Standing as a huge industry, the blatant sexism in almost all genres of anime is baffling. These Japanese animations are watched by children, teenagers, and sometimes even adults. Portrayals in anime are stereotypical and revolve around body standards for men and women. Considering this, one can question whether such ideas are appropriate.
Taking a cursory glance at one of the popular anime series during my childhood, Naruto, it is evident how all the female characters were expected to look a certain way and when they did not, they felt less of a woman. Not only this, but women were shown as the weak gender who almost always needed to be saved by the strong men.
Female characters are also represented as being too clingy, child-like, and running after the one man they like. These characters, such as Misa Amane from Death Note, are shown to be more friendly to people. On the other hand, characters like Mikasa Ackerman from Attack on Titans, who do not run after boys, are shown to be cold.
Anime is also setting standards for men, as they show the less muscular ones as more sensitive and feminine, while the buff guys are portrayed as more masculine. One example of this is Usopp from One Piece, and how his character was depicted as being overwhelmed by emotions when he was just a “scrawny boy”, and how he managed to overcome all that as he became “brawny man”.
We have to remember that media plays a significant role in developing meaning, and we cannot ignore the fact that the anime industry is promoting sexist body standards, feeding it to children and allowing it to shape their minds. From an early age, children can become wary of the way they look and it can lead to self-esteem issues. The audience of this type of media can also become numb to casual sexism and normalize it in everyday life.