>Just because your fans tell you you’re not sexist doesn’t make it true

>Okay, a bit of a quickie here… I’m working on a post about Reaper Minis that has wound up consuming way more time than I thought it would. So in the mean time, here’s a preview of what you can expect:


She’s going to have some serious scratches later.

So there’s that.Anyhow. Dale North, who is a major contributor on both Japanator and Destructoid, asked his readers if he was sexist. Amusingly, in describing the difference between Japanator and Destructoid, he had this to say about Destructoid:

If you frequent Japanatator, then you surely know about ModernMethod’s flagship site, Destructoid. This gaming community is past hope, and we like it like that! We offend on a daily basis, and we’re championed by our readers for it.

…which, amusingly, is one of the best descriptions I’ve seen yet of Destructoid. Good to know that sexism is apparently part of the writing style guide.

Now normally I would ignore stuff like this on a site like Japanator. I do try to avoid crossing too much into anime fandom here, since the problems with anime fandom are rooted a great deal in cultural differences and Japanese misogyny. However, since Dale North is a contributor on both sites, and content that he writes for Japanator sometimes gets cross-posted on Destructoid – which are both part of the same blogging network, I consider this fair game.

So here’s the question Dale posed to his readers:

Am I, Japanator’s Editor-in-Cheif, a sexist pig? And, if I am, should I be concerned about this as a writer on anime/manga/Japanese culture?

Not surprisingly, given the wording, the rest of the post was then followed by defensiveness and strawmen. This seemed to be more a facetious inquiry to cause a bit of controversy and garner hits rather than a genuine attempt at self-examination. Especially since near the end of his post he tosses out:

I’m not really doubting myself or the work of the Japanator staff here. And in the end, like it or not, we still get paid to write this crap. Sexy? Maybe. Japanator is filled with sexy commentary and pictures and whatnot. We’re all horribly perverted, as good otaku should be. But I don’t think there’s anything here that makes us terribly sexist.

Nope! No sexism here! I mean, there’s scads of sexy women. And our staff is mostly men. And GOOD OTAKU SHOULD BE HORNY. I mean, come on. QED. But none of that makes us sexist. (Now show us your tits.)

Anyhow. None of this should be in any way shocking coming from Dale North, who titled an article about the banning of RapeLay in Japan with: “RapeLay raped off Japanese shelves for good”… and then had this as the headline image: 


For fuck’s sake.

Dale’s no Jim Sterling, but he certainly has his moments.Predictably, Japanator users fell over themselves to defend Dale. Here are some of my favorite comments. (My commentary is in brackets.)

Grow a backbone! Be more like Jim Sterling. He doesn’t give a fuck. [Note: Yes. Because we should all seek to emulate Jim Sterling…]

I’ve been a reader for over a year and I’ve never found your comments insulting (I have a vagina). I think there is a lot of coverage on “sexy news” like PVC figures, but that’s a part of the otaku experience. So, no, you’re not sexist, you’re just an excited fanboy as we all are. [Someone with a vagina says you’re not sexist! That makes it true!]

Last time I checked, I had a vagina so I can comment I suppose. =P There are those on the interwebs that love to stir up a bunch of bull. As a long time reader (though I rarely if ever comment), I have never been offended by your nor anyone else’s word choice or whatever has been shown here.

Tits or GTFO

Either way the entire otaku community has a heavy emphasis on fanservice. Girls who get all huffy at a small thing like the term “good looking gal” should just stay away completely [Yeah! Hear that, wimminz? GTFO!]

As a person with no financial relationship and thus no legal liability with Samantha Robertson, you have the opportunity, nay the duty, to be a sexist pig for all us sexist pigs out there unable to attend this convention. As a representative of this fine oasis of otaku in the vast desert of drivel we call the intarwebs, you carry the honor and privilege of commenting on all the shapely figures and voluptuous bosoms you might encounter in our stead. So go forth and offend. With pride. With courage. With conviction. And let exhaustion and weariness not touch you till you have recieved at least one restraining order.

As a girl, I have to say, not only are the things you say not sexist, but they’re downright hillarious! The call me thing was classic.

Just as the other females have said, my tits say you aren’t a bad guy at all. I think you’re hilarious. I don’t understand what the commotion is about, you guys cater to the female crowd too with the yaoi. [Right. Because all women love yaoi, right?]

Dale, I must admit that you are indeed a sexist pig. You offend the very core of my man-finger, and you continue to do so on a regular basis with your sexual innuendo, such as your reference to “I worked hard,” and referring to me as “dear reader.” I am appalled, good sir! Now back to the beautifully luscious breasts and asses of Anime Expo 2008!

As always, the internet restores my faith in humanity. Or, wait, it restores the inverse of my faith. Anyway, having female commenters tell you that you’re not sexist doesn’t automatically make it true – in the same way that “having black friends” doesn’t make you automatically not racist. Read Derailing for Dummies, for god’s sake.

(Sidenote: I’m amused by the concept disembodied body parts leaping to Dale’s defense. “Hey! I’ve got four tits and two vaginas that say I’m not sexist!” Protip: having ladybits does not automatically make you an arbiter of what is and is not sexist.)

Now, I get that Japanese culture mass-produces misogynist media, and that a certain level of tolerance for that goes with being part of anime fandom. Examining issues of sexism in anime fandom isn’t easy because it’s often hard to tell when you’re dealing with Japanese cultural issues and when you’re dealing with Western cultural issues – which is why I usually stay out of it.

But here’s a tip for all you game “journalists” out there who may be wondering if you are sexist. If you’re actually interested in obtaining a real answer, then you need to step outside your little echo chamber. The users on Japanator are there because they like the site and the content that it posts. Are they going to want to see a negative label attached to a major contributor for said site? No, because that would mean being a fan of that contributor might make them sexist as well.

But I guess that wasn’t really the point of this whole exercise.

23 thoughts on “>Just because your fans tell you you’re not sexist doesn’t make it true

  1. >At my (all-male) high school we wore uniforms, but occasionally were allowed to wear civilian clothes to school. When asked about what clothes were appropriate, the response was always "If you have to ask, then it's inappropriate"My feeling is the same here – If you have to ask if you're sexist or not, then you're sexist.Really, all this guy is doing is asking his fans to defend his behavior.

  2. >Travis mccg is right, all North wants is to have his actions defended (and who better to go to than those who laugh with you as you offend). If he really cared about whether his material was sexist or not, he would branch out to other journalists/bloggers or *ahem* even better, feminist writers. Going to fellow sexists and asking if you're a sexist is the same as going to a member of the KKK and asking if you're racist. What an ignoramus. -_-

  3. >"Either way the entire otaku community has a heavy emphasis on fanservice"FanBoyservice. Let's at least get it right and not pretend this is equal eh?Also, I can't help but be a little amused when people talk about being a sexist creep is somehow 'courageous' to do. Or that you need a 'backbone' for it. Yes, mindlessly conforming and being a bigot is just /so brave/ these days.

  4. >Lilith: I dunno, for a certain value of courage, it's pretty courageous to stand up and proclaim your contempt for half the population of the planet. I certainly wouldn't wan't three billion women pissed off at me.

  5. >@LilithXIV – I've come to think that some people encourage the sexist behavior of others (and other forms of discrimination) in order to enforce their own sexist views. I mean, you'd think that they have felt guilty at least once in their life due to the way they talk about and treat others, and when they see others offending a group of people in the same way they are, any hesitation or doubt they may have previously held dissipates.

  6. >@Chaltab: Ah, but they'd first have to consider women human beings with just as much worth to actually acknowledge any that contempt (and dare I say underlying hatred for some..) as 'serious enough'. It's clear from some of these comments that plenty of these people do not.@Cole92: Yeah, I guess it's the easy way out when you think about it. Which is also probably why they point in desperation at the 'OMG WOMEN ARE OKAY WITH THIS' special snowflake examples too. 'Everyone's conforming so it /must/ be okay!'. Truly pathetic.Also, I read one of those comments a little more closely: "So go forth and offend. With pride. With courage. With conviction. And let exhaustion and weariness not touch you till you have recieved at least one restraining order."Harassment of women to the point of restraining orders is awesome apparently according to this person. Oh and if it's 'just a joke'.. then harassment of women is /hilarious/ apparently? Yeah, that's /so/ much better. Gee, I can't imagine why one would think anyone on that site was sexist.

  7. >@LilithXIV – "Harassment of women to the point of restraining orders is awesome apparently according to this person. Oh and if it's 'just a joke'.. then harassment of women is /hilarious/ apparently? Yeah, that's /so/ much better. Gee, I can't imagine why one would think anyone on that site was sexist."And that is PRECISELY why people working in the gaming industry (especially company representatives) must be held accountable for any sexism they portray, whether it be blatant or subtle. Regardless of what they would like to think, their opinions and actions influence many people. The sexism starts at the top and works its way down, gathering at the bottom to form a cesspool of ignorance and hatred.

  8. >O c’mon, can we drop: „We enlightened human egomaniacs slapping high fives for how great we are vs. rest people in dark ages attitude. Tell you what? It really is possible to criticize sexism without boosting your egos to the point where only shoes made form lead prevent you from loosing contact with mother earth ffs…

  9. >@Pivonia: That was some lovely babbling, did it have a point? Oh, wait, this was the point 'You're not criticizing it the /right/ way, my way! You should be /nicer/ and stop being so /uppity/!'. I didn't realize I had to fill out a form to 'properly' criticize sexist assholes who pretend they /aren't/ sexist assholes.And honestly it's not about being enlightened, it's about being decent fucking human beings. And not making up excuses why you can't be. Don't be mad because you're being mocked for something you totally should be mocked for. Shorter: You fail.

  10. >"O c’mon, can we drop: „We enlightened human egomaniacs slapping high fives for how great we are vs. rest people in dark ages attitude."None of us here are putting ourselves on a pedestal above other human beings, only those who constantly degrade and harass women through their misogynist words and actions. "Tell you what? It really is possible to criticize sexism without boosting your egos to the point where only shoes made form lead prevent you from loosing contact with mother earth ffs…"Hmmm, looks like someone feels the need to attack North's critics in order to defend their own sexist views…Perhaps you should attempt to express your agreement/disagreement with this post in a more civil and intellectual manner, instead of throwing a tantrum like a two year old because someone calls North a sexist (because that is exactly what he is).

  11. >Pivonia: Just to let you know, hubris is only a sin if you can't back it up. Please demonstrate that we can't, 'kay?And I gotta love that argument: 'There are fangirls segregated out there somewhere else [now why would that be, I wonder?] that like anime that makes sex objects out of gay men. Therefore, us straight men and the anime we watch is not sexist."Welp, they made an anime out of Jellyfish Princess and women watched it. Fandom bigotry cured forever. Time to work on Japan's xenophobia. Oh wait, Heroman. All problems solved.

  12. >How is any of this egomaniacal? There's a difference between "holy shit that's stupid/offensive" and "I AM BETTER THAN EVERYONE EVER WORSHIP ME". Contrary to popular opinion on the internets, it IS possible to criticize something without making everything all about you.

  13. >"and that a certain level of tolerance for that goes with being part of anime fandom."Actually NO. YOu don't need to be tolerant. it's being tolerant of rampant misogyny that make all the anime forums out there as unsafe. People with images of underage girls with their eyes half closed, tongue out and "something" on their face as avatars. Bits of legs, ass and breasts as signature banners, or even one program to update what you've watched chock full of scantily clad cat girls and for-men lesbian pics.It's tolerating that crap that MAKES the culture "men only", and the reason that anime conventions only cater to the men mostly. I had to spend HOURS digging out ONE poster for a shoujo series that was popular. If you want "hentai honeys", those expensive figures of women in unreal poses with no clothes figures they had TONS of them. Finding a male figure from a very popular anime series (Haruhi) was impossible. They didn't stock the figure AT ALL for any of the dealers. The little bits of man figures I did get were a blindbox Monster Hunter figure… and 4 boob women from that collective purchase, 5 Emeraldas figures WITH rare varient and 0 Harlock figures to show for it, and a Light Warrior statue I paid $20 …out of 3 men and the rest of the female cast from Dissidia/FF on display. While the anime and manga coming from Japan is indeed misogynistic like all the ecchi harem anime/manga games out. That doesn't mean the fanbase around it has to be "good horny otaku" and lap it up.Also, let's talk about how yaoi fangirls are seen as "crazy, rabid, etc." Their cultural trappings are dismissed and shoved to the side, however yuri fanboys are mainstream and seen as being part of the main anime stream that it isn't even considered "other".

  14. >Maverynthia: Sorry – I should clarify. I meant that if you watch anime, you should expect to sometimes to be sideswiped by things that seem sexist even in series that are otherwise quite good and NOT pathetic harem anime. So the tolerance of which I speak is FOR THE ANIME. That being said, harem anime is pathetic and disgusting. Fetish anime ditto. Hentai anime ditto. I just meant that even anime that is good and story-based has stuff that feels "off" sometimes. You can either decide to watch the stuff that has a minimum of eyerolling anyway or to avoid it completely. I understand both points of view. It's just that my whole life I've taken up male dominated pursuits – fine art, tae kwon do, gaming, anime – so I'm used to a certain amount of eye rolling with my hobbies.But yeah, I totally agree that misogynist behavior from ANIME FANS should totally not be tolerated. So sorry if I seemed like I was backing Dale up with the "of course anime fans should be sexist" stuff there.

    • “That being said, harem anime is pathetic and disgusting. Fetish anime ditto. Hentai anime ditto.”

      That’s like…just your opinion, woman.

      I dunno I’m always extremely hesitant to call someone elses pleasures pathetic and disgusting*…problematic…filled with issues, yes but I dont think I want to come of sounding quite as…holier than thou. Then again I also know I’d be a total fucking hypocrite to do so.

      *and really I think I’d rather jam angry weasels down my jeans than watch most harem stuff, though I did enjoy Tenchi a lot….even then it seemed to spawn many bad progeny.

  15. >Maverynthia: "yuri fanboys are mainstream and seen as being part of the main anime stream"That's a function of the fact that the yuri fandom is roughly at gender parity. God knows there's more women (even straight women!) in /u/ than men of any kind in /y/. The fact that a good chunk of Yuri is made with actual lesbians as the target audience (Marimite, Aoi Hana, etc.) and the fact that yaoi does not (gay men have their own genre, 'bara' for their needs) also makes yuri seem more authentic and less exploitative than Yaoi.I've also found that the inevitably romanticized rape scenes in any yaoi ever tend to put men off it. In contrast, I can't even think of a Yuri series with rape scenes. So you've got more people as a target audience for a genre that commands more prestige.(Hey, maybe we can use this analogy to explain why loudly championing rape games alienates women, even if you're just doing it because you support freedom of speech.)

  16. >@RE:I was referring actually to the comments then to blog itself whichyour answers made my observation even more apparent. But I take it back, Iwas stupidly idealistic and naive to think that if people do the rightthink like criticizing sexism and misogyny that would automatically madethem also “decent human beings”. Lesson learned: people fail big timeno matter how noble is their cause. Of course it’s sometimes hard to walkpast people who claim it’s about “being decent fucking human being”but actually shouldn’t look at the mirror because it’s the last qualitythey will see there, with everything being overshadowed with theiroverblown egos. Anyway don’t mind me then, let the ego boosting fest for enlightened continues.

  17. >@Pivonia: Shorter… 'Waahhh, stop mocking me! It's hurting my feelings!'. Here's a tip, if you want to be taken seriously and not automatically assumed as one of the sexist people from that very site going on a defensive tirade here about how 'uppity/egotistical' we are then please be sure to point out exactly how it's an 'ego boosting' fest.Otherwise you're just throwing out words with no substance behind them. Because you're taking the time to criticize the people here and have made no actual mention of the post itself or the subject. I guess we know where your priorities lie. 'Sexism is okay, but when criticizing and mocking sexist people? /That/ crosses a line'.Go away, loser.

  18. >He knows that he is being a sexist asshole but needs to flaunt it and be reassured, fun. The women coming to his defense make me sad, but don't surprise me. I repressed and quietly accepted this shit for a long time too (although I never came to the aid of a total DB like this).Some of the sexism in anime I can get past with eyerolling, some is just not tolerable whatsoever (see: DearS). However, the anime FANS are usually far worse than a lot of anime is itself and this is a prime example of why.Also, anyone who thinks people getting Rapeplay pulled "ruined it" are people I hope to NEVER interact with in any way.

  19. >Pivonia: We might be inclined to talk with you if you learned grammar and if your paragraphing wasn't atrocious. Or is that some sort of poetic metre I was unaware of?

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