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Feminism has many branches, it’s actually a very complex topic which got diluted down to bite size bucket list for people on tumblr check off. Female in panties=sexist (check), women show breast=sexist(check), women crying=sexist(check), sexualised character=sexist(check), no women characters in the film=sexist(check), violence against women=sexist(check) and etc.They are so reductive now that concepts like male gaze/damsel in distress turn into common buzz words that people tag a movie/work with so they can dismiss them as misogynistic.

People also somehow don’t  understand that damsel in distress in of it itself is not sexist but the ubiquity of how almost every work has it is. It’s this ubiquity that makes us question why it happens so often and finding out that maybe there are something inherently sexist in nature that allows it to become a trend. In of itself as a storytelling framework, it’s actually pretty neutral and harmless. Sure, it’s cliche as fuck but it can be a legit story framework. If I have to criticize, I would criticize it as being old and cliche instead of being sexist.

A great analogy to understand this is the concept of owning a car. The idea of a car in itself is ok, but many cars on the road might actually cause global warming. Similarly, you can’t blame any individual car owner for climate change, you also can’t criticize a standalone individual film as sexist. Sure, it contributes to the trend but it’s very unfair to give them terrible labels just because of it.

It is also bad critique because it doesn’t  look into context or give meaningful analysis to a film. All it does is just checking off arbitrary check-box and decides whether a film adhere to “feminism values”. Feminism values in quote because the feminism values I know of aren’t just bucket check list. They are way more in depth and sophisticated where people spend years in studying in order to comprehend.

Feminism is also not a hivemind and has many conflicting view. These bucket lists on the other hand portray feminism as a hivemind and say that all feminists has the same value and every complex situation can be reduced to a simple decision point of feminist or not.  So pardon me if I find it’s rather iffy when sites like xojane, mary sue and IO9 kept on using these checklist and write poorly researched article to perpetuate this bucket list mentality. It kills me every time because people are treating such complex studies into reductive generalizations.

On to the final thing I want to say. People might be ok with the idea of labeling everything misogynistic/sexist but I don’t think it’s wise to do that because you are diluting the power of those words. People have their justification of doing it but I don’t think it’s that wise of an idea because it comes off as too aggressive and you can’t convince anyone with such aggression that can be easily construed as an insult to the individual.

Sure, I know you are talking about the work with good intention and are  not attacking the viewers/fan but we are also living in a reality where people don’t see it that way. It’s impossible not to piss of a bunch of people if you use strong words like that because people are irrational and defensive. Learn something from politicians/pr and try to embellish your words to convince others because the end game here is not to prove that you are right but to convince people to join our side.

When I started this post, I wanted to write how Real Onigokko shows that Sono Sion is a feminist and how the macabre of female characters in Guilty of Romance is actually what we need but I spend so much time on the introduction that I missed the chance to do so. Maybe I will do it next time… … or not.

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