Author: Gabriel Persechino-Forest Published: June 16th, 2018
This is going to be a short one but I felt it needed to be addressed. Anime Feminist is running an article that attempts to make a gritty and politically relevant point on how female fashion is treated in most anime. However, the article is disingenuous and based on pseudo-facts and half-truths; and since it perfectly illustrates how most modern feminist criticism of art usually unfolds, I thought I’d go over it here.
It’s well known by now that modern feminism actually despises women and everything that is even remotely feminine. So here we have an article that proposes that it would be better if all women in anime wore pants. While there’s nothing wrong with a women wearing pants, there is something wrong with shaming female sexuality as well as shaming the unique styles and garments that have been traditionally women’s; it actually attacks women if you think about it and tries to take something away from them, that is, their fashion. In this regard there are plenty of anime series where girls do not wear “Traditionally” feminine clothes and for a myriad of reasons. And there is nothing wrong with that; women should have choices and their fashion possibilities should expand. My problem is with attempting to limit women’s choices and possibilities with some pseudo-argument on practicality that doesn’t hold water.
Image Source: Canaan anime series
Ideally, a woman switching to a more practical outfit that allows greater freedom of movement would just be normal, but it really is a rarity. I asked my Twitter followers to come up with female characters who wear pants…
So the article starts by attempting to pretend that women who wear something else than an impractical dress or skirt is rare, even though I can easily name about 12 right off the top of my head: Sakura Haruno (Naruto Shippuden), Hinata Hyuga (Naruto Shippuden), Yoruichi Shihoin (Bleach), Canaan (Canaan), Nadie (El Cazador de la Bruja), Kallen Kozuki (Code Geass), Cagalie Yula Atha (Gundam Seed), Balsa (Moribito), Juliet (Romeo x Juliet), Misty or May (Pokémon), Casca (Berserk), Kari (Digimon), anyone from Strike Witches…
Image Source: K-On! anime series
…most of the characters listed wore them as part of military uniforms, and characters who wore pants as casual everyday wear were quite rare. Those who did were usually masculine-coded, such as Sailor Moon’s Haruka.
But then again the author of the article is crafty as she specifically goes on to mention that she wants pants, not hot pants, not shorts, not tights, not anything but pants; significantly reducing the number of choices one has to help artificially make her point. This not only limits one’s choices but also carries the implication that she wants female characters who have outfits that are specifically not sexually enticing, not just practical outfits as originally stated. This plays into the modern feminist’s anti-sex agenda of course.
She later further refines this already warped request to mention that it must be everyday wear, not just “For combat”, whatever that means. Thus further restricting choices. If you consistently eliminate all options available, than anyone can make anything seem scarce.
Image Source: Ali Express
Even in action-driven series, most women keep to skirts.
Again, a disingenuous argument. First off, many men throughout history have worn what amounts to skirts in battle: Roman, Greek and Spartan soldiers for one, and there are many others. So the argument that it is somehow a “Female thing” is not accurate. The implication that skirts are not practical in battle is also disingenuous in the fact that: A: Men have worn battle garments that had skirts in everything but name in real life. B: Keeping in mind that battle garments must allow the most liberating outfit possible for practicality, I can’t think of anything more practical than a short, Japanese-style mini-skirt, which is highly unlikely to restrict movement or get in the way. This is the old “Marvel female characters don’t have their hair in a bun for battle” argument that completely ignored all the male characters with long hair in battle in the same franchise.
Image Source: Desktop Background
From Fate/stay night’s Saber in her combat ballgown to InuYasha’s Kagome fleeing demons in her school uniform’s miniskirt, pragmatism is rarely on character designers’ minds when they create their female characters.
Here they are making their point that many female battle garments are not practical and are trying to invoke femininity (Or gender role expectations if you prefer) as the culprit. There are many reasons creators make their character designs the way they do: From fashion, to sex appeal, to the dreaded “Femininity”, to practical reasons, to simply personal taste… But the same applies to men: In Bleach all Soul Reapers (Men and women) wear highly impractical kimono outfits, in Naruto the Akatsuki wears long robes that would certainly not be welcomed in a real battle situation, the outfits in Samurai 7 are more “Cool” than practical… And this also ignores history’s myriad of impractical outfits that have come to be worn by warriors. Not making battle garments practical is hardly a female-issue, even if the article tries to portray it as such. It should also come as no surprise that people prefer their fictional outfits for fictional characters fashionable and sexy rather than practical and boring.
Image Source: Wallpaper Memory
At best, skirts’ impracticalities end up getting treated as a non-issue (Kagome’s model sheet famously included a note to animators never to draw a pantyshot); at worst, they’re used as fodder for fan service and cheap jokes at the character’s expense.
And there we go, the real issue: Sex. Fourth Wave Feminists despise sex and they certainly despise women who have no problem showing their bodies. Therefore any garment that is not covering the full-body is treated as a problem and women who choose to dress as such are seen as problematic as well; being proud of your body is no longer allowed for women since that is now considered objectification. Strange given that when men are proud of their bodies it is considered “Manly” and “Awesome”.
Designing female characters who wear skirts even in such situations communicates, consciously or unconsciously, a subtle gender-normative statement about the kinds of clothes girls should wear.
And consistently shaming women into not being proud of their bodies while also advocating they limit their wardrobe to mere practicality also makes a statement all its own.
Source: Article Image: Wallpaper Cave