Sexism in NGE?

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Postby Apjak » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:49 am

Ryohji Kaji wrote:The Kanji we use for the word “she” means a woman far away. To us men, women will always appear to be on the shore across. It means there is a river deeper and wider than the ocean that divides men and women.

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Postby Azathoth » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:58 am

Kaji's an ass.
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Postby Xard » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:14 pm

I don't rememer that. I guess it's from manga
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
Mugwump: Goddamn it, Xard! Take me in your arms, you magnificent sex god bastard!
And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
Eva Yojimbo: You really are the Otaku equivalent of a Catholic and Jew rolled up into one giant dakimakura of guilt.
Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby Azathoth » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:20 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:I don't rememer that. I guess it's from manga


from the sleepover
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:28 pm

Kaji just seems to be admitting his inability to understand women. Remember the context in which he had said this statement was on the general topic of understanding others, with Shinji introducing his father, Gendo, first as one he didn't understand. After Kaji told Shinji that he'll never be able to truly understand his father, that's when the topic drifted over to Misato and women.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, context is key to any story-telling device. It's when people take statements out of context that those statements are twisted into meaning something that was never intended.

Kaji may be an ass, but not by the events in this one scene. Try the time he was hitting upon Ritsuko in front of Misato for that argument.
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Postby Xard » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:43 pm

View Original PostAzathoth wrote:from the sleepover


I don't remember hearing the kanji comment in ep 17 (or was it 18). Rest I do remember

and Kaji's not ass. WTF
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
Mugwump: Goddamn it, Xard! Take me in your arms, you magnificent sex god bastard!
And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
Eva Yojimbo: You really are the Otaku equivalent of a Catholic and Jew rolled up into one giant dakimakura of guilt.
Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby Azathoth » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:00 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:I don't remember hearing the kanji comment in ep 17 (or was it 18).


It's like...actually I have no idea what episode this is, but I'm sure it's from the sleepover scene. When the hell is that, now that I think of it? It's not 18 because that's the Bardiel ep and all I remember from 17 is Kaji and Shinji's conversation on the park bench...

View Original PostXard wrote:and Kaji's not ass. WTF


Kaji is kind of an ass although I would not argue that he is ass. Kind of a fine semantic distinction that.
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Postby NemZ » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:32 pm

Kaji says or does whatever he has to get the job done, including making advances on anyone if the situation might benefit from it.
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Postby oOoOoOo » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:07 pm

Kaji's idea about women and men being divided by a vast ocean (or whatever) is pretty accurate. But it isn't due to biology. Yes, there are differences between boys and girls, but there are also a lot of differences within each sex. Men are, on average, slightly better at X and Y (and vice versa), and that is then exaggerated through social factors. It's like, maybe a boy is 1% better at math (these are made-up numbers) but because of the way he is raised he becomes... 10% better.

(Having a penis: sex difference. Being raised to be a risk-taker: gender difference.)

Misato makes some comment about her "women's intuition" at one point, which is a kind of mild sexism. Women are certainly raised to be more intuitive, encouraged to go into the arts and to be cooperative. But there are plenty of sensitive men who have this so-called "women's intuition".

The thing is, we raise boys and girls differently basically from birth. We coddle the girls and encourage the boys to go out and take risks and get in fights and shit.

We'd see more high-profile powerful women like Ritsuko and Misato if we raised boys and girls equally and let their natural inclinations emerge... naturally. Some girls are always going to be more timid and some boys are always going to be more bold, but most are made that way by parental encouragement and by peer influences (and their peers are of course raised by parents and so and on and so on).
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Postby Allemann » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:17 pm

View Original PostoOoOoOo wrote:Kaji's idea about women and men being divided by a vast ocean (or whatever) is pretty accurate. But it isn't due to biology.


Sorry, it is. Darwin hates you.

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Postby Xard » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:18 pm

View Original PostAzathoth wrote:It's like...actually I have no idea what episode this is, but I'm sure it's from the sleepover scene. When the hell is that, now that I think of it? It's not 18 because that's the Bardiel ep and all I remember from 17 is Kaji and Shinji's conversation on the park bench...


I'm very certain it's from first half of ep 18. Misato leaves to the test site and Kaji moves in to look after the kids.

In any case my question remains unanswered. I was sure I remembered pretty much all lines of that conversation but I have no recolleciton of "The Kanji we use for the word “she” means a woman far away.". Rest I remember.
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
Mugwump: Goddamn it, Xard! Take me in your arms, you magnificent sex god bastard!
And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
Eva Yojimbo: You really are the Otaku equivalent of a Catholic and Jew rolled up into one giant dakimakura of guilt.
Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby Azathoth » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:22 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:I'm very certain it's from first half of ep 18. Misato leaves to the test site and Kaji moves in to look after the kids.

In any case my question remains unanswered. I was sure I remembered pretty much all lines of that conversation but I have no recolleciton of "The Kanji we use for the word “she” means a woman far away.". Rest I remember.


Ah, upon rewatch you're right that it's 18. However, the line is definitely in there, as corroborated by the wiki.
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Postby Xard » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:24 pm

View Original PostAzathoth wrote:Ah, upon rewatch you're right that it's 18. However, the line is definitely in there, as corroborated by the wiki.


Okay. My memory was just acting up :lol:
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
Mugwump: Goddamn it, Xard! Take me in your arms, you magnificent sex god bastard!
And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
Eva Yojimbo: You really are the Otaku equivalent of a Catholic and Jew rolled up into one giant dakimakura of guilt.
Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby oOoOoOo » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:50 pm

Allemann, some kind of apology for the whole sexual harassment thing would be appreciated before you dive back in to this particular thread.

Yes, I lean towards the "nurture" explanation for gender differences but "nature vs. nurture" remains an ongoing debate. How much is nature, how much is nurture? It's something I'm curious about. Either way, it isn't controversial to say it is some mixture of the two. But it is an interesting debate.

Man/woman Evangelion fashion question: Are there any women who wear pants in the show? I feel like Maya's the only one who wears pants, but Google Image Search suggests her pants are fitted like tights and her shirt is fitted like a short dress.
~ O-chan is soooo 2D right now.

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Postby Allemann » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:55 pm

View Original PostoOoOoOo wrote:Yes, I lean towards the "nurture" explanation for gender differences but "nature vs. nurture" remains an ongoing debate.


There's no debate. Only stubborn social scientists who resist sociobiology and evolutionary psychology are still claiming the debate is alive.

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Postby Xard » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:17 pm

View Original PostAllemann wrote:There's no debate. Only stubborn social scientists who resist sociobiology and evolutionary psychology are still claiming the debate is alive.


You can't seriously be claiming there's no heavy interplay of both "nature" and "nurture" in these things.

Are "genders" to some extent rooted in biological sex? Yes, absolutely and no amount of constructivist railing will change this. But it does not follow from this that the nurture plays little to no role in formation of gender identity or that gender is simply reducible to biological sex.
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
Mugwump: Goddamn it, Xard! Take me in your arms, you magnificent sex god bastard!
And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
Eva Yojimbo: You really are the Otaku equivalent of a Catholic and Jew rolled up into one giant dakimakura of guilt.
Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby honsou » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:35 pm

View Original PostAllemann wrote:There's no debate. Only stubborn social scientists who resist sociobiology and evolutionary psychology are still claiming the debate is alive.


Actually in some ways its the complete the opposite. Behaviorism has proven time and time again that we can make any organism do anything it could possibly do given enough time to train and the ability to isolate the variables. Genetics might give us predispositions to act in certain ways but we know how to change these behaviors. So basically nurture is right, though there is a small amount of nature in our behavior we can change it.

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Postby Carl Horn » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:43 pm

I don't think assumptions about gender should get in the way of human advancement; it seems reasonable that a tremendous amount of brainpower has been wasted in our history based on the prejudice against women receiving an education. Think of how much more progress we might have made, had not the human intellect been firing on half its cylinders, as it were, over most of the last few centuries. The situation is better today in some developed countries, but we're still nowhere near parity, and in much of the world, women have little opportunity to go to school, or are even terrorized against it.

Having said that, what we know of evolutionary science indicates that gender is a phenomenon hundreds of million years old; that is, it is much older (and more broadly distributed) than our own species. It's therefore much more than a social construct. But since humans also seem to have the most complex social identity of any species (that is, our detailed and diverse cultural systems), it's not an easy thing for us to understand how the biological aspects of gender interact with its social aspects.

Acknowledging that, among homo sapiens, "men" and "women" are individuals of both complex biological and complex social identity, we could better understand this question, I believe, with more women in the evolutionary sciences and its related fields. Eva, like much SF, is by no means a hard-science series. But one of the things that interests me about Evangelion is that all its top scientific intellects are women; we see and hear much more about what Yui, Ritsuko and Naoko achieved as scientists than we do Gendo and Fuyutsuki, who have a scientific background but are presented mainly as administrators. We may think of Eva's "strong women" in terms of combat (Rei, Asuka, and Misato), but the world of the series is also founded on the intellectual strength of its female characters.

(It is also possible, of course, to turn this argument around, and to argue that the work of Eva's female scientists doesn't exactly benefit human society, but is complicit in its apocalypse. I don't think that is quite the argument Gainax was trying to make here. It may be fair to say that just as Evangelion is a story of human weaknesses in general, Evangelion enables female as well as male weaknesses to be given equal roles in events. Gendo is, needless to say, highly defective as a father, but I feel Yui has her own problems that come from her image of motherhood. If Gendo has trouble seeing Shinji as his son, Yui has trouble seeing him as anything but her son. One of the battles in Evangelion, in fact, may be between the biological and the social construction of humanity, and of its individuals).
Last edited by Carl Horn on Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Xard » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:52 pm

View Original Posthonsou wrote:Actually in some ways its the complete the opposite. Behaviorism has proven time and time again that we can make any organism do anything it could possibly do given enough time to train and the ability to isolate the variables. Genetics might give us predispositions to act in certain ways but we know how to change these behaviors. So basically nurture is right, though there is a small amount of nature in our behavior we can change it.


People like you who treat man as a tool, blind bunch of pulls and triggers without will or meaningful interior disgust me. Didn't your time end decades ago, Skinner?

Cognitive psychology is where it's at.
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
Mugwump: Goddamn it, Xard! Take me in your arms, you magnificent sex god bastard!
And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
Eva Yojimbo: You really are the Otaku equivalent of a Catholic and Jew rolled up into one giant dakimakura of guilt.
Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby Bagheera » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:59 pm

View Original PostoOoOoOo wrote:Kaji's idea about women and men being divided by a vast ocean (or whatever) is pretty accurate. But it isn't due to biology. Yes, there are differences between boys and girls, but there are also a lot of differences within each sex. Men are, on average, slightly better at X and Y (and vice versa), and that is then exaggerated through social factors. It's like, maybe a boy is 1% better at math (these are made-up numbers) but because of the way he is raised he becomes... 10% better.

(Having a penis: sex difference. Being raised to be a risk-taker: gender difference.)

Misato makes some comment about her "women's intuition" at one point, which is a kind of mild sexism. Women are certainly raised to be more intuitive, encouraged to go into the arts and to be cooperative. But there are plenty of sensitive men who have this so-called "women's intuition".

The thing is, we raise boys and girls differently basically from birth. We coddle the girls and encourage the boys to go out and take risks and get in fights and shit.

We'd see more high-profile powerful women like Ritsuko and Misato if we raised boys and girls equally and let their natural inclinations emerge... naturally. Some girls are always going to be more timid and some boys are always going to be more bold, but most are made that way by parental encouragement and by peer influences (and their peers are of course raised by parents and so and on and so on).


Now see, these are the feminist critiques I really like. This post is made of win.

It also shows us why NGE is interesting wrt this debate: it doesn't do the things we expect anime to do when it comes to gender roles. It isn't just a matter of role-reversal, either; the characters are constructed so that they do their own thing, sometimes in ways that are utterly alien to both male and female gender roles (Rei in particular, but also Asuka, Kaworu, and to some extent Misato). Between those, the reversals (Shinji), the subverted reversals (Ritsuko looks powerful, but she really isn't given her subservience to Gendo), and the roles played straight (Gendo, Kaji, Yui) the interplay that results says a lot about how we construct gender roles and how our expectations wrt fictional characters are shaped by those roles.

View Original PostoOoOoOo wrote:Yes, I lean towards the "nurture" explanation for gender differences but "nature vs. nurture" remains an ongoing debate. How much is nature, how much is nurture? It's something I'm curious about. Either way, it isn't controversial to say it is some mixture of the two. But it is an interesting debate.


It's a bad question, because it's not an either/or proposition. All human traits are the result of a biological template shaped by outside forces. The genetic code is meaningless until it is expressed in some environmental context, and environment can't shape something that isn't there.

How much is nature? All of it. How much is nurture? All of it. They're working in tandem from start to finish. The issue isn't so much which is more important so much as learning to ask more relevant and useful questions.


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