Feminism in Evangelion

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Feminism in Evangelion

Postby GAP » Sat May 09, 2015 8:43 pm

I am not a SJW or anything but is there any feminism in Evangelion? I know Asuka, Rei and Misato are all gender flipped of the hot blooded hero, stoic rival and badass captain respectively but to paraphrase another use in another forum, It defies stereotypes, but at some level reinforces expectations. I might be overthinking but Shinji seems to be 'punished' for not being the typical male that most otaku want as are Asuka and Misato for not being the 'typical' females. I know that i might be an unconscious thing but what do you think?
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Postby Shoujo Kakumei Asuka » Sat May 09, 2015 9:38 pm

Shinji (or at least the person he was replaced with in EoE) was shown to have several tendencies that can be construed as misogynist, such as his desire to go after unconscious women and asking for people to be nice to him. In fact, while I think the issue is overblown, whenever I hear about the "nice guy" phenomenon, I can't help but think about Shinji in the kitchen scene (tbh, he's kind of the same way about Kaworu, though). A bit of the stuff with Misato in the TV ending actually struck me as regressive, but I think you could characterize Evangelion as feminist. I'd say Shinji was "punished" largely for the sake of plot throughout the TV series, rather than it being related to anything he did. In EoE, it's due to his own decisions as well as plot again. I'm a fan of Shinji, and see End of Evangelion as him breaking down completely rather than simply being a complete jerk, but it's still hard to deny that he did a lot of wrong things in it. I don't see this as being punishment for not being a complete manly-man though. I know some people would like him a lot more if he went up against the MP Evas, even if he completely failed.

As far as Asuka, I'd say it was largely her unrealistic expectations of herself and others that ended up getting to her, as well as the screwed up events of the series.
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sat May 09, 2015 9:59 pm

Anno is a protege of Hayao Miyazaki, who tends to lean a lot towards Second Wave Feminism. I wouldn’t be surprised if great minds thought alike in this way. Parts of it do seem to show in Eva, even without the deconstruction of Shinji’s desires. Ritsuko is probably the best candidate for the Bechdel Test the series has to offer (even though the Bechdel Test was never meant to be used on individual examples of media, but was rather a litmus test for media as a whole), as she not only fulfills its requirements, but goes on to have a character arc that doesn’t depend on a male character for quite some time. And Kaji’s death really proves that Misato always the strength by herself to do what needs to be done now that she was without him. (Heck, if it wasn't for Kaji just knowing things, he would have been the most useless character in the series.)

And then there's Maya, who holds that, sexually speaking, sisters are doin’ it for themselves!!!
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Postby Alaska Slim » Sat May 09, 2015 10:52 pm

^ Hayao Miyazaki.
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sun May 10, 2015 12:11 am

^ This is what happens when I have no day off for a whole month straight. It’s a good thing I took those 4 consecutive days at the end of the May for myself.

Thanks! Fixed.

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Postby Mr. Tines » Sun May 10, 2015 2:47 am

Let's not forget GunBuster and Nadia before NGE; and the suggestions that NGE went with a boy as lead primarily to not be "yet another girl fronted series from Gainax" rather than to genderbend super-robot stereotypes.

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Re: Feminism in Evangelion

Postby Sailor Star Dust » Sun May 10, 2015 10:27 am

View Original PostGAP wrote:I am not a SJW or anything but is there any feminism in Evangelion?


IMO, being a woman, actual feminism is simply treating everybody equally with respect and kindness. Not any of that overblown SJW stuff.

But, yes, Misato, Asuka and Rei (along with the rest of the female cast!) are portrayed as strong women (100% Freaky's post).
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Postby GAP » Sun May 10, 2015 3:22 pm

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:Anno is a protege of Hayao Miyazaki, who tends to lean a lot towards Second Wave Feminism. I wouldn’t be surprised in great minds thought alike in this way. Parts of it do seem to show in Eva, even without the deconstruction of Shinji’s desires. Ritsuko is probably the best candidate for the Bechdel Test the series has to offer (even though the Bechdel Test was never meant to be used on individual examples of media, but was rather a litmus test for media as a whole), as she not only fulfills its requirements, but goes on to have a character arc that doesn’t depend on a male character for quite some time. And Kaji’s death really proves that Misato always the strength by herself to do what needs to be done now that she was without him. (Heck, if it were for Kaji just knowing things, he would have been the most useless character in the series.)

And then there Maya, who holds that, sexually speaking, sisters are doin’ it for themselves!!!


That makes some sense as Miyazaki has pretty strong female characters although the movie version of Nausicaa borders on the line of Mary Sue. Anno's female have their own lives outside of Shinji's own hoever they have their own share of flaws. Asuka is histronic, Rei doesn't values herself as person, Misato is bottle fairy, Ritsuko has mother issues, etc. but they are all fully realized characters nonetheless.
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Postby Ray » Sun May 10, 2015 4:38 pm

I'm concerned about posting this here because I think it might offend some people. . . .

I always thought Eva was a bit too feminist. Read me out before rage posting.

Yeah, all the female characters are fully realized, fleshed out, the series passes the Bechdel test, AND the Mako Mori test twenty times over. But. . . then there's Shinji. The male character, who in any other anime would be uber masculine, is seriously feminized in Eva. Almost to the point of it being. . . humiliating. After thinking about it, the whole series seems to have this theme of punishing a male character for doing anything typically masculine. But doesn't have the same opinion on Female characters doing typically masculine things.

The series (and even the meta franchise) goes out of it's way to put Shinji in Women's clothing to further hammer home the idea that he isn't the typical male protagonist, in my opinion it often goes too far, crossing the line from using it for deconstruction, to pure mean spirited Schadenfreude and/or comedic sociopathy.

The entire franchise, (with maybe the exception of 2.0 and some spinoff manga) seem to love hammering this idea by using visual metaphors to spiritually castrate Shinji in the eyes of the audience. The hair clips and the DSS choker look like typical female accessories, that you would NEVER see on the typical Shonen giant robot antagonist. He's put into a FEMALE hospital gown in Q. Do I even need to mention him wearing Asuka's plug suit with the breastplates? The plugsuit itself is a skintight leotard that looks good on female characters, but is unflattering on Shinji and just highlights how unmasculine and physically weak he really is.

Need I mention his character design was based off of NADIA?

Don't think Shinji's the only one who gets this treatment of meanspirited female empowerment either. Gendo puts Yui on a Pedestal as the perfect woman, the only one who ever cared for him unconditionally, the only one who ever genuinely loved him. To the point he blinds himself to seeing her for the admittedly terrible person she must have been to abandon both him and her only child at their hour of greatest need. Not to mention, Gendo lives out his high school fantasies with BOTH Akagi's. He stoic, cold, in control, never losing his cool, in typical fiction with a typical audience in mind for both these things he'd be framed as the stronger character for it. In Eva, he's framed as the bad guy, and rightfully so! What does the shows treatment of Gendo have to say about how the typical male mind sees women?



Though to be fair, Eva doesn't really have anything nice to say about either gender. It seems to say that Men are selfish pigs who only see women as objects and only when they adopt a more female view of things (often against their will) will they be better for it. While the female characters who are devoted to a stereotypically male one without any real reason other than base desire or to prove something to themselves and the world (Asukas desire for Kaji, Ritsuko and Gendo) are punished for it by the setting and story for it.

I understand it was for deconstruction/examination. But the whole series still has this undercurrent of female empowerment at the expense of the male one. . . . When you look at the whole thing from a gender politics standpoint the whole thing just came off to me as inherently misandrist and even more mean spirited than the series itself without examining it from that point of view.

Feel free to criticize me for posting this here, I just felt like it was appropriate. Maybe it's just my parental conditioning speaking for me.
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Postby pwhodges » Sun May 10, 2015 4:46 pm

Nah. Not in a film, nor in a whole series, can you have a precisely even-handed spread of types.

the whole series seems to have this theme of punishing a male character for doing anything typically masculine.

But that's assuming you believe there is such a thing as a typically masculine thing to do. Avoiding gender stereotypes is a reasonable thing to do, from a feminist point of view (and presenting them for some characters may be a reasonable thing to do artistically if that's the point).
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Postby Shoujo Kakumei Asuka » Sun May 10, 2015 5:52 pm

As far as punishing people for acting in traditional gender roles, you could argue that it really only seems to apply to Shinji. Kaji never is punished for traditionally masculine actions whatsoever. Many of the traits which he is most seen as punished for, namely his dependence upon others is typically described as a feminine trait (hence the desire of some people to genderbend Shinji). But again, this is independent of End of Evangelion. In the series, he isn't punished for much except by happenstance, and there's really not anything I really fault him for in it either. In End of Evangelion, I think he's punished a little too hard even though he did some detestable things in it (then again, I'm kind of unclear about how much blame to place on him for Third Impact).

As far as Misato goes, the series seems to praise her more "masculine" traits over her more feminine ones throughout the series (if you call being a capable commander masculine).

In general, I really wish that more entertainment could ignore gender roles entirely, along with society. People should just be allowed to be as they are, without having to worry about whether they are acting "masculine" or "feminine." Unfortunately, we're not there yet. :sniffle:
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Postby Mr. Tines » Sun May 10, 2015 5:55 pm

View Original PostRay wrote:The male character, who in any other anime would be uber masculine
It depends what you mean by "any other anime", and by "uber masculine", come to that. For sure, there are even little girls who come over more manly than Shinji; but I would hardly class the typical high-school age protag as especially masculine. There are a lot of whiny kids who pilot mecha, after all.
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Postby xanderkh » Sun May 10, 2015 5:58 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:
But that's assuming you believe there is such a thing as a typically masculine thing to do. Avoiding gender stereotypes is a reasonable thing to do, from a feminist point of view (and presenting them for some characters may be a reasonable thing to do artistically if that's the point).


Exactly! Just because a character doesn't adopt a "cultural standard" of gender-related traits doesn't make them less of a person. And the reason why Shinji didn't do so well was because of his personality and that the cards were stacked against him, not because of his gender. So what if a male acts "feminine"? Is that a problem? Shinji took care of himself his whole life alone by cooking for himself. That's pretty good for a damaged kid on his own. And what about the women of Eva? They adopt a lot of masculine traits, and they're awesome. Who says that "masculine" has to be the "badass" gender-trait?
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Postby Shoujo Kakumei Asuka » Sun May 10, 2015 6:00 pm

View Original PostMr. Tines wrote:It depends what you mean by "any other anime", and by "uber masculine", come to that.


He probably means someone like post-timeskip Simon. Also, people assign masculinity to results, and Amuro may have whined, but he still got the job done successfully. Depending upon how you think of EoTV's ending, you could even see Shinji as one of these. Speaking of Amuro, I remember reading somewhere where Anno wanted Shinji to be Brightslapped in one of the Super Robot Wars games. At times I've gotten the impression he doesn't like Shinji; I'm not entirely sure about that though. Oh well... feminine traits are not the same thing as "bad," and Shinji having them doesn't mean that he is "bad."
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Postby xanderkh » Sun May 10, 2015 6:08 pm

View Original PostShoujo Kakumei Asuka wrote:He probably means someone like post-timeskip Simon. Also, people assign masculinity to results, and Amuro may have whined, but he still got the job done successfully. Depending upon how you think of EoTV's ending, you could even see Shinji as one of these. Speaking of Amuro, I remember reading somewhere where Anno wanted Shinji to be Brightslapped in one of the Super Robot Wars games.


If anything, a Brightslap may have helped in some way, with someone who was at least somewhat more stable than the rest of the cast. It helped in SRW, and Shinji lead the charge against his father, so there's hope for him. ^_^
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Postby UrsusArctos » Sun May 10, 2015 6:53 pm

Frankly, I think Shinji gets far too much flak for not being "masculine". The very fact that he's able to hang on and do something, whether with Cello playing or with the horrible job of piloting an Eva shows that he has his own strength, he simply doesn't know it. Take a look at Episode 08, when Eva-02 is in Gaghiel's jaws, Asuka is infuriated that things aren't going her way - Shinji is being as calm as he can and hanging in there. Just because he's not a typical macho, girl-chasing jerk is no reason to call him weak.

As the tumblr poster who said "Kaji is the bond girl, not bond" pointed out, Kaji, for all his machismo and flirtatiousness, is associated with feminine qualities like nurturing - take a look at his melon patch, for instance- and he chooses the more evasive and less confrontational route of being a spy to being a soldier the way Misato is. Kaji is never picked on for being feminine simply because he puts up the pretense of being a macho flirt.

And no, NGE, is not too feminist - in fact, there isn't any such thing as too feminist, considering that feminism refers to political, social and economic equality between both sexes (and by extension, anyone who doesn't identify as either male or female). Shinji isn't being punished for being "feminine" - he's been in a compromised situation throughout, and anyone, male or female, would be a in a world of misery if they were in his position.
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Postby Ray » Sun May 10, 2015 7:10 pm

I still think the series just goes too far.

I mean at the end of 2.0 he does the most stereotypically shonen hero thing he's done in any version. He's put in a girls hospital gown and forced to wear a bomb collar that looks like girly jewelry for the rest of the next movie.

It's more of a meta thing I think Anno intended to poke subtle fun at his mostly male audience for.
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sun May 10, 2015 7:24 pm

View Original PostRay wrote:It's more of a meta thing I think Anno intended to poke subtle fun at his mostly male audience for.

Anno has gone on record in interviews saying that Shinji is his own self-insert character. Anything that Anno does to Shinji is a reflection of how Anno felt about himself during a certain time in his life. In that sense Anno isn’t being overly aggressive against the stereo-typical masculine traits. I mean, just look at stereo-typical, sports-jock “Imma Man!” Toji, who went from beating up Shinji to actually liking him as a close friend. So clearly Anno’s not being too hard on the more widely recognized aspects of masculinity in this regard. On the contrary; Anno’s only being too hard on himself by the way he handles the character of Shinji.

Which is why all of EvaGeeks needs to just go over to Japan ASAP and give Mr. Hideaki Anno a great, big group hug.
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Postby Ray » Sun May 10, 2015 7:29 pm

So. . . Anno deep down wants to be a girl?

Edit: Since when does Anno have any bloody Idea?
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Postby xanderkh » Sun May 10, 2015 7:34 pm

^

:irked: No Ray. Just because Shinji is more introverted, shy, and emotional does not make him a "girly-girl". A male can be emotional and shy, and there's nothing wrong with that.
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