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 Made Specifically to Empower Girls?

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RLinksoul
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PostSubject: Made Specifically to Empower Girls?   Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:08 pm

As a male viewer, an adult, and a Western viewer I feel I have little right to judge whether or not a magical girl show is empowering to its target audience, but I find myself rather curious about the origin of this mentality.

I see the phrase a lot, people saying that magical girl shows are made for the purpose of empowering young girls and inspiring them to achieve greatness. The question on my mind is... has it ever been stated by the creators of any given show that this was their intent?

Some say that's not at all the intention of creating these shows, particularly merchandise driven shows like Precure. 

And of course this isn't getting into shows that aren't targeted toward young girls, such as Kill la Kill and Madoka. People can find those empowering just fine, but they're clearly not intended for that.
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PostSubject: Re: Made Specifically to Empower Girls?   Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:24 am

The only series I can think off the top of my head is Sailor Moon, where Naoko specifically stated in interviews she wanted to create something beautiful & inspiring for her female readers.
And there are series where its obvious that same intent is there- Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, Shugo Chara, Sugar Sugar Rune - for example. But nothing in interviews of side notes mentioning that. (that I remember)

But the concept of the creator thinking "I want this work to empower girls" is, I think, a relatively modern thing. Older series were more focused on simply fun & entertaining girls before anything, maybe teach them a few life lessons and wisdom, not much else. Aside from maybe Majokko Megu and Mahou no Mako-chan, they didn't really challenge any gender roles or anything. 

Then you have good ol Poe's Law coming into effect in shows like Cutey Honey & Suki!Suki!! Majo-sensei where shonen-styled series empowered the ladies in the audience. of all the 60s & 70s majokko - Cutey Honey's actually more progressive than you'd think. 

And 80s cartoons, even magical girls, are pretty commercial, lets be honest ^^; Minky Momo though is a figure of having faith in your dreams, even when it doesn't look like it'll pull through. She's a character that gives inspiration to people of any sex.

So yeah, when people say "Magical Girls were made to empower young girls". I think they're really just talking about Sailor Moon. Cuz alot people think its the first magical girl show anyway. 

But on the other hand, people can find comfort and power in anything. Someone somewhere was empowered by Snow Fairy Sugar, I'm sure. Whether or not it was the creator's intent - it becomes irrelevant after a point.

But here's another thing. Some series made by women for women - can be INCREDIBLY sexist too. Meanwhile there are some male directors/creators that try to make content that's very positive for women (Junichi Sato, for example). So it really depends on the show in question - everything's different. Especially now that the genre's expanded so much since the 60s.

For me, as someone who likes to draw magical girl comics, when I think of concepts, one of my favorite pieces of advice is "think about why your story needs to be told - what do you want to tell your audience", so I usually think of messages that are important to me. And though I expect my audience to be women - I'd be overjoyed if anyone found something that gave them confidence.
------------

In any case. I think it's not fair to put the Magical Girl genre on this holy pillar of radiant light that can never do wrong. It's just a set of tropes at the end of the day. Sometimes people wanna write about a Girl who uses magic to kicks ass and stands up for her feelings. Sometimes you wanna write about a girl uses her powers to steal from orphans. Who cares, its fiction. 

Celebrate the things that make you happy. Celebrate the things that are good to you. But don't expect all of it to be what you want it to be.

It's not a club, its cartoons made by different people with different experiences from different time periods with different inspirations.
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PostSubject: Re: Made Specifically to Empower Girls?   Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:35 pm

@BunnyBelle wrote:

But here's another thing. Some series made by women for women - can be INCREDIBLY sexist too. 
 Yes! This!  Not just in anime, but I have a hard time explaining this concept to people (especially considering a certain movie that just came out

But whether or not that it the goal, I feel like people know when they are showing young girls kicking but, its empowering.  Maybe in some way that know that when they step into the genre.
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PostSubject: Re: Made Specifically to Empower Girls?   Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:46 pm

I read on another forum a member said that magical girl shows aren't made to empower girls. They never answered where they read that sadly. So I have no proof. 

But yeah I think magical girls shows are meant to do one thing. Sell toys. XD However that doesn't mean little girls can't feel empowered while watching Precure or some other show. 

As for me shows really don't empower me. It's just fiction and is there to entertain me. Nothing else. xD



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PostSubject: Re: Made Specifically to Empower Girls?   Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:51 pm

@Mew Ami wrote:
I read on another forum a member said that magical girl shows aren't made to empower girls. They never answered where they read that sadly. So I have no proof. 

But yeah I think magical girls shows are meant to do one thing. Sell toys. XD However that doesn't mean little girls can't feel empowered while watching Precure or some other show. 

These two points I want to highlight. I hate picking up information from Tumblr because 90% of the time there's someone who confirms that it's fake or wrong. That's part of why I made this thread because people always say that the genre was made for empowering young girls, but of course someone comes out of the woodwork saying it's not made for that. And then I realized that I've never seen a source from an actual creator of a MG work saying this.

And yea the toys thing. Precure especially seems to be dictated specifically by the marketing first, as they tend to do things like spoil the identities of new Cures in an attempt to get a new toy based on them out quickly.
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PostSubject: Re: Made Specifically to Empower Girls?   Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:57 pm

And the fact that Precure is only going is to keep selling toys. XD 

I mean I really didn't believe that person because they never provided an article. I also never believe anything on Tumblr without a proper source.



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PostSubject: Re: Made Specifically to Empower Girls?   Sat Jun 25, 2016 9:45 am

@BunnyBelle wrote:
The only series I can think off the top of my head is Sailor Moon, where Naoko specifically stated in interviews she wanted to create something beautiful & inspiring for her female readers.
 Everyone in the fandom keeps saying but even after sifting through many translated interviews i have not found any evidence that this is anything more then a fandom rumor. Please link me to where the specific interview can be found if it exists.

I doubt the magical girl series was made for the sole intent of empowering young girls and women. The first magical girl, Sally the Witch, was made in 1989, two years before Sailor Moon existed. It was made because the Western show "Bewitched" was popular with young Japanese girls and Toei wanted to cash in on it. Not to say that women can't empowered by the genre, but to claim that it was the genre's only purpose is a bit of a stretch. Very few content creators go out of their way to make an intentionally 'progressive' series.


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PostSubject: Re: Made Specifically to Empower Girls?   Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:57 pm

maybe... there is a lot of fanservice. I mean I can't deny that. but... Some parts of the anime can be empowering. I watched some when I was younger and they helped me to be inspired and feel empowered.

uh... this is my personal viewpoint...

Also, I don't know about any interviews but here is something interesting I found:

http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/80656188.html
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