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Over-sexualizing of girls in Japanese Pop Culture

Something that I have noticed in all of my time watching anime, reading manga, and learning about popular culture in Japan, is that girls are extremely over-sexualized. You get this in the "jiggle physics" phenomenon that has struck anime, or the fact that many clothes that are sort of pop-cultre-y in Japan are like sexy versions of what little girls would wear (at least from what I see about Harajuku culture anyway), or even how animes or mangas that are supposed to have characters that are little girls get into really inappropriate situations, such as the little movie for Sword Art Online when they have the older girls grabbing Suguha’s boobs at the pool when she’s like 13-14 just because they are big (or, to use No Game, No Life as an example, show really inappropriate panty shots of what is supposed to be a little girl). I think examining how pop culture really over-sexualizes girls and women could point to how things need to change to create more of an equality in the culture that relies less on sex and boobs and more on women as people.

  • It would be good to look at things from a cultural point of view. What is it about the cultural that encourages the sexualization of young girls? Is it certain standards of girls that people find enticing, or is it just because it sells? – andreacr 8 years ago
  • I think there is absolutely a place for obnoxious over-sexualization of characters. But I also believe there should be just as much selection for women as characters that aren't just jiggle objects. – bluishcatbag 8 years ago
  • Like the old saying goes, "sex sells." And, in my opinion, I believe that is why there is so much sexualization of characters in anime and manga. However, as stated in your point, it is questionable why there is sexualization of young, underage girls. Like what andreacr stated before, culture has some parts on why anime sexualizes teenage girls. In Japan, the age of consensual sex is at 13 years old, but there are laws that makes it illegal for an adult to be in a sexual relationship with girls under the age of 17. But that's a whole different topic that I will get in later. Sexualizing characters is basically fanservice. However, this type of fanservice is mainly directed to male viewers, particularly shown in shonen or seinen animes/mangas which are the two most read or watched genre inside and outside of Japan. So a lot creators or mangakas believe that in order to appeal to men even more, they tend to sexualize female characters. But why young girls? In some cases, the characters that look like a teenage girl is in fact a grown woman in her mid to late 20s. It's basically just the youth factor that plays a role in some cases; the age-old idea that a younger woman is more desirable than an older woman. If the girl is a teenager, then that's a different ball game. As stated before, the age of sexual consent in Japan is 13, but an adult cannot have sex with girls under 17. So, as wrong as this may sound, the loophole is that it is legal in a few parts of Japan where you can watch pornography with girls under the age of 17 so long as they are 13 or older. However, Japan is cracking down on this lately and it is illegal in many parts of the country today. In the West, 13 is considered to be much too young, and those who are 13 are still considered by law to be children or adolescents, so some Western viewers do get uncomfortable watching underage girls put in sexual situations. And if you think about it, in most of these situations in anime, the girl is sometime unaware of the implications of the situation they are put in, or they feel just as uncomfortable but this is downplayed as a comedic scene (ie tsundere). Now this would stem back to the whole idea that innocence is sexy. A video on YouTube titled "Born Sexy Yesterday" does tackle this issue much better than my explanation. ( And I wholeheartedly agree with what you are saying. Oversexualization can kill, and it does diminish the quality of the character. But instead of seeing an actual person, they are portrayed as this sort of sexual fantasy. – themessenger151 7 years ago