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HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#1 | Back to Top03-25-2008 08:42:10 PM

dollface
Postmistress Elf of Subtext
From: North Carolina
Registered: 11-17-2006
Posts: 5086
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The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

So, I've rumaged through the SKU treads today, and I haven't seen something quite like this... but if you think it's similar enough to be deleted, go for it.

We've all had thoughts on the gender roles in SKU in relation to feminism-- but I've found some points to be quite the contrary. In the characters of Touga and Kozue I've seen a not-so-subtle impression that the social norm has left on men and women.

Let us begin with Touga. Although the term 'Playboy' is used with many different meanings throughout the series, it's safe to say that among most of the girls, what Touga does isn't so bad. Not only are woman attracted to his confidence and romantic lifestyle, but it seems that the attraction is only amplified by the gaggle of girls wagging their tails for him. Perhaps it is the nature to be competitive, or, as cliche as it sounds, the appeal of something everyone else wants; but regardless of the reason, even though Utena and Wakaba protest to his ways, the average Ohtori female student can't resist how charming Touga is. There are a few scenes in Nanami's Akio Arc episodes where various girls scourn him for fooling around with other girls. One calls him on the phone, shrieking about how he must be with another girl. But within the same timeframe, another girl calls, asking why he never showed up for their date, having cooked dinner herself and waited for him all night long. Even with this obvious gesture of disinterest, she still tells him that she forgives him, and begs him to simply speak to her. Even though this girl had done everything right, going out of her way to suit his needs, she still saddles herself with guilt, as though he blew her off because she has done something wrong. Why? Does she really think so little of herself, or is she simply driven to hold onto whatever piece of him she can get her hands on? Immediately, I think of Nanami's croonies abusing Anthy for "what she did" to Saionji. Although this scene was set up by Nanami, the very image is still one to consider. If one fangirl let Touga go, would a million rush to smack her around? How dare she blame him! Or would they simply look down on how foolish she is? Even if the common factor is a guy, a girl will always search for something she can share, something she can use to fit in with the rest. If she were to shove off blame on him, if she were to act on her own and say that he was wrong, there is very little doubt to me that she would be shunned by the rest of the girls.

Take this shot for example:
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d51/trueutenafan/Utena/Series_ep31_045.jpg
Not a single one of those girls seem to be bothered in the least by the swarm they exist in. They work together to serve Touga, in their own strange way.

Or, a better example, this shot:
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d51/trueutenafan/Utena/Series_ep31_009.jpg
Even though Touga is speaking on the phone with another girl, claiming that she is his one and only, the girl he is already with seems overjoyed. So much so that it makes you wonder if perhaps she feels superior, that she is given this special chance to be alone with Touga. Even though it is short-lived, right now, she is the victor.

All things considered, what Touga does only seems flawed in the eyes of characters like Utena, who have high ideals, or Wakaba, a token example of the Saionji fangirl. The rest of the girls are dying to be with him, to be given their shot at the prize, and they'll put up with as many other women as it takes. He caters to each one individually, and takes time to sugar each one to the best of his ability. In the eyes of most, he is a romantic.

On the flipside of this, we have our "female Touga", Kozue. From her very first appearance, she is painted as sleazy, a girl with very few morals. Her entire Black Rose episode revolves around how her actions have dirtied her, how she has ruined her reputation for Miki. The fandom, while not extremely critical of her, doesn't view her actions in quite the same way as Touga's. She is seen as a whore, and she is identified with terms such as "slutty" or "lose" far more than anything relating to her darker internal conflicts. Although there is a much deeper reasoning behind her actions, she is still made out to be desperate for attention from people other than Miki. Even after the revolution, though her brief moment on screen hints at a much calmer, slightly more reserved Kozue, most of us still imagine that "old habits" die hard, and she will still leave herself available to every man in Ohtori. Being open and daring may be part of her personality, but her sexual encounters were not simply for her own pleasure. Kozue is never seen to have many female friends; she is seen with a girl before her character was really explained well, in episode 5, playing the piano rather sloppily. This is the closest she ever actually appears to having a friend. Later on, two girls approach her at the pool, inquiring about her love life and Miki. Although they aren't rude to her, their tone compared to her own hardly makes it seem as though they are friends. They know of each other, if nothing more. Finally, she is seen with Nanami late at night, if only for a brief moment. She is interupted while listening to Miki play piano. The scene makes it seem as though she is aware of the way she appears to other women.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d51/trueutenafan/Utena%20Kozue%20Kaoru/Series_ep26_095.jpg
Before Nanami approaches, she looks extremely placid and vaguely sorrowful as Miki plays their melody.

As another approaches, she instantly switches to this:
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d51/trueutenafan/Utena%20Kozue%20Kaoru/Series_ep26_099.jpg
A smug, eager exression, inviting to some while selectively challenging to others. Nanami falls under the spectrum of people she may be offering a daring challenge to. It is certainly not a welcome one, judging by Nanami's reaction. I feel that Kozue anticipated this.

Just like the real world, women naturally reject "bad company". This is generally accpeted by these girls, as they usually state that they get along much better with men anyway. But there's something strange... Kozue isn't seen with very many men, either. In fact, each time she is seen with one, it is to goad Miki on; from her encounter with Touga to her date with Akio, right down to the random boy Kozue shares a short conversation with while Miki stands by. Never is she seen to have a gaggle of boys around her. Although, who can blame them? Even though Touga can hold a flock of fangirls at any given time, the worst one could recieve is a warning of what a playboy he is from a girl who has already been through the system. With Kozue, the boys would be wise to keep their affairs on the sly. There is no reason to brag about fucking the same girl every other guy has. What merit is there in bedding a slut, right? She could have diseases, right? Even though men are generally much quicker to brag about their run-ins, in this particular case, it's understandable why they would not want to mention what happened with Kozue behind closed doors. And for Kozue, this fact is accpeted, but shameful. The entire first half of her Black Rose elevator scene focused on how horrible she is. The speech was self-depreciating, and I had a strong urge to reach out and offer Kozue some comfort. The entire world has looked down upon her actions, and she will never be able to gain a lover who will appreaciate her with the reputation she has earned.

All in all, what Kozue does is seen as shameful and disgusting. To the market she appeals to (men) she is nothing more than an object, and certainly not someone whose attention should be fought for. In the eyes of most, she is nothing more than a whore.

You've seen the pattern, right? The actions of these two characters mirror each other, and certainly neither should be more justifiable. And yet, simply based on the gender roles set by society, they have been blindly set into catagories. Although Touga may sometimes be called a "man-whore" or some other joking expression, he is rarely ever seen in the same light as Kozue. Even without the backstory of the characters or their fans, just think about the way we see the people around us. A male who can handle more than one girl is a Ladies Man, and to other guys, he's a hero. A female who can handle more than one guy is just easy, and to other girls, she's a slut. Even though Touga and Kozue were given a scene following up sex (or maybe just strip poker, who knows?), there has never been an implication of shame on Touga's part, though Kozue is constantly stressed over every different partner she has.

Thoughts, opinions? I've had this idea buzzing for a while, but I can't say that I've covered every base or every interpretation.


ah, man does not exist; ah, within the darkness; ah, the sound of the waves

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#2 | Back to Top03-25-2008 08:55:28 PM

BioKraze
Faceless Master
From: Yuma, Arizona (USA)
Registered: 11-26-2006
Posts: 8280

Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Have you considered writing this as an essay for EM's analysis section, dollface? I mean, DAMN. You seem to have made a very colourful representation of Touga and Kozue's behaviours in the series.

You win poptartpoptartpoptartpoptartpoptart for this. emot-keke


Roses have thorns to stop those who would dare deny their right to live.
Razara's Postulate: For every lover of lesbians out there, there is an equal and opposite attraction to Dippin' Dots.

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#3 | Back to Top03-25-2008 09:16:58 PM

Stormcrow
Magical Flying Moron
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 04-24-2007
Posts: 5971
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

I don't really have much to add, I think you covered everything pretty thoroughly. This dichotomy (hypocrisy, actually) is part of why I have so much animus toward the male gender. It's true that women do their part in reinforcing it, but it's hard to blame women for something like this. I mean, if you could choose to either have as many sex partners as you like and be applauded, or be pilloried for sleeping with someone casually, which way would you rather have it?

I've heard quite a few women complain about this double standard, and have even been asked by a woman I was seeing if she was a "bad girl" for fooling around with me. She was seriously worried too! I didn't know how to allay her concerns and still don't.


"The devil want me as is, but god he want more."
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#4 | Back to Top03-25-2008 10:42:45 PM

MissMocha
Bettie Page Princess
From: Tallahassee, Fl
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 4632

Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Part  of me wonders if this is something directly intentional on Ikuhara's part, but moreover, I wonder if it's cultural. Anime has always been considered something "dirty" esp when it was more of an underground thing. Series like Ranma 1/2 were seen as kids shows, and yet, for kids in america it was edited to death -because kids can't handle bewbz, omg. Think about when anime was just starting to hit the mainstream here. Did anyone watch the original horrible Sailor moon dubs? With Sailor Says (don't let anyone fool you, that's the hardcore shit)? Remember how Usas skirts were edited to be longer? Panty shots were gone, and don't forget later in the show's run -cousins? And Gundam Wing was interesting. The God of Death became The Great Destroyer.

Anyway.

I think what I'm trying to get at is that we read things so different, culturally. I wonder sometimes if there are things lost in translation. We read Utena as a study in gender identity, but so often we place our western views on it. What about japanese views of gender issues? Is this something that's an issue here, but not there? I see what dollface is saying, and I agree, I think there is a portrayal of Kozue and Touga that is radically different and very much the same, but what I wonder is if it's intentional on Ikuhara's part -that he wants you, on a second or third viewing, to say "omg, wait! they're the same! red and blue combined are purple! they're two halves of the same coin! they're both akio! but they're treated so differently!" or whatever your epiphany is. OR is it a shocking display of his own gender discriminations (although I wonder if that's too harsh a choice of words)? I like to think it's the former. I like to think there's nothing un-intentional about utena, especially an issue like this.  I like to believe that we, as fans of a phenomnally twisted series aren't over reading things.

Especially an issue like this. The whore/stud double standard is something so prevelant in society -again, at least western society as far as I know. I don't pretend to be an expert on anything, certainly a foreign culture least of all. I can't believe that Ikuhara would sit down, plan out this great opus about self discovery, peer acceptance, sexuality and HEY GENDER STEREOTYPES OMGZ without addressing that particular one. I mean... how can you not, when it's one of the biggest double standards in the sexual book?

As for Kozue and Touga.... part of it, is that women, are, generally more emotional. For a girl to provide emotional support to a guy (Tougas Horde) is something that most women find rewarding. Think about how often a girl says she wants a man that's emotionally open. Think about how many times movies and other media deisgned to attract women have emotional, sensative male leads. Women (as they are portrayed) want a man that is emotionall open, and that they can be emotionally open to. Touga presents this ideal. Sure, he's a playboy, but he's a sensitive one. He makes girls feel special, and feeling special often equates to emotionally open. And then, let's see, what do all young girls in love do? They project. They project thier feelings and assume that because they're in love, and because he's so wonderful, they must be special, and he must be genuine because how could someone be that wonderful when they don't mean it? People see small acts as bigger then they are, and sometimes bigger acts that are impersonal, as meaningful when they're not -they see what they want to see. What would you rather have -3 dozen red roses or oh, I dunno, a small bouquet of your favorite flower (if it happens to be roses, well, whatever, you know what I mean)? Now, I'm not saying this is 100 Percent True Of Everyone and Everything. I'm saying this is what you typically see.

So women see Touga as emotionally available because they project that desire on him, and believe that because they're good to him, he's good to them. Make sense?

I'll probably write more about Kozue, but at the moemnt, I have fires to go put out. Fun fun fun.


The first time you looked at her curves you were hooked
And the glances you took, took hold of you and demanded that you stay
And sunk in their teeth, bit your heart and released
Such a charge that you need another touch, another taste, another fix

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#5 | Back to Top03-26-2008 12:55:08 AM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Wow. etc-loveetc-loveetc-love I etc-wankgirl to your analysis. emot-biggrin

But yeah, I find this very interesting, and it's something that I always wondered about. I think you're fairly on the ball with why the girls don't seem to mind the fact every other girl in Ohtori wants Touga (and probably gets him); it's a matter of "victory," having your shot at something in the hopes you're the one who gets to keep him. I don't doubt many of those girls believe they're the one who will "change" him, that they'll be the one he singles out and keeps close by his side forever. Which I assume ties rather neatly into the SKU idea of "the special people." And actually, it reflects back on Nanami's struggle with her self-identity later in the series, because as far as I'm concerned Nanami never consciously sexualised her relationship with her brother until she thought they weren't related -- and she did it because it was the only way she could feel his equal, and yet she couldn't deal with it at all. And I'm going off on a tangent here. Suffice it to say, Touga's appeal lies in his elevated status, and the girls will do anything to get there because that's how they see the other girls doing it. (Which is why Nanami did it earlier in the series, I think; she was emulating her brother to some degree, given he oozes sexuality and command. She just went overboard and tended to reflect it back to him. When she had a better idea of it after her final duel, she tended to shy away from it. I etc-love Nanami. Does it show much? emot-tongue)

Actually, I'm thinking a lot of Henvry VIII here -- he had mistresses left right and centre AND married six times. He divorced the first to death, beheaded the second, allowed the third to die in childbirth, divorced the fourth, beheaded the fifth and died before he could get around to executing the sixth -- and yet women loved him. Wanted him. Probably because of his power, partly, but he was apparently an attractive man in his youth. I sort of see Touga the same -- he's Student Council President and ergo, above a lot of judgement. He makes the rules, he doesn't need to abide by them. Kozue, on the other hand, is much lower down the scale. Although I wouldn't say she'd be much more admired even if she was President herself.

I also wonder if Kozue would look quite so bad if she wasn't Miki's opposite -- he's "pure," she's "dirty." And she's also making herself that way BECAUSE of him. Not because she wants it. Does that colour anyone's view of her? I don't know. In some ways it's more understandable, if she's doing it because of her brother, but then if she was doing it solely in the pursuit of pleasure at least it would be for herself. But yeah. Massive double standard. I've never been a fan of either character, actually. But that doesn't make them any less fascinating, particularly in regards to each other.


It takes forty-seven New Zealanders eight months to make just one batch of 42 Below Vodka. ...luckily, that leaves one of us free to be Prime Minister.

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#6 | Back to Top03-26-2008 01:38:00 AM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8731
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

God dammit dollface, I love you. Also glad to see the gallery being put through its paces. emot-biggrin

dollface, you seem to be calling out their clientele, as it were, as much as the whores in question, and that's a major point to me. I would add to wonder if part of the reason they seem to forgive Touga a bit is because it looks to me like his behavior works better for him than Kozue's works for her. Touga wants to be wanted, needed even, without any risk to himself. By doing things this way he's needed by many women, but because he distributes his attention so much, he's never around any one long enough for them to be able to dig deeper, to where his shell is thinner. And by making it all so easy, he ensures his opinion of these women is never high enough that he'd value one enough to let them try. It is, for him, quite efficient at obtaining at least his shallower ends, if not his deep down needs. On the flipside, Kozue's behavior seems more personally destructive. Where she whores around for Miki's attention, she succeeds in getting it in only a limited way, and it's not truly the way she wants it to be. She wants him to tell her to stop because he can't stand it, but he doesn't. Where she might be motivated by a need to feel wanted, she probably fares a bit better, but her men pretty obviously only want her body. Touga's women seem to want a great deal more from him, even when they accept they won't get it.

As for the cultural divide, I would say in this case it's not so deep that we can't approach things as a gender double standard commentary here. Historically Japan is even harder on its women this way than most western countries.


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
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#7 | Back to Top03-26-2008 06:15:22 AM

Coco Melancholy
Framed Landscaper
Registered: 06-04-2007
Posts: 415

Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Strange this because my personal expierence with Kozue and Touga have been quite different.

When I first saw Kozue I felt sorry for her and I thought that Miki was being too hard on her, I also found her character to be scary as fuck O.o. But never slutty just kinda sexualized. I showed my friend some episodes and the first words out of her mouth were, "so, what? She's doing all that because of her brother?", *I nod* "that's kinda twisted man", *watches some more, get to scene when Miki's carrying Kozue* "awww, she just wants her brother, why's he being that way for man?" Another friend I showed said with complete certainly, (I think I mentioned this before), "how do you know, she can probably play the piano but you know how people are when they don't have any confidence or anything, that's why she does that in it".

Than again we're all girls so our first impressions might be coloured by our sex/gender.

I didn't much notice Touga watching the series sadly, I even had a greater interest in Saionji (please don't hate me) than Touga since the student council presidents intentions and actions always felt so much more hollower than the other characters, (even Akio). Where as Kozue's actions seemed to stem from a deeper place, or greater turmoil.


Anyway that was a brilliant essay!!! And yea shocking if it hasn't been mentioned.

The reaction of a lot of fans to Touga and Kozue could be the lack of exsisting terminology to label Touga and Kozue with, I mean, we have to INVENT derogatory words for Touga....come on...man whore? Where as all the vocabulary is ready and available to apply to Kozue. One might believe that Kozue is a sad individual who's only means of retaining a form of contact with her brother is through sexual behaviour with other boys, but sadly, the name for a girl in a lot of cultures who has sexual relations with a number of boys is "slut", despite the reasons behind it.

It's interesting to note that most of today's lanaguages have been translated by men. And that as fun as promiscuirty can be, men can't get pregnant, poor things?? That is a problem since when it comes to passing your wealth and property on, how the hell are you going to know if its your real son your giving it to, or some man-whore (I love that word) she's been sleeping around with, (okay blood tests didn't exsist a long long time ago I'm sure). Ta-da! Marriage. The woman marries you and wears a ring that tells other men she's already your property, that way when she gives birth to your child you KNOW for sure it's yours, and if another man touches your property (which I believe rape to originally mean) than yea you can do him for rape. And just in case she gets any idea's lets bombard culture and language with lots of sexism so that if she tries anything she'll be labelled a whrore and no one will want her.

You know what I'm just rambling and have no clue what I'm talking about.

Never thought about Kozue and Touga's hair colour before or Henry VIII. And just read Gio's comment, which just blew my mind. Very true, the intention and effects of the characters actions probably give Touga a better gleam than Kozue.

p.s yes, nanami does rule....

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#8 | Back to Top03-26-2008 07:48:10 AM

Adrasteia
Memorial Hollerer
From: Newfoundland, Canada
Registered: 11-15-2007
Posts: 694
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

I don't have much to add, besides 'wow'. Excellent analysis, and you nailed the essence of the characters. Although I personally never held Touga in any higher regard than Kozue, you're definitely right in implying that the general population at Ohtori viewed them each in a different light.

I'd love to see your Prince/Whore analysis on other characters as well, as it seems like many of the SKU cast, in one way or another, fit into one of these catagories. More specifically, how do you feel about Anthy in the Prince/Whore scenario? emot-tongue She is quite literally the 'whore', in being labeled as the submissive role of a 'bride' and traded amongst the characters as an object(the movie in particular exploits the sexual side of the Rose Bride). Anthy is also sexually involved with the other 'Prince' of the series, another man who is held in extremely high regard in the series.

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#9 | Back to Top03-26-2008 08:43:10 AM

OnlyInThisLight
KING OF ALL DUCKS
Registered: 01-15-2008
Posts: 4411

Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Just popping in to say you all rock and this thread warrants many poptartpoptartpoptartpoptart

I'll post something more intellegent while I'm not in class.

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#10 | Back to Top03-26-2008 09:18:00 AM

Anthiena
Egghead
From: ...the space between your ears
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1107

Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

The personalities behind the whoring around are also different. It's as much culture bias as it is personality, perspective and motive. Let's take a good look at why it might be that Touga and Kozue is percieved differently for the same thing:

Class
Touga exudes class. He may not have been born to riches, but he sure does seem rather comfortable with them, even if it's a cold comfort. Many rich and powerful men have mistresses... but powerful women take lovers, too. Mrs. Ohtori isn't demonized in the least for her liason with Akio, though the circumstances behind it are far more disturbing. Not many seem to care in the least that it isn't the first 'screw up' or the fact that Akio may not be her only lover. (Which is probable IMHO)

So why does this matter for Kozue? No matter how 'high-class' a callgirl is supposed to be, she is still a callgirl.

Unlike Touga, Kozue doesn't seem the type to be satisfied with just riches. She wants to do more than be the layabout rich and seems to want a quiet life. Screw the riches with her... thus, people tend to forget the fact that she is supposed to be obscenely rich, 'she's the black sheep anyway'.

What is given?
As noted above, Touga gives a sort of special feeling to the girls. He wants and needs their attention and gets it as much as he can. Kozue on the otherhand, doesn't really need them, she is using them for an end. She doesn't really want them for them, either. Just as you know the whore is entirely conditional to what you've got in your wallet, men know that Kozue is conditional and you can never hope or even entertain the hope of having anything but a fling with her. She will be gone with a shred of your dignity and that's an insult not a lot of men can take. At least Touga wants YOU for the moment, not thinking of someone else.

Jealousy
Men can become jealous, but only if they percieve something to be theirs on the main part. Women and girls are often seem as more viscous to each other, while men seem to be able to relax around each other better. It is for a reason perhaps: A man can barely be held responsible for himself, where a woman is held to be an example of her gender... where far fewer women care to judge an entire gender, they want to believe the man they care about to be different somehow, or that this time it'll be different, which is probably why a lot more spousal abuse is visited upon women than men. Besides, women are held to be servile, supposed to be the Bride, where men can be proactive.

Touga is yours, even for a moment, but Kozue is never the possession of anyone. She won't even give the illusion that Touga gives.

Shame/Esteem
Touga feels no shame on what he does, but Kozue does it to inflict shame upon herself. She's the sort to be anorexic. He is not. She has no good opinion of herself, but she wants it that way-if twins are really connected, maybe she can help him out by making herself the 'evil twin'. How can both twins be evil, she reasons.

Touga also wears his flock as a badge of honor. They will always come back, ready to love him, where it is unlikely that men come back to Kozue. He is shiny bright, he will save you, Kozue is trying to wreck herself, watch yourself so she doesn't wreck you.

Motive
Their motives are different as well. He uses the girls to feel love in a non-threatening way, so he doesn't have to be committed like he was to his parents and they let him down. Kozue was also let down, but she uses her conquests to hurt and shame, not directly out of love.


I stopped seeking to be sought after. That wasn't being true to myself.
I want to become someone who can exercise power. I want to become a prince. - Ikuni

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#11 | Back to Top03-26-2008 09:49:23 AM

Stormcrow
Magical Flying Moron
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 04-24-2007
Posts: 5971
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

I react to the characters in much the same way as Coco's friends. Saionji I sympathize with a little, but Touga...Touga I pretty much despise. Because he's such a user. Kozue on the other hand, while she's a little screwed up, I really feel for her. People can talk all they like about Touga's inner torment, but a lot of that is interpretation, you don't actually see very much of it. Kozue on the other hand is kind of raw that way.

Along the vein of this discussion, I wonder if I feel more sympathy for Kozue because she's a girl. And because it's clear in the show that she's kind of an outcast. On the other hand, the show really plays up how everyone admires Touga and applauds him...

In any event, I know that my fondness for Kozue is part of why I dislike Miki. He's too hard on her.


"The devil want me as is, but god he want more."
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#12 | Back to Top03-26-2008 01:22:02 PM

dollface
Postmistress Elf of Subtext
From: North Carolina
Registered: 11-17-2006
Posts: 5086
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

I agree with you, Coco and Stormcrow. I've always been a Saionji fan, although that isn't much better. He isn't sexualized in the same light as Touga, but he does have a great deal of fangirls. Saionji and Touga both come off as very strong, independent men. The difference shows more when they are shown side by side, in a kendo match. The girls never see Touga falter, and he can remain calm and confident. Saionji, however, will let his emotions show, reeling in a whole new type of girl-- The Fixer-Upper Girl. Terrible name, right? I'll think of something better some other time. Anyway, to these girls, he is obviously broken, and their first maternal instinct is to take care of him, to pamper him. As Clarice mentioned, most girls do think that they will be the girl to "change" a man. But while they may try to change Touga, it hits a very different chord for the girls trying to save Saionji. Wakaba is a perfect example of this. Utena even mentions in the series that Wakaba acts very much like a housewife, and this couldn't be more true. She needs someone like Saionji just as much, if not more, than he needs her. But, regardless of the boy, the end result is the same. Saionji isn't as dumb as Utena may think he is, and he knows how easily he can get away with using these girls. (Now, I don't mean to imply that he simply 'used' Wakaba, but I don't think he ever felt for her the way she felt for him. But I do think he trusted and respected her, and the gesture of the hair clip wasn't just for show. But that might just be me digging for a soft side.)

Anyway, that's completely off topic. Thank you all so much. etc-love emot-redface I guess this didn't come out as bad as I thought it did.

Adrasteia wrote:

I'd love to see your Prince/Whore analysis on other characters as well, as it seems like many of the SKU cast, in one way or another, fit into one of these catagories. More specifically, how do you feel about Anthy in the Prince/Whore scenario?  She is quite literally the 'whore', in being labeled as the submissive role of a 'bride' and traded amongst the characters as an object(the movie in particular exploits the sexual side of the Rose Bride). Anthy is also sexually involved with the other 'Prince' of the series, another man who is held in extremely high regard in the series.

It's funny that you'd mention that, because this thread was originally about Touga in relation to Kozue and Akio in relation to Anthy. I ran out of time to type this though, so I deleted the line about Akio and Anthy and just left it with the other two.

I've actually heard Anthy described in similar terms to Kozue, though not exactly with the same thought behind them. Anthy is passed around, and it's questionable whether she has sexual relationships among the vicotrs. But it's not out of the realm of possibility. Although Akio and Anthy are involved, she is painted in a far worse light than he is. Even after all his sexual conquests, Akio is still a "Prince", in a loose sense. For Utena, he managed it for a little while, and for Anthy, he remained one until the very end, in a strange way. Of course they were both aware of how their relationship had changed, but they kept the act up until the very end. I think that Anthy may have had hope that he could still be her prince, but I'm constantly changing my mind about that. Regardless, Anthy was pulled away from her role as a Princess and forced into the role of a Witch. Outside of Disney, Witches can often be painted as somewhat whore-ish characters, and in the past, the first women to be put on trial were generally the street walkers (well, that is more or less correct). As odd as it sounds, I think that the idea of Dios saving women and making them into Princesses transfered over into Akio. And, in modern times, there aren't dragons to slay. However, there are inner struggles, and though most of us can agree that he does what he does for personal satisfaction, the "love" that he is offering these women is a way to save them. It saves them from their own inner demons (albiet creating a few more) and promises them something better than what they have now, something special. To be a Princess, in a sense. So, although Akio's actions are a little twisted, he can still be established as a Princely figure to those fortunate enough to catch his eye, momentarily. If it weren't enough, the double standard that we've already established about his gender can redeem him in almost any situation. Anthy is not so fortunate. This applies to an even stronger (and more literal) degree in the movie. Almost all fans have had a half-serious, half-joke about movie-Anthy, "The Whore". Her willingness to be passed about in both versions of her character portray her openly and submissive, but subconciously as something pertaining to a whore. Although it is not her choice, she does not object to it. In the movie, she is very open about her sexuality, and her scene with Utena keys us in that she is aware of the power sex can hold over people. Although Akio and Anthy have both been seen playing this game of power, the flagrant disregard for female expectations turn Anthy's choices into something dirty. It can also be a play on the dominant-submissive stereotype. Generally someone who is passive would not flaunt their desires nor initiate physical contact. In the movie, Anthy was completely switched from  passive-agressive and submissive to dominant. This isn't to say that she is any stronger or more assertive, but that she is capable of taking the lead and acting the way she needs to in order to get what she wants from Utena. However, series-Anthy falls into the same "Prince/Whore" idea, but in a different way.

I might elaborate more on that later, as it isn't very clear.

Last edited by dollface (03-26-2008 01:26:00 PM)


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#13 | Back to Top03-26-2008 07:33:54 PM

Giovanna
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Anthiena wrote:

At least Touga wants YOU for the moment, not thinking of someone else.

And yet the series repeatedly gives us examples of girls being fully aware of his splitting attention 90 million ways. The girl he's making out with seems amused he's proclaiming his faithfulness to the one on the phone. At one point Nanami picks up and the girl goes 'ohohhhh, another girl there?'

Why is it he seems to be classy while Kozue is cheap and tawdry? They're both whores after all, but Touga's quite in your face, behaving this way in very public places. Whenever we see Kozue whoring it up, it's at night, in dark corners, and quiet rooms. I suspect this might come back to the shame thing you mentioned. Touga's proud of himself. Kozue is not.


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#14 | Back to Top03-26-2008 08:47:46 PM

Stormcrow
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Giovanna wrote:

Touga's proud of himself. Kozue is not.

This kind of sums up why I feel for Kozue and not Touga. Kozue is victimizing herself, but she still ends up a victim. Touga is just taking advantage of everyone else, while Kozue is taking advantage of herself.


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#15 | Back to Top03-26-2008 09:51:50 PM

Giovanna
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Does that not suggest a void in one that might not be so great a fault in the other? school-sherlock


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#16 | Back to Top03-27-2008 01:19:35 AM

Clarice
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

dollface wrote:

I might elaborate more on that later, as it isn't very clear.

I hope you do, because I was following your train of thought quite happily there. I find it interesting that you mentioned how, traditionally, witches are quite sexualised; it's the Disney interpretation many of us got as children that means we sometimes forget that. But to go back to Henry VIII, who I mentioned above (I developed a fascination with the guy and his court while living in England; almost but not quite as bad as the Doctor Who thing!) -- his second wife, Anne Boleyn, eventually got her head lopped off. Mostly it was because he was pissed off at her for causing him to reform the church in order to marry her (not that he was terribly unhappy about it; sure it alienated most of Europe but boy did he make some dosh out of it), but it was also because she failed to give him a son. And in order to support his case for her execution, he labelled her a witch and said that she had seduced him by sorcery. This reminds me of Anthy, in a way, and then it goes back to Kozue -- the sexual power a woman has over a man is cast here in an unnatural light. When a woman is aggressive it is unnatural, and is for her own gains. Conversely, Henry VIII never really got into trouble over the fact he sexually exploited women, and Touga and Akio are the same. It's seen as quite natural for a man to use women to fulfill their sexual needs and gratify their ego...not to mention the "ideal" woman to both Touga and Akio was Utena, who seems to represent the virginal state. Which is how every man apparently wants their wife to be. As soon as a woman is sexually active, she's not wife material. It's a horrendous double standard, but as was pointed out before -- Kozue knows no man will want her on a permanent basis. Which makes me wonder a bit. If Kozue is into transient relationships that are all about a sexual desire rather than an emotional need, and that by being this "wild creature" she alienates herself from her peers so that no boy would concievably want her as a girlfriend for fear of being cuckolded (so to speak), why exactly does she do it? For Miki's attention? Or does she think that if she is never seen as "girlfriend" material, she will always be able to stay close to her brother instead of being some less worthy man's wife?

...and that reminds me of Akio and Anthy too. Anthy "dirtied" her princely brother in order that no-one else could have him. Kozue seems to "sully" herself instead -- because I'm sure it's said at some point in the series (or is it just the movie?) that she's overprotective of her brother and girls shy away from him because of it. Kozue and Anthy are both characterised as "whores" to some degree because of their unusual sexuality and apparent promiscuity (as dollface said, in Anthy's case that's really only obvious in the movie). And yet...both do it for apparently noble reasons. And are not respected for it. Whereas Touga and Akio apparently do it for kicks and it's assumed to be a natural male function. I'm not a feminist by any stretch of the imagination, but topics like this make me want to be. ^_________^


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#17 | Back to Top03-27-2008 04:54:20 AM

Coco Melancholy
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Clarice wrote:

...and that reminds me of Akio and Anthy too. Anthy "dirtied" her princely brother in order that no-one else could have him. Kozue seems to "sully" herself instead -- because I'm sure it's said at some point in the series (or is it just the movie?) that she's overprotective of her brother and girls shy away from him because of it. Kozue and Anthy are both characterised as "whores" to some degree because of their unusual sexuality and apparent promiscuity (as dollface said, in Anthy's case that's really only obvious in the movie). And yet...both do it for apparently noble reasons. And are not respected for it. Whereas Touga and Akio apparently do it for kicks and it's assumed to be a natural male function. I'm not a feminist by any stretch of the imagination, but topics like this make me want to be. ^_________^

In a nutshell you clarified a point that I couldn't even begin to form words on let alone type out that fluently. And I think it is the intentions and sacrafices the women make that evoke sympathy from me and my friends. Whereas the guys actions are similarly sexual, the reasons behind them are so much more hollow and self-serving.

I have no idea why I'm throwing this thought in here, but ever since I watched Utena it hasn't left me alone, and maybe it can if you squint reaaaally really hard, be fitted into this topic.

I always found Utena's reaction to Akio and Anthy sleeping together very odd. I understand the emotional shock and being in too deep and so on. But my immediate reaction would be---especially if I thought Akio was some knowledgeable "dangerous" man as Utena put it, and Anthy was some helpless, airheaded individual who needed my protection--ARGGHHH he's some kind of abusive incestrous pyschopath!!! Poor Anthy's messed up and needs my help!

I was flabberghasted that Utena went out on a date to make Anthy jealous and then proceeded to believe that Anthy betrayed her, whilst happily--okay maybe not so happily--continuing her affair with Akio. Right up until the end, Mikage got knocked out for manipulating the black rose duelists but even after finding out that Akio was actually manipulating EVERYBODY she still looked quite ready to take him up on their offer to live together in the castle. O.o

I don't know if this is evidence that Utena had internalised these strange ideals herself or what was going on there. Especially ironic since she's supposed to an example of breaking from society's norm. (though breaking fro anything is debateable when hanging off of Akio's strings).

*shrugs* maybe princes can just do whatever they want and girls can't?



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#18 | Back to Top03-27-2008 08:56:14 AM

Stormcrow
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Clarice wrote:

If Kozue is into transient relationships that are all about a sexual desire rather than an emotional need, and that by being this "wild creature" she alienates herself from her peers so that no boy would concievably want her as a girlfriend for fear of being cuckolded (so to speak), why exactly does she do it? For Miki's attention? Or does she think that if she is never seen as "girlfriend" material, she will always be able to stay close to her brother instead of being some less worthy man's wife?

I think Kozue is also motivated by a profound inferiority complex. Everybody kind of admires Miki, he's smart, artistic, athletic and cute. But Kozue worships him. And to the extent that she idolizes him, she negates herself. She wants his attention certainly, and when she sleeps with men that certainly catches his eye, but it does something else. It reinforces the difference in moral worth that she feels exists between her and Miki. Someone mentioned that she was being the evil twin so he could be the good twin, and I agree. Every time someone calls her a whore, it validates her narrative of Miki as a saintly soul who has the misfortune of having this worthless, slutty sister. At the same time, it makes her an object of fear to others a little bit, since she lives outside of the norms they understand, which makes her "job" of protecting Miki easier. But mostly she tears herself down to build Miki up. And Miki plays right into that.emot-mad


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#19 | Back to Top03-27-2008 12:32:01 PM

Coco Melancholy
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

I totally agree. And just because I don't often pimp the thread, I present to you


Kozue and Touga

Edit: I edit it because they both point to Kozue THEN they both point to Touga. Psst. This thread isn't big enough for the both of them.

Last edited by Coco Melancholy (03-27-2008 12:41:04 PM)

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#20 | Back to Top03-27-2008 12:36:56 PM

Stormcrow
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Er, those both point to Touga.emot-tongue


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#21 | Back to Top03-27-2008 08:30:11 PM

Giovanna
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Stormcrow wrote:

I think Kozue is also motivated by a profound inferiority complex.

As is Touga, I think, albeit deeper down in the psychoanalysis. Still that's very true, Touga, that we know of, didn't have an example he failed to live up to. In that regard, Kozue has much more in common with Saionji. Especially since in both cases their behavior seems itself an open rebellion against the behaviors they're supposed to be emulating. Kozue insists on being the anti-Miki...and who could blame her? It's much easier to be the anti-Miki successfully than try to live up to that and fail. emot-frown

Miki's last duel always suggested to me that there's a seed, a possibility, of him changing his tune drastically over time. In that episode he's far more sexual, and there's a hint of aggression there, and since Miki already looks up to Touga, it makes me think that perhaps Miki's coming to a conclusion about life and about women. It's easier to take what immediately feels good than try to be loving and intimate. As we've said in this thread so far the show doesn't seem to mind Touga's whoring around so much, and if it's more critical of Akio's, that's for good reason. school-freud

It does strike me as the provenance of the adult/adultlike men in SKU to be whores. With exception to Saionji, the older a male character appears and behaves, the bigger a whore he is. Maybe it's just part of not being a prince anymore. The same gradient doesn't appear for the female characters. Whores are peppered across the ages there. However, it's Kozue that says you have to get your hands dirty to win the game, which reminds me of the outlook of your stereotypical female businessperson. To play the power games, that woman will wear a suit like a man, her body language will become more aggressive like a man's, her language less empathetic. Touga and Kozue have that in common. They're both trying to play the adult power games Akio personifies. It's just that suit fits a man more naturally. This history of feminism is a tragic tale of women wanting to have the power men have, and finding even if they're allowed through the door, it comes at the cost of having to play by men's rules. From what I understand this dynamic is a major problem in Japan, which latches a little harder to the honest sexism of this sort of thing, so perhaps it's not surprising based on that perspective that it's so much more forgiving to Touga.

I'm rambling. And gee look at that, Gio manages to worm the mention of suits into a sex thread. emot-redface


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
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#22 | Back to Top03-27-2008 09:34:53 PM

dollface
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Giovanna wrote:

I'm rambling. And gee look at that, Gio manages to worm the mention of suits into a sex thread. emot-redface

We were waiting for it. emot-wink Sex, suits, it's a ballpark hit. (Cerise is rubbing off on me.) Er, sorry... let me start over.

Giovanna wrote:

I'm rambling. And gee look at that, Gio manages to worm the mention of suits into a sex thread. emot-redface

But with good reason! I feel you've absolutely hit the nail on the head. Kozue is very much like a business woman in that she understands how to get to the top, and knows that she needed to give up a little part of herself to get there. The only issue is that Miki is what she wanted, and in this logic, that's what she gave up. This is what makes Kozue much more tragic than a business woman. And you're also very right in that Kozue is not demonized because the big bad media hates women, but because what she does, even though it is more understandable (and in my opinion, more forgivable), is so unnatural and rebelious towards the female role. Especially in traditional Japan, where women are not made into the fiesty little blode bombshells we have, but quiet and submissive dames who scrub the floors and massage their husband's feet. What is the term? A "yamato nadeshiko"? Anthy is the perfect representation of this in appearances, which is another fuel behind Kozue's anger. Not only does Miki have feelings for another girl, but it just had to be a girl like that. The kind of girl she showed promises of being in their childhood stages, but she gave up to try a different route. This is why I prefer the storyline of Miki and Anthy to Miki and Utena, because regardless of the intruding girl, I want to analyze Kozue, and with Anthy it is just so much more logical.

I have to wonder though, did this path truly seem easier to Kozue? As you put it Gio, succeeding in becoming something Miki despises is so much easier, and in a twisted way, safer, than attempting to live up to his expectations. But is that really why she did it? Both choices seem very painful to me. Always living in Miki's shadow, working vigilantly by his side, hoping that maybe he'd notice how hard she works, and find it in himself to love her. But, as Shiori demonstrates, love like that is easily twisted into pity. And, of course, we have our visible example of the path she did take-- nothing stops her from becoming the girl she imagined she would be, and she's almost guaranteed Miki's attention. But he never really reaches out to stop her the way she wants him to, and she watches as he falls for a girl that resembles herself so strongly... it obviously wasn't an enjoyable experience. I think Kozue got pretty boned (lol) by this deal. It's a double-edged blade. But, this does apply to most characters.

Anyway, the only useful thought I can draw from that is what makes Touga different from Kozue-- she thinks with her heart. Yes, Kozue is a smart girl, and as such, she must have realized the opposing factors in both choices. But, while logically one granted her much more of a chance to be loved purely by Miki, she couldn't beat the emotional strain it would leave, and while her mind could see that Miki loved her, her heart would doubt this, and I fear she could twist it into something that leaves her empty. The dirtier path provides a safety-net, in that Miki will always pay attention to her, he will always care about her well being. It's a real long shot though, to think that this concern could make him love her, and I'm sure she knew that. But it didn't matter how logical her plan was, it was something that kept her feeling safe, at least at the time. I can't really say if I think she regrets it or not, and I suppose that's alright, as one little opinion can't decide her character. But anyway, this is what divides Touga and Kozue. His emotions have never overruled his sexual affairs, save for perhaps his drive to be something better than what he is. But I don't think that the general emotions I'm talking about come into play until he is caught up with Utena, an affair with no sexual encounters. He uses strategy with these girls, and it is especially clear in contrast to Saionji that his head rules over his heart.

Last edited by dollface (03-27-2008 09:40:14 PM)


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#23 | Back to Top03-29-2008 01:44:12 PM

Giovanna
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Could we go so far as to say the series is making a gender distinction there? Kozue feels where Touga thinks.

You brought up Shiori. I've always kinda connected Kozue and Shiori, not in their personalities (obviously), but in where they fall on the situational scale, which is to say both are the thorn in the side of student council members that are manipulated to Akio's (and Mikage's) ends through them, and they're both in positions where they feel stupendously inferior to people that they care about. On one hand, they both want to be closer to these bright figures in their lives, on the other, their feelings of inferiority come out in ways very much destructive to that desire, and I think psychologically speaking, that's no mistake.

Go far back enough and Kozue and Shiori both had the opportunity to be closer to Miki and Juri than anyone else. Closest of siblings, bestest of friends. However they both chose to rebel against their own honest desire for that, perhaps realizing on some level that that idyllic image could never satisfy. The closer they stand to the light, the deeper the shadow they'll cast, and the dimmer they'll be in comparison. So both try to get the attention of their betters from afar, by somewhat similar means, although to slightly different effect.

To connect another pair, back before on the subject of the businesswoman metaphor, the other character that demands mention is Juri, since she, like Kozue, seems to be out there busting up the boy's club. However she seems to have no motivation to do so, and doesn't agree with Kozue's (more masculine, really) outlook on power and how to obtain it. It seems, sadly enough, to me a sign of Juri's confusion about her own sexuality. She has many fairly masculine traits, including a natural aggressiveness that makes her suitable for where she is, but it's not backed up by a desire for power that would make sense if she were really looking to be a player in the game. In a strange way, despite being the show's token 'dyke', I get the impression Kozue's ideals, outlooks, and behaviors are far more masculine than hers, as if all she's done is try to fit into a group based on a couple of her personality traits rather than examining the whole. In contrast, Miki aside, Kozue strikes me as someone that could very much pursue power for its own sake. This is where Kozue and Touga seem to me the most similar, with a slight twist. Touga wants power, and because power is the goal, enjoys the game. I think Kozue honestly enjoys the game, and because power is the goal, she wants power. Both are capable enough at the game to be able to view it and its spoils as part of the same objective, and I can't help but wonder if the reason Kozue chose this path is because, truthfully, it's more who she is, Miki notwithstanding.


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
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#24 | Back to Top03-30-2008 12:00:07 PM

SexingTouga24/7/365
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

So what would happen if when Miki got older and some how arrived at that the way to get Kozue to not want to fuck him was to just get it over with and fuck her? Kinda in the vein of some times if you get what you want then you will not want it any more.


"If all the world is a stage and all the people players"...then I demand a less shitty part or the ability to get off of the stage. Slowly my sanity slides, slipping, swirling, spiraling...Save Me I need Sleep...Shattering Soon. school-devil "RukaxTouga equals the Fourth of July" MY patriotic celebration...FUCK ME TOUGA AND RUKA NOW!! etc-wankgirl etc-wankdude

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#25 | Back to Top06-05-2009 04:44:58 PM

Charuru
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Registered: 06-05-2009
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Re: The Prince and The Whore-- Yikes, not another gender thread!

Great post, but I would have to disagree with the sentiment. While there is no doubt that a double standard exists in culture around this issue, I don't Touga/Kozue is a good example of it.

A year ago, I would've been nodding my head to this post. But since then I've read a lot more manga and experienced many more things in real life emot-keke. What I've seen are highly sexualized sluts who goes around with fanboys and girls, and extremely promiscuous women who are extremely popular and respected, and because of it. Want proof? Read NYMag's weekly sex diaries column, and its instructive comments.

A great manga with such a woman is Shoujo Sect, and there are numerous other manga with such characters as well. The difference there may be that they deal with the adult, real, world. Fairy tales and fantasy settings such as Utena, and especially its cloistered private school setting, may lend itself to moralizing. In my experience, which is certainly no sociological report, that people in the real world tend to be, if I would venture a generalization, less judgmental and more practical.

But that may be besides the point, I think the Touga/Kozue comparison may be inapt because of who they are, not their genders, but who they are as people. I think that people can smell Kozue's weakness, it probably doesn't take much to understand that she's 'acting out' in response to her pristinely competent twin, they know that her actions are based around her insecurity, and neediness. Just as they can smell Touga's supreme confidence, his attractiveness that's based just not on looks, but also on personality, power (student president), and obvious social standing.

In short, it's easy to tell that Touga is a great person (superficially at least), and that there's something *wrong with Kozue. Any 11 year old who goes around sleeping with highschoolers or men old enough to be her father has issues. Imagine this reversal for a change. Kozue is a 17 year old, tall, full bodied, physically attractive, wealthy student council president who sleeps with kohai boys.

Would she still get the same treatment?

Imagine if Touga, instead of sleeping with his adoring fangirls, sleeps with rich businesswomen who's old enough to be his mother. Would he still get the same treatment?

In short, what we have here is not a problem of a double standard, but a severely messed up 11 year old, who needs counseling, and not the type that Akio gives either. emot-biggrin

Last edited by Charuru (06-05-2009 04:52:46 PM)

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