also extremely weak and vulnerable. What men feel like they are?

Manly Men Shonen heroes, especially. I'm not sure how sexual this is--but they are often overwhelming and attractive to women? At least they are percieved that way?

Women
Shojo heroines These girls are innocent and non-sexual, mostly...not always attractive to men, though sometimes its very much a part of...
Moe which is all about men wanting to protect young looking and vulnerable girls...they aren't so sexual.
Vixen The large and busty types who are so much who are valued by a lot of men...
Yuri Girls Something that both women and men seem to find attractive...?
Demonic Women From the Naked Spider Lady of Inu Yasha to the scary demons of Wicked City, overwhelming demonic women who are scarily sexual.

How do these reconcile with eachother? Are there other facets to this? There is already a fair amount of subtlety...so where does it become even more subtle?


Last edited by skyesage on Fri May 16, 2008 2:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ishmoo



Joined: 11 Nov 2006
Posts: 413
Location: Fredericksburg, VA

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 1:12 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Men
Bishonen Specifically--yaoi bishonen. These men are often divided into 'tops' and 'bottoms' with specific sets of traits. A rather narrow view of homosexuality, yes...? Also very much these are sex objects.


Bishonen are very common in regular anime as well as yaoi, though I have to say, I find the whole yaoi phenomenon terribly interesting as far as a social commentary on female sexuality in Japanese culture. These are almost exclusively written by women FOR women and have such a devoted fan base. It's curious to me that female mangaka tend to be more comfortable portraying highly sexualized characters as two males rather than male/female. I wonder if that has anything to do with a stigma still being attached to women being overtly sexual. With yaoi, one character often seems to be very submissive and is sometimes persued by the more dominant romantic lead, just as female characters are often portrayed in a standard anime romance. It's as if one of the leads is standing in for the "female" role. They are also written from a very female perspective, not really trying to accurately portray a real homosexual relationship at all. For me, if the story is good I don't really care which gender the characters are, but it does make me wonder why there aren't more erotic themed anime like Ai no Kusabe with male/female characters. Although I guess there are actually a lot of mangas out there that fit this discription so maybe it's just that there isn't enough demand for it being animated. Of course, there could be a totally different cultural reason for this that I'm just not getting. I'd be really curious to hear what other people think about it. I'm not being the least bit derogatory about yaoi. I've watched some and liked it. It's just that I've always been a bit baffled by it's origins.

Quote:
Nerds So like the main character in Love Hina and every harem in history...a male fantasy--but also extremely weak and vulnerable. What men feel like they are?


Whether or not this is an accurate portrayal of most guys watching anime, it seems clear that this kind of character is designed to be something a guy could relate to. American TV and commercials use the same trick. Here is an average Joe that somehow still manages to be surrounded by gorgeous women. Gee, this could be me! See most beer commercials and car ads.

Quote:
Manly Men Shonen heroes, especially. I'm not sure how sexual this is--but they are often overwhelming and attractive to women? At least they are percieved that way?

I think this is sort of the opposite of the "Harem Geek." This is the guy most men WISH they could be. I think they are aimed more at male wish fulfillment. I'm not sure these are intended to be that sexual for female viewers, though they certainly can be. I think a lot of women who watch anime tend to find the Bishonen types more attractive. There seem to be a lot more fan girl type sites for "bishies" anyway.

Quote:
Women
Shojo girls These girls are innocent and non-sexual, mostly...not always attractive to men, though sometimes its very much a part of...
Moe which is all about men wanting to protect young looking and vulnerable girls...they aren't so sexual.

Though I have to admit that I find it somewhat disturbing, I think these types are often VERY sexual for certain male viewers.
Quote:

Demonic Women From the Naked Spider Lady of Inu Yasha to the scary demons of Wicked City, overwhelming demonic women who are scarily sexual.


There are a LOT of guys out there that would value a little dominating. Besides that, there is a lot of sex appeal to a strong hot babe that isn't afraid to take what she wants, especially if what she wants is you!
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Kruszer
Enjoying the time of EVEEnjoying the time of EVE


Joined: 19 Nov 2004
Posts: 6880
Location: Minnesota, USA

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 1:30 pm Reply with quote
If you're talking stereotypes there's bunch more like:

Men:
The Punk/delinquent: The loud offen stupid character who likes to yell, disrespect authority, and fight.

The Genius: The prodigy character who's an intelligent thinker who excells at strategy and offen wins by brains instead of brawn.

Women:
The Tomboy: A woman that acts more like one of the male characters usually athletic and quick to anger and prone to physical violence.

The Homemaker: The cheerful and kind girl, offen not very smart or accident-prone, who likes cleaning and cooking for the main character and other such things.

There's more but I'll leave those to others
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PantsGoblin
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Joined: 27 Jun 2005
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Location: Agoura Hills, CA

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 1:38 pm Reply with quote
Oh God, a continuation of this thread? My views on lolicon have seemed to have changed a bit since then... I don't particularly care about lolicon and pedophile being grouped together now. It's done so much there's nothing I can do to stop it. Although I still prefer lolicon. Just the other day I heard the news refer to child predators as "pedophiles"...

Ishmoo wrote:

Quote:
Women
Shojo girls These girls are innocent and non-sexual, mostly...not always attractive to men, though sometimes its very much a part of...
Moe which is all about men wanting to protect young looking and vulnerable girls...they aren't so sexual.

Though I have to admit that I find it somewhat disturbing, I think these types are often VERY sexual for certain male viewers.


They seem to be sexualized more often than not. But moe is not innately sexual.

Also, you're missing a lot of stereotypes there, but I don't think that's the focus of you're thread (by the title), so I won't go into them.


Last edited by PantsGoblin on Fri May 16, 2008 1:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dormcat
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Joined: 08 Dec 2003
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Location: New Taipei City, Taiwan, ROC

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 1:43 pm Reply with quote
skyesage wrote:
Shojo girls

Did you just coin this term yourself or what?
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PantsGoblin
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Joined: 27 Jun 2005
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Location: Agoura Hills, CA

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 1:47 pm Reply with quote
dormcat wrote:
skyesage wrote:
Shojo girls

Did you just coin this term yourself or what?


I assume he/she meant main female characters of shoujo anime? Although, I don't see how that is connected to moe, since they're not really created for the purpose of being moe.
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skyesage



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 2:16 pm Reply with quote
I clarified the 'shojo girl' thing (that's repetitive Smile )

And also with The Demonic Woman, I was thinking more of the women in Wicked City--which isn't exactly something that I think men would want. Then again...that's a different point.

Let me quote from a decent review.

Stig Høgset wrote:
The aforementioned woman with "the full frontal vagina."

From the descriptions I've heard, it makes me glad I've only watched the edited version, because I found it disturbing enough to see the main character so hypnotically entranced with a woman who is feeling herself up like that. Having to see him ... er, quite literally "entering her" would probably not have been the most pleasant of sights. Anime hyper
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NocturnalUX



Joined: 10 Apr 2007
Posts: 448
Location: Portugal

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 7:18 pm Reply with quote
skyesage wrote:

Men
Bishonen Specifically--yaoi bishonen. These men are often divided into 'tops' and 'bottoms' with specific sets of traits. A rather narrow view of homosexuality, yes...? Also very much these are sex objects.


As it has already been mentioned, bishounen appear in many kinds of anime and not just yaoi. But regarding yaoi itself, there is something that very often is not taken into consideration. And that is the fact that most boys in yaoi are not gay per se. For example, in Gravitation, where the yaoi is canonical, we have Shuichi (the main "uke" or "bottom") stating right at the beginning that he would like to have a girlfriend. Through most of the series he has serious issues regarding gender and shows a lot of insecurity, being extremely afraid of rejection on the grounds of his being male. Conversaly, Yuki (the main "seme" or "top") has had a lot of female lovers up to meeting Shuichi. And Gravitation is not the only example, this kind of attitude seems to be present in smut for the sake of it (Okane ga Nai, a series that plays every single yaoi convention for all it's worth, has the seme overtly say that he is not gay and the uke, for all his girlishness, states that he is a boy and not into homosexual activities; Level C that is in a nutshell a plot-less escuse for a sex romp has a seme who has been kicked out of his female lover's house, something that apparently happens to him a lot, and the uke starts by saying that sex between two men is "dirty) as in more fluff orientated productions (Lesson XX is mostly cute and keeps a sexual element toned down, in it the two mains show quite a lot of hesitation in pursuing a relationship because they are both boys). While it could argued that it is a massive case of denial, to me it seems that instead of being homosexual the boys in yaoi lean more toward bisexuality. Either way, it is rare to find a yaoi couple in which both parties start out as comfortable in their sexual orientation which causes a lot of angst and drama. Also, being highly idealized, yaoi tends to adopt a romantic ideal in which love is so strong that it overcomes sexual orientation. In other words, it does not even matter if you start out as straight, if you fall in love with someone of the same gender then you cannot help it. Of course, it is not exactly realistic but the idea is that love is so overwhelming an emotion that not even gender can stand on its way.

Also, regarding the whole "seme" and "uke" dychotomy. While I admit that the great majority of yaoi adheres to it in a more or less formulaic way (hence the famous "rule of height". In case of doubt, you can almost always tell who is seme by seeing who is taller. This is often parodied within the genre itself, yaoi is very self conscious and knows how to mock its own conventions), more recent efforts have been curtailing this clear cut division. For example, in the manga The Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy, the older, more experienced and manipulative man is the uke, while it is the younger and much more naïve man who takes on the seme role. As far as I see it, the "seme/uke" distinction (the terms, interestingly enough, seem to stem from martial arts. I am not at all familiar wirh Japanese but from I have read, "seme" stems from the verb "to attack" while "uke" has its root in the expression "to receive") try to reproduce a "normal" relationship as it appears in manga/anime.
By having a more girlish boy and a more manly one, yaoi seems to be imitating the dynamics of a straight couple.
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JesuOtaku
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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 10:25 pm Reply with quote
I find it interesting that NO ONE has mentioned the straight bishounen and the extreme draw for girls that stereotype possesses. While I can't say that it's more prevalent than the gay variety, it's admired for different reasons.

Girls find the gay bishi attractive for the fascination factor of a sensitive, brave guy who, as Nocturnal UX very accurately put it, follows his feelings and simply can't help that he's fallen in love with a guy. Definitely elicits the "squee" reaction in girls. (I don't find yaoi very believable in most cases, either, still haven't seen a good one, but I haven't been around the block much in that department because I don't like sex-based romances.)

But characters like the swoon-worthy male leads in Fruits Basket have a different kind of wispy, attractive quality. They have all the sensitivity and exotic beauty associated with the yaoi, but are straight and are therefore, ideals for tender girls not attracted to the "Shonen lead" like Fullmetal's Edward Elric and Bleach's Ichigo Kurosaki and the like. Everyone likes the macho man, but I think all girls, hungering close friendships with other girls and sometimes considering themselves bisexual or homosexual at some point in their lives or permanently, feels a draw to that perfect beauty and female gentleness on a male form. So, you see a LOT of straight bishis, close to as many as the yaoi ones. I'll have to admit that while I'm attracted to slightly more manly men in real life. (Not butch blockheads or rednecks, but I like me some muscle,) in anime I absolutely gawk over pretty men, because, let's face it, ladies, they don't really look like that in real life. Sigh.
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Mad_Scientist



Joined: 08 Apr 2008
Posts: 2335

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 11:35 pm Reply with quote
NocturnalUX wrote:
Too much stuff to quote without making a cumbersome post.


Wow. I have zero interest in Yaoi but I have to admit I found that post rather interesting, if for no other reason than the fact that it was quite informative and strangely fascinating at the same time.
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Ishmoo



Joined: 11 Nov 2006
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Location: Fredericksburg, VA

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 4:53 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
While it could argued that it is a massive case of denial, to me it seems that instead of being homosexual the boys in yaoi lean more toward bisexuality. Either way, it is rare to find a yaoi couple in which both parties start out as comfortable in their sexual orientation which causes a lot of angst and drama. Also, being highly idealized, yaoi tends to adopt a romantic ideal in which love is so strong that it overcomes sexual orientation. In other words, it does not even matter if you start out as straight, if you fall in love with someone of the same gender then you cannot help it. Of course, it is not exactly realistic but the idea is that love is so overwhelming an emotion that not even gender can stand on its way.


That is an excellent point. I have noticed that tendency but I didn't follow it to the same conclusion as you did. I think you're on to something for sure.
Quote:

I find it interesting that NO ONE has mentioned the straight bishounen and the extreme draw for girls that stereotype possesses. While I can't say that it's more prevalent than the gay variety, it's admired for different reasons.


This actually has been briefly mentioned, but not really elaborated on. I read an article a LONG time ago in psych class that said young girls are often attracted to boys who look more feminine because they are less sexually threatening. The idea is that, when a girl's sexuality is first emerging, a very robust man can be intimidating. I don't think it's really that easily defined though. Men like pretty women and women like pretty men. Everyone has their own preferences. I like them all personally. Pretty boys of every variety are welcomed!
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NocturnalUX



Joined: 10 Apr 2007
Posts: 448
Location: Portugal

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 5:49 pm Reply with quote
Aw, I'm surprised that I managed to contribute with something worth reading, heh. I am actually working on an essay on yaoi, it still needs a lot of research though.
I have an idea that Ishmoo might be right regarding young girls being attracted to more feminine boys, even if there are obviously many exceptions as this is something in which there is no such thing as an universal rule. But I remember that when I was twelve and had my hair cropped really short to the point that everyone mistook me for a boy (I gave up telling people that I was indeed a girl after a while) I had a rather large following of girls who formed a fanclub of sorts. A few of them actually approached me and I was too clueless to realize that a)they thought I was a very pretty boy and b)they were in love with me (as much as kids can be, any way). A rare real life example of gender confusion as is often seen in manga. Razz

*Back on topic* One thing that seems more prevalent in yaoi than in "normal" romance is how borderline consensual a lot of the sex seems to be. Semi rape is more or less frequent in yaoi. Apart from "real" and truly scarring rape (that often justifies one of the part's emotional damage and usually happened in a moment prior to the narrative proper and hardly ever includes the main pairing) what seems to dominate are situations in which the uke is more or less forced to enjoy whatever the seme decides to do. Since it is fiction and fantasy projection plays a great part in what takes place, it might not be surprising that these "consensual rape" cases end up being as pleasurable to the raped party as to the rapist. Almost always the uke will admit that he did enjoy it even if it may take some persuation.
I could be wrong but I suspect this is yet another consequence of the fact that yaoi enjoys a certain fatalism. Just like the boys in question just cannot help being in love regardless of what their primary sexual orientation might be, the uke is just as helpless when it comes to enjoying sex, the idea being that it is simply too good for him to make any real resistence. Which is not to say that this happens in all yaoi but many a time rape is turned into "semi rape" due to the fact that the uke's resistence is subdued and hardly convincing.
Which brings me to another point, the fact that yaoi is more likely to hint or even make it very clear that the protagonists have a sexual involvement even when the show has no sex scenes. Gravitation is a clear example of this (I am discounting the remix series that are canon, in a way, and extremely graphic for from I have heard), the anime does not go any further than a few kissing scenes but the viewer is told that there was sex involved. This is something that "normal" romance anime tends to avoid, the majority of heterosexual cases avoid situations in which the characters actually have sex.
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Chaos42



Joined: 04 May 2008
Posts: 153

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 3:12 am Reply with quote
Sex, Sex, Sex is that all any of you think about. Not that i have anything against sexuality or its apearence in anime but realy is that all people think about. Me I like the eye candy but im not watching or reading Anime and manga for that i mainly read it for the stories because they are a different than what USA's culture produces.

Can we realy just can the sex obsesion and just enjoy the story.
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abunai
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 4:38 am Reply with quote
Actually, I find myself rather in agreement with Chaos42 here. It seems to me that, lately, a great deal of the discussion in these forums deals with the subject of sex in anime, in one way or another, or in ways related to anime.

We're talking about lolicon, about whether moe is or is not sexual, about fanservice, about boob size.... there's even someone posting questions about hentai anime in the Identify-the-anime thread.

I have to say, this is getting out of hand.

I'm a Dane, and left-leaning and liberal-minded even by Danish standards (which, to Americans, makes me a raving madman bent on tearing down civilized society and replacing it with a socialist dystopia with no public morals and massive taxation... I imagine), but even for me, this is getting to be annoying.

A lot of us complain that people -- you know, "normal" people, the 逸般人 (ippanjin) who don't watch anime -- see anime (when it isn't kid stuff like PokeMon or Yu-Gi-Oh) as basically being all tentacle rape and schoolgirl sex. It's a stereotype, but it happens to be what most people think of anime.

Who is to blame for this stereotype, if not we ourselves?

- abunai
I watch anime for the story -- for instance, I watched Koi Kaze for the brilliantly-written romance, and the only reason I didn't watch more than a few episodes of Kodomo no Jikan is that I really didn't find it all that funny, and had better things to do with my time.
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Gingy



Joined: 14 May 2008
Posts: 57

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 4:47 am Reply with quote
Techinically speaking....sex IS the primary purpose of life for most organisms alive...well reproduction is anyways. but since most vertebrates and a lot of invertebrates reproduce via sex...we as living organisms evolved to THINK about sex as often as possible, this way a species would produce as many offspring as possible to pass on the gene for the survival of species...of course being humans, many of us live in denial of this fact...and choose to not believe in this...or to pretend they don't know it.
So according to that rule...is it not surprising that a lot of sexuality is being featured in anime...and that we as human beings who are meant to think of sex as often as possible(when not in danger) be discussing about sexuality in anime in a forum about anime...?
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