New anime website Anime Feminist opened its doors on. The site promises to review shows, and look at the anime world through a feminist lens.
Anime Feminist’s staff features contributors from numerous publications, including Anime News Network, The Mary Sue, and Forbes.
As of press time, 28 articles are available on Anime Feminist, including reviews for numerous shows in the Fall 2016 broadcast season, and editorial “[Fan vs Service] Black Lagoon vs Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann”.
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11th October 2016
HOW ANIME FANS ARE JOINING THE GEEK FEMINIST REVOLUTION
Women like Anita Sarkeesian have paved the way for feminist criticism of video games, comic books, film and TV – now anime fandom is catching up.
11th October 2016-There’s a place in geek media for everyone, and that’s never been more apparent than it is today. The graphic novels with the longest run on the NYT bestseller list are by and about women and people of color. The leads of the latest Star Wars movie, highest-grossing film of all time, were female and black. Marvel hired a feminist woman and a black man as showrunners for their TV shows Jessica Jones and Luke Cage respectively. Women and minorities have always been present in fandom, and their push for improved representation is only getting stronger.
This summer Hugo Award winning science fiction writer Kameron Hurley published her book The Geek Feminist Revolution. A collection of essays covering her experiences as a writer, geek and outspoken feminist, Hurley points out that high profile harassment of figures like Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn inspires its own resistance: progressive geeks who see such abuse and resolve to stand against it. These creators and fans are transforming geek spaces to make them more inclusive and welcoming to all, and anime fans are joining the revolution.
Anime and manga has had a large female fan base for years. Back in 2005, sales of manga to women so shocked the male-dominated comics industry that The Comics Journal ran a special issue on the “phenomenon” (nowadays called “business as usual”). Today, market leading anime streaming site Crunchyroll has an estimated user base of 40% women1. Despite this, explicitly feminist criticism of anime still leads to the kinds of kneejerk abuse other geek fandoms are all too familiar with. One group of fans has had enough, launching new website Anime Feminist to review and discuss anime and manga through a feminist lens.
The international team of writers collaborating on Anime Feminist includes contributors to Anime News Network, The Mary Sue and Forbes, and all agree such a site is long overdue. “We hope that normalizing feminist critique will reduce the backlash we currently have to brace for,” said founder Amelia Cook. “We also want to make it easier for fans to find anime they can love, recommend and financially support without being blindsided by sexual assault scenes or gay jokes.”
While not affiliated with any companies or organisations, the team includes anime and manga academics and professionals giving their spare time to the project. “In response to popular criticism, Western comics have made significant progress in recent years to improve diversity and representation,” said Peter Fobian, Associate Features Editor at Crunchyroll. “I hope directing a critical eye at Japanese media will spur similar growth.”
Improving the fandom environment for English speaking fans is a key motivator for the volunteers. “AniFem is such an important initiative to me, because as a woman and fervent anime lover I don’t think being a feminist and being an anime fan should be at odds,” said Molly Brenan, Publishing Associate at Kodansha USA. “Having a place that encourages respectful discussion and gives a platform to voices that often get drowned out is a great step towards making sure all sorts of fans feel welcome and valued.”
The geek feminist revolution will look different in anime and manga fandom than in comics, videogames or science fiction literature. There will be less activism, more showcasing women in the industry and promoting examples of existing feminist-friendly anime and manga. Even such positive content is likely to come under fire, but as Hurley notes, any abuse that initiatives like Anime Feminist receive will only makes their resistance stronger.
About Anime Feminist
Anime Feminist is a new website for reviews, interviews and discussion on anime and manga through a feminist lens, run by a team of volunteers from academia, the industry and grassroots fandom. To learn more about Anime Feminist please visit www.animefeminist.com or follow them on Twitter @AnimeFeminist.
- “crunchyroll.com Traffic Statistics”, Alexa Internet. Retrieved 07 October 2016.