Geek Feminism Wiki


Anime is narrowly construed to mean animated cartoon tv shows from Japan. However, Anime fandom is widely understood to include other aspects of Japanese culture, including manga (Japanese comic books), doujinshi (fan works), novels, and video games, and even aspects of Japanese culture such as food, kimono, martial arts, and history. There are four main genres of anime and manga geared toward women in Japan: shojo, josei, shounen-ai, and yaoi.

Female fans of Anime meet layered feminism problems due to this cultural transfer, because they are not only dealing with American conceptions of woman and female geek, but also Japanese cultural expectations of femininity and racist views of some American men concerning Japanese women (being clean, nice, polite, taking care of themselves, caring about how they present themselves and in general being likeable.)

Women in anime fandom

Issues facing women in anime fandom

Stereotypes are found in anime, like they are in most media. A major factor that makes a lot of anime distasteful to feminists is that it prominently fulfills the wishes of males. This causes many male anime characters to be portrayed as strong, powerful and ambitious (example: Kamina of Gurren Lagann) while female characters are portrayed as meek, passive and in need of aid.

This also has the effect of centering the lives of female characters around male characters. An example of this is so-called "harem anime". Harem anime predominantly depicts the lives of female characters; however, it depicts them as focusing their attentions around a single male protagonist. If one took these depictions as realistic, one would have to believe that the lives of women center solely around impressing and servicing men. Such depictions are especially problematic because, at first glance, they appear pro-woman. However there are shows that do focus on female characters in the opposite manner (commonly called reverse harems) and shows that portray women as both strong and feminine as opposed to the western dominated view that all strong female characters need to be exactly like men.

There is also the problem of many female characters being scantily clad, embarrassing easily, and generally playing into some pretty awful stereotypes. It is incredibly common to see very young female characters portrayed as sexual objects, and "fan service" (gratutiously sexualized images such as up-the-skirt-shots and bouncing breasts) can often seem pretty inescapable.


Depending on the character being role-played and intersectionality factors, a woman can be seen as sharing some or all of the personality traits or motives of the character, even if she is just online acting for fun. Certain archetypes may be risky for women of certain racial backgrounds.

Archetypes in question:

  • Dragon lady stereotype
  • Terrorist
  • Spy
  • Gang member
  • Mad scientist
  • Assassin

Famous incidents

Controversial Anime


Controversial for its portrayal of the main character as a sexualized robot created to look like a beautiful young girl[1], appearing perhaps 15 or 16 [2] [3], whose only purpose in life is to find a man to love her.

Revolutionary Girl Utena

Controversial for one of the main plots, in which a group of (mostly) young men fighting for possession of a woman. The anime centers around a girl, Utena, who decides she's not going to be just another princess and wants to be a prince and do the rescuing herself. In addition to the theme of challenging gender roles, there are also themes about sexual identity, incest, and sexual abuse. Arguably, one of the messages of the anime is that love between women can change the world, which can also be considered controversial.

Seraphim Call

This series of 12 visual short stories addresses a number of themes about women, including career choice, the construction of femininity, and sexuality. However, many of the stories contain problematic elements that aren't handled especially well, including traditional feminine roles, stalking, and sexualization of the female body.

Vision of Escaflowne

Known as a transitional anime--that is, transitional between the shojo (girl) and shonen (boy) genres--it is frequently compared to Neon Genesis Evangelion. The character development is typical of shojo anime, but the backdrop of war, battles, and giant mecha is clearly drawn from shonen anime. Escaflowne flouts tradition by having a central female character who is strong, outgoing, and full of agency. Unfortunately, the series ends with a plot twist that retroactively removes all agency from the main character, Hitomi, throughout the story and actually makes her use of agency the cause of much woe. This ending causes Escaflowne to become extremely problematic for the female viewer.

Positive Anime

Last Exile: Fam The Silver Wing

The second installment of Studio Gonzos Last Exile is featuring a woman in every prominent role (except for the series villain) and is written by a woman, Kiyoko Yoshimura (in the first series, the only strong woman was the villain and was written by a man).

The Twelve Kingdoms

Supposedly Fushigi Yûgi (teenage girl is the chosen one of a fantasy world) without the misogyny.

Paradise Kiss

Yukari Hayasaka is a high school student who has become tired of her life of constant schooling. She then comes across a group of student fashion designers in need of a model for their "Paradise Kiss" clothing label. Yukari knows nothing about the fashion world and is taken back by the group's eccentric ways, but she soon comes to admire their free thinking ways and ability to pursue their dreams with a one track mind.