Sexism in NGE?

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:17 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:as far as I can tell he never called O-chan "dumb whore"
What he said was "If advancing means being a dumb whore and exalting as a virtue, I'm more than happy to stay in the Balkans" in response to Miss O saying "Most of the people here are from the Western world, where "standards of common decency" have advanced from whatever is practiced in the Balkans". I can see how some might construe that as him calling Miss. O a "dumb whore", but I think, as I said in my response, I think he was just talking about sluts in the abstract.
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Postby Allemann » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:35 pm

View Original PostEva Yojimbo wrote:I can see how some might construe that as him calling Miss. O a "dumb whore", but I think, as I said in my response, I think he was just talking about sluts in the abstract.


Neither. I talked about these "advanced" values in First World countries. I have no interest in insulting anyone on a private level, nor do I know anything sufficiently enough about Ophelia's private life to offend her anyway.

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:16 pm

View Original PostAllemann wrote:Neither. I talked about these "advanced" values in First World countries.
You can't call "advanced values" "dumb whores". What you were implicitly referring to were the women who live under such "advanced values", perhaps including Miss O. Again, as Miss O said, own up to the connotations behind your words, man.
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Postby Legendary » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:24 pm

This thread is hilariously awesome, but completely unrelated to Evangelion in any way.

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Postby Allemann » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:37 pm

View Original PostEva Yojimbo wrote:You can't call "advanced values" "dumb whores". What you were implicitly referring to were the women who live under such "advanced values".


What I've meant is that if some values enable a hypothetical female person to have sex with someone who is not her partner A.K.A. "being a dumb whore", and such attitude is considered advanced in countries (Ophelia probably alluded to Western countries), I don't want to have anything with those "values", and I'll stick to the ones from the "Balkans". Let this through your head and leave me be before I start having the impression that you're telling me what I've actually meant with my own words.

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:01 pm

View Original PostAllemann wrote:What I've meant is that if some values enable a hypothetical female person to have sex with someone who is not her partner A.K.A. "being a dumb whore", and such attitude is considered advanced in countries
And do you think that Miss O wasn't including herself in one of those "Advanced Western Countries" and did you not think that calling such women who live certain ways under such values "dumb whores" couldn't be construed as referring to her?

View Original PostAllemann wrote: Let this through your head and leave me be before I start having the impression that you're telling me what I've actually meant with my own words.
Dude, I was the one DEFENDING what you meant. What I'm telling you now is how what you said could've been construed by others. Get THAT through your head.
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Postby Legendary » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:09 pm

*munches on popcorn, wonders which one of you two will realize you're still hilariously off-topic and that it isn't worth it getting in a fight about this bullshit*

Also: Eva is totally not sexist. Would anyone like to argue with me on my previous sentence?

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Postby NemZ » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:35 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:If somebody was being incredibly silly it was NemZ who by his own admission doesn't believe in ethics


Sure I do, I just don't believe in objective moral truths. Even 'universal' human conceptions of moral behavior are just byproducts of living in social groups and having to have some compromises to avoid killing everyone all the time which had to be ironed out long before the diaspora. It all boils down to evolutionary group fitness vs. individual fitness conflicts. Ethics are a meme, evolving alongside everything else in culture.
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Postby oOoOoOo » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:49 pm

The topic changed to "sexist fan interpretations of Evangelion" a few pages back. I'll explain further.

Some time ago I believe this thread reached a consensus that Evangelion had no sexist message, and I agree. I even called this thread "shitty". The thread died in August 2010 and then supershinjiasukashipper revived it a few days ago. Sachi posted but didn't lock it. Then I posted this:

View Original PostoOoOoOo wrote:If we're talking about sexist interpretations then we should consider how often Misato and Asuka are described as "sluts" compared to Kaji and Gendo.

Feeling the thread had otherwise run its course I decided we could talk about sexism (with flavours ranging from mild to spicy) within fandom, specifically these forums. Perhaps my Google skills are lacking, but if you go and search "slut site:forum.evageeks.org" it seems there are pages of results with references to the ladies, especially Misato, but few for Kaji. Chiefly, I wanted to delve into this topic to see if I was wrong, and the ladies weren't being unfairly targeted.

About twenty minutes after my post, Allemann posted, repeating the concensus that the show wasn't sexist:

View Original PostAllemann wrote:Evangelion is a show where both sexes and genders are treated equally.


I found it strange that he didn't acknowledge my post on the "slut" question, due to his posts in previous threads. Misato's love life has been discussed all over the place, but this is the thread that came to mind: "Misato the slut?" In this thread, Allemann argued she was indeed a slut. Obviously Allemann isn't the only one, but here are some of his blunter posts:

View Original PostAllemann wrote:She's a slut.
View Original PostAllemann wrote:Well, we are talking about a slut...


I thought it strange he didn't recall this. So I asked him about it:

View Original PostoOoOoOo wrote:Allemann, I don't think many of us feel the show itself is sexist, but what of fan interpretation? You called Misato a "slut" a bunch of times in this thread. Does Kaji or Gendo qualify as a "slut"?


At this point we got into a discussion about what "slut" actually meant and why it could, in his view, only be applied to women. Gendo and Kaji were also discussed, but apparently not worthy of derogatory language regardless of their behaviour. Only the women get hit with the mean words. That brings us to where we are now. But it was hardly "off topic", considering the topic had become about fan interpretation. Clearly I was grinding an axe. I apologize for being overly fighty, I was trying to hold back. I think I've been pretty calm compared to some of my previous crusades. ^^;

But my point is this: slut is a derogatory term with power and history behind it. Without diving into a full course on feminism, "slut-shaming" is about demeaning women for daring to be sexual beings. Read more about slut-shaming here.

Now, I don't think it is a great mystery to most people that I've got a history as a rather sexual creature. My old "House of a Thousand Hearts" love advice thread sort of spells that out. Let me illustrate why I'm taking it personally. It isn't even the "dumb whore" thing.

View Original PostoOoOoOo wrote:In other words, a woman who seeks casual sex for the purpose of pleasure. :p And this behaviour is worthy of derogatory language?
View Original PostAllemann wrote:By standards of common decency, yes.

And then...

View Original PostoOoOoOo wrote:You are using derogatory language to describe people (real and imaginary) who have done nothing to you. ... But I cringe when I hear "slut" the same as when I hear "dyke" or "fag". It calls to mind occasions of harassment.
View Original PostAllemann wrote:Even junkies don't want to be called junkies by others. To be reminded what one is is always painful.


From here we know that Allemann is calling any woman who enjoys casual sex for pleasure a "slut" who is "worthy of derogatory language". When I tell him that it is a word that calls to mind "occasions of harassment" he tells me that's too bad, because that's what I am. (Or others like me, y'know.) He's telling me when I was harassed that time the harassers were definitely using the proper nomenclature. Oh good! Or maybe he didn't specifically mean me, but that shouldn't matter. Women, transpeople, intersex, and yes even men... plenty of people could be bothered. (Eva involves a lot of trauma and mental illness and stuff, so it is so outlandish to want a bit of empathy in an Eva forum of all places?) I will sell shares in my outrage factory.

Whether this language is being directed at Misato or Asuka or an actual living human being, it's all the same shit. It's like "fag" or "nigger", a word with a lot of history behind it. It pops up a lot in these forums often in subtle ways, usually in a jokey manner but it is exhausting. There was another thread about Misato's educational background where people joked about how she really graduated and got into Nerv. Allemann obviously was in on that too.

I feel like if I rant too much about this people will tell me I'm seeking attention or just trying to stir up drama because it excites me or something. But is it so horrible to address this topic? Back when I was ranting about queer issues there were forum members who privately contacted me to thank me, saying they'd been uncomfortable about discussing this stuff in public. Is it the same for the "slut" thing as well? Maybe I'm alone on this one, I don't know. But this is something that's been bothering me for a while, so this is where I'm coming from.

In terms of fandom, Evageeks is pretty damn awesome. I only go on and on about this because I like this place. I'm not gonna throw on a mask and start a revolution. :p
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:00 pm

View Original PostLegendary wrote:Also: Eva is totally not sexist.

Oh, that's what we're talking about.

I agree. Evangelion isn't sexist. It just shows some of the differences between women and men and how they approach certain situations. But it doesn't paint them into gender-specific roles.

Example: I can't see Misato being a stay-at-home, in-the-kitchen, "Leave It To Beaver" kind of mom while Kaji sits at the table with a newspaper and asks the kids what kind of friends they've made at their "nifty new school". That's just not happening. In fact, we kind of saw that with Gendo, Yui, and Shinji in episode 26's alternate universe scene, and it just kinda looked out of place within the context of the rest of the show. Which was exactly what that scene was supposed to communicate. And, just as I can't see the characters in a candy-apple form of sexism, I can't see them portrayed in a compromising form of sexism. I can't see Misato crying in the corner as Kaji beats her with chairs and threatens the kids not to call the police. (Typical violent men.)

But I do see how Misato was expressing her feelings in the same way a woman typically would. And I can see Kaji expressing himself in a way a man typically would. Heck, the two characters even had personality traits that separated them from the other characters within their gender groups. That's not sexism, that's just honesty in writing.

No, I see no sexism in NGE.

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:52 pm

View Original PostoOoOoOo wrote:I feel like if I rant too much about this people will tell me I'm seeking attention or just trying to stir up drama because it excites me or something. But is it so horrible to address this topic? Back when I was ranting about queer issues there were forum members who privately contacted me to thank me, saying they'd been uncomfortable about discussing this stuff in public. Is it the same for the "slut" thing as well? Maybe I'm alone on this one, I don't know. But this is something that's been bothering me for a while, so this is where I'm coming from.
Miss O, I, for one, always love reading your posts and I've gotten a lot out of them considering that you offer perspectives on subjects that I rarely broach except in casual conversation. I've almost never had any objection to any thing you've said and have been on your side with the positions you take during your "rants", which feel more like outcries from someone who's dealt with a lot of this kind of discrimination first hand. Being a middle-class white male I can't identify with that kind of discrimination, but it makes my skin crawl every time I hear people in my very-southern/Christian family talk about the immorality of homosexuality, so I appreciate it when people like you have the guts to stand up to these social injustices.

Framing your post like you did, I'm less inclined to believe that Allemann wasn't aware of the implications behind his words. JFaulkner always used this tactic where he'd talk about groups of people in general while implicitly including whomever he was talking to in the group without REALLY including them. Allemann hasn't really shown a penchant for doing that to the extent of JF, so I was more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. I don't know how much he knows of your history around here in terms of how open you've been about your sexuality; only he knows if he was thinking of you when he was writing about such people being sluts.

Anyway, I just wanted to say "keep on keeping on". I think the majority of this forum highly appreciates what you bring to it. We all deserve to get on our soap boxes on occasion, and when we do it's nice to have posters as eloquent, lucid, intelligent, and charming as you. So: :revelry:

On topic, I pretty much agree with you on the idea that even on a forum as liberal as EGF certain forms of sexism rears its ugly head when criticizing NGE. But this is an extraordinarily common phenomenon, even in criticism. In Desiring Donne, Ben Saunders offered a Donne poem called Constancy whose meaning was radically different if the reader was a male or female, if they knew it was written by a male or female, and if they assumed it was written from a male or female perspective. If it was known it was written by a male from a male perspective, then it was a poem full of misogyny, but if it was thought of as being written from a female perspective then it was about equality and liberation. What's the truth? We really can't know given Donne's propensity for taking both sides on these subjects.

I thought that was an amazing example that shows just how deeply embedded such biases are that we just naturally respond a certain way even to art without ever consciously thinking of these sexual and gender-based biases that drive how we interpret something. But it's a wonderful thing for people like you who question their validity; we need more people point out where we go wrong in interpretation or, at least, how our natural biases are obscuring how we see the work.
Last edited by Eva Yojimbo on Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby child of Lilith » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:37 pm

Great post, Jimbo. I second everything you said.
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Postby oOoOoOo » Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:22 am

Thanks for posting, Yojimbo-kun~ I appreciate your thoughts on the subject. I especially appreciate your thoughts on the artistic/interpretive aspects! (I'll also thank everyone else who has engaged, whether on the Misato question or the larger topic. Yay!)

But I'd suspect that Allemann is clever enough, considering how often I get fighty with him, to figure me out. I hardly hide my true form. ^^; But the personal side of things is only part of my GRRRR!!! reaction. I'd get fighty over slurs that didn't apply to me personally. If there were no ____ in the room would it still be cool to call them _____? Nope~

But I've picked on him too much (and it is appreciated that he did participate, regardless of the rage-inducing content). I'll admit some annoyance at what seems to be FreakyFilmFan4ever and Legendary failing to witness the topic. It didn't help when Tines-san vaguely asked people to stay on topic, while also asking us not to talk too much about the topic. Maybe we need a whole new thread about how to have a conversation. Is it so incomprehensible that a thread on sexism in Evangelion could morph into a thread on sexist interpretations of Evangelion? Of course, the first post is about critiquing Evangelion... fan... interpretations... From this perspective, it seems to me that lots of people are trying to actively derail for purposes I can only guess at. Either way, it is impossible to cultivate the community atmosphere that Evageeks enjoys and then ask people not to actually talk with each other. Of course, Tines-san was just putting out the fires, which is appreciated, but the others seemed to be going out of their way to fan them. "Oh? Sluts? Who cares about this shit?"

All I can really hope for is some level of engagement. After all, the whole time I was basically coming to the defense of Misato, who is a character in the franchise that this forum is dedicated to. Duh. It is difficult to discuss why Misato should not be called a slut without discussing what a slut is, or discussing feminism, or women, or sex, or moral viewpoints.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:15 am

View Original PostoOoOoOo wrote:I'd get fighty over slurs that didn't apply to me personally. If there were no ____ in the room would it still be cool to call them _____? Nope~
Yeah, I feel the same way. I've always been very sensitive to this kind of discrimination, even when I was younger, and that's not very easy growing up in communities where it's quite commonplace. It's much easier to discuss it online where you don't have as much of a fear of being an outcast (isn't everyone here "outcasts" in one form or another anyway?).

View Original PostoOoOoOo wrote:Maybe we need a whole new thread about how to have a conversation.
It wouldn't help. I had a thread on why the correct use of logic was the only method for fair and progressive discussion, but too many even disagreed with that.

View Original PostoOoOoOo wrote:Is it so incomprehensible that a thread on sexism in Evangelion could morph into a thread on sexist interpretations of Evangelion?
I think the mods get uncomfortable when threads turn meta. You know, a thread about sexist interpretations of NGE quickly turns into "what is sexism?" in general and then we're not discussing NGE anymore but something beyond NGE that extends to our biases in everyday life. I really don't know how you can avoid it, though, since those biases naturally inform our interpretations of NGE to begin with. It's inevitable that there will be topics where we have to address those biases directly before we can move on to figuring out how applicable they are to NGE.
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Postby oOoOoOo » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:53 am

That's a good point about the meta stuff. It's why I'm consciously trying to be less fighty. Buckets of medication helps. I'd argue that the nature of Evangelion and the "outcast" nature of the fanbase makes conversations like this super essential. I think it is part of being a community. Hopefully in the future we can keep chattering away about stuff like this with communal serenity. ^_^ Unless we run out of space on the internet. ;_;
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Postby NemZ » Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:30 pm

I'm definately agreed on meta-conversations being essential. Not only does it help to investigate just what is going on in the show, it further allows the show to connect with our larger lives... and isn't that exactly the sort of thing Anno, or indeed any artist, would want?
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:25 pm

View Original PostoOoOoOo wrote:I'll admit some annoyance at what seems to be FreakyFilmFan4ever [...] failing to witness the topic.

Sorry  SPOILER: Show
Hm. I'll just go ahead and apologize for that. I've had a lot on my mind this week, and becoming very lazily opinionated is just becoming one of it's unfortunate side-effects. This probably isn't the only place in this board I've done that either. I'll presently be avoiding this laziness and actually read up on discussions if I think I have an opinion on something, as that is kinda supposed to be expected of me anyway.

If anyone feels like they have a personal bone to pick with me, just PM me and we'll talk. :wink:

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Postby Grimmjow » Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:28 pm

I fail to see how one can think of Evangelion as sexist when the only one with the balls to fight in EoE was Asuka. Not to mention how everyone's fav little main character Shinji exhibits many "traditional feminine" qualities.

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Postby Mr. Tines » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:24 am

View Original PostGrimmjow wrote: the only one with the balls to fight in EoE was Asuka ... Shinji exhibits many "traditional feminine" qualities.


We're getting perilously close to the "secret of Evangelion" copypasta here -- "Asuka, if a man, would be an awesomely HOT BLOODED pilot" and all that :D
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Postby Bagheera » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:30 am

View Original Postesselfortium wrote:I'll have to attempt a serious writeup on this one someday. :P


It writes itself, really.

(and SSD, it's not about them "getting back into the kitchen"; it's about their plotlines being all about Shinji, which wasn't really the case in NGE. Yes, he's the main character, and that's fine, but in NGE they had their own stories and Rei even had a bit of her own agency. It doesn't really work that way in Rebuild.)

God, yes. Eva doujins are depressing. The subtext of 'taming' or 'punishing' women into either misery or submission is really just abhorrent.


The straight sex is tolerable; the control and abuse, OTOH...gah. I don't get it. I mean, even if you really hate Asuka (it always seems to be Asuka), why would you want to see that?

On Misato: put me down in the "definitely not a slut, however we're choosing to define it" category. I don't think she's so much as kissed another man apart from Kaji. She does seem to be very flirtatious, and inclined to use her looks to help smooth things over socially, so that's probably what gives rise to her slutty image in her mind. But it's not really apt IMO.

And Kaji's an ass.

Topic: yes, it's bad. It's irritating. I find (many common forms of) feminism and feminist critique tiresome, but the sexism in anime is so damn obvious that I can't fault anyone for leveling such a critique at the industry.

You know why Gundam 0080 was awesome, back in the day? Well, lots of reasons, but one sticks out: Christina Mackenzie. Holy shit! Gundam pilot! Female! Not damaged (impressive for Gundam)! Not sexed up! She was, like, a person and stuff. Not the main character, but an important one. And that was back in 1989 and we still rarely see women as primary, non-sexualized characters in Gundam or anywhere else.

(which is why Asuka and Rei are fucking cool and why Rebuild's take on them makes my teeth itch, but that's for another forum.)


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