“Mini Mendacious Moments” is a feature about small moments (a page, an opening sequence, a character design, or something a character said) in manga, anime, or games that simply makes me pause and just wonder why something so silly, bad, demeaning, or pertaining to a double standard was even mentioned or briefly touched upon. Being such a small and blatant moment, in-dept analysis will not be given, rather, this is more for snarky me to share my snarky commentary.

Ah, feminism, the ever misunderstood and misrepresented movement. I don’t know if the translator was trying to be funny here or if this is the word used in the original Japanese, but in Chapter 181 of Flame of Recca, Tokiya, during his fight with the two-faced Mikoto, who admonishes Tokiya for hitting her (a woman), and to which Tokiya replies that he is not a feminist so he has no qualms about hitting women.

FoR chap.181 pg.18 Feminist

Feminism = Treating woman like they are frail glass

Now this is just sweet sweet irony since this is exactly the sentiments that feminism is fighting against. See, I don’t know how it is possible, but certain individuals have a very hard time distinguishing abuse from other forms of violence. When two martial artists spar is that abuse? When a brother and sister play fight is that abuse? When two opponents face off against each other accepting the rules of the fight in this fictional work is that abuse? It is so absolutely absurd that all violent is being conflated with abuse in these stories and by god the male characters better not fight (and hit) any women cause then clearly they are abusers and not feminists.

The other absurd thing about this is that feminism is against all abuse on all persons. It’s not about giving female abuse victims special treatment and people seem to think it is just because it just so happens that most abusers tend to be men and as a result, there are a lot of organizations that cater to female victims. But by god, this is clearly an example of feminism favouring women and wanting to put them on a pedestal and not a systemic problem for our society with its roots in how boys are brought up versus girls. No that’s just crazy talk. See, I do think part of this stems from the fact that feminism comes from the word feminine and began as a political movement for equal rights for women in the law. Now that the law isn’t blatantly writing off women (for the most part), feminism has changed it’s target to a less tangible entity known as society and social norms and expectations. It’s also a much more splintered movement now with two feminists rarely agreeing on every single issue. (Just a quick example: feminists don’t all agree on whether pornography is always wrong). So people who don’t really try and do more academic research about what feminism is about, tend to automatically link the movement exclusively to women’s issues. This coupled with the prevalent sentiment that women are already equal to men (since there is no overt discrimination), makes a lot of people dismiss the movement as trying to somehow improve women’s situation over men’s. And this is exactly what is happening in this throw away dialogue on this page of Flame of Recca. The implicit idea here is that being a feminist involves somehow treating women with extra care than men. And funny enough, this is actually sexist not feminist. Treating women like they are all, by their nature as women, weaker and should be given special treatment is something that doesn’t stem from feminism but patriarchy. After all, wasn’t the very idea that a woman has a delicate constitution around long before feminism even existed? Wasn’t it called gallantry? The only thing feminism ever stated is that abuse (hurting someone who clearly does not want to fight) is wrong always and that due to social norms and economic realities, women, in particular, are at risk of abuse, so we should help them. Note the idea is never ever that all women are in need of help because they are women, but that someone in trouble deserves to be helped, and unfortunately, due to the realities of our society, the most vulnerable group is women. It’s a subtle but very important difference.

What amazes me is how such seemingly unimportant throw away dialogue can show us such a profound look into how particular societies view certain things. And in this particular respect, I do not think Japan and North America are at all dissimilar. This sort of sentiment is something I’ve seen a lot in my own culture, and have come across in Japanese media before; and that is probably why I was able to grasp the underlying message in this little bit of dialogue. How do you feel about this piece of dialogue? Agree? Disagree?

–SW

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