This is a static copy of In the Rose Garden, which existed as the center of the western Utena fandom for years. Enjoy. :)

#26 | Back to Top06-17-2011 08:27:41 AM

Wakaba Wrangler
Registered: 06-11-2010
Posts: 10

Re: In defense of Shiori...

I agree wholeheartedly with KaleMarsh - in fact males tend to be demonized much more in fiction and are rarely given any realistic or deep reasons for their "evil" behaviors (they're often evil because they were like that from the start or like it more than being good) while women's case, most the time some outside force forced them to be "evil" - their heart got broken/they were abused in childhood/they suffer some mental illness (which of course is not of their fault).
Even in Utena, it's pretty much a given that Anthy became "evil" because of what other people did to her, thus she's just a poor victim. They are some fans who try to look deeper and suggest that maybe Anthy's own reasons for saving Dios were not so pure in the first place or maybe even her love for him was twisted or maybe her way of dealing with the mob was wrong (too aggressive) in the first place - but these are fairly rare points of view.
Which brings me to another problem  - why is that Anthy's actions toward Dios are perceived as that of a loving girl trying to help her loved one and sacrificing herself for him? Suppose we switched Anthy and Dios genders - what would you think of Anthy's actions then? I'm pretty sure most of people would write male-Anthy off as some kind of creepy molester/stalker who forcefully and against her will locked poor female-Dios away, just so he could molest her to satisfy his own earthly desires. Somewhat not many people let themselves believe that man could also do such a thing for woman's well-being and is not only using her for his own advantage. We still tend to think women=selfless and men=selfish when looking for causes of their actions.

All in all even if their "evilness" men are almost always perceived as agents (and fangirls even expect them to be evil just for the sake of being evil or because they cool like that) while women are almost  always victims, even of their own supposed "evilness".

I'm still waiting for a series where women would be presented as being "evil" simultenously because of having a tragic past while said tragic past is mainly rooted in their own imcompetency, childishness, personality or other psychological factors. And where men would be given better reasons for being evil overlords other than wanting to conquer the world just for lulz or or having a murder fetish.



#27 | Back to Top06-17-2011 10:32:36 AM

Android raptor
Rose Smilee
From: North GA, USA
Registered: 08-11-2009
Posts: 126

Re: In defense of Shiori...

Um, pretty much every Disney movie with a female villain? Last I checked, Disney tended to be pretty black and white, and thus villains both male and female are given little motive other than just being evil horrible people oh noez. I personally don't care for that characterization scheme, which is one of the reasons I love Utena: there is a not a single character who's truly "good" nor is there one who's completely "evil". Which is also why I hate the fangirl attitude of demonizing certain female characters for every single flaw while being completely forgiving of the males. Utena is not a series meant to be taken with any kind of black and white attitude, in fact a huge part of the series takes a stab at that nonsense. People who try and water it down into any black and white shell are kind of missing the point IMHO.

As for media being more forgiving of females, it happens, but not in every single instance or genre. Sure Lifetime movies might whitewash all the women and treat men as monsters until proven otherwise, but lest we forget many traditional fairy tales (including many that the aforementioned Disney movies are based on) treat women as monsters if they're anything other than sweet, submissive princesses. And while you might be hard pressed to find a kid's cartoon with a female protagonist (unless it's specifically aimed at girls, which in that case most characters are female regardless), it's a bit easier to find one with a female antagonist/villain (Rugrats, Fairly Oddparents, etc).

tl;dr, I want more shows where everyone is fucked up but had complex and interesting reasons for it etc-wankdude



#28 | Back to Top06-20-2011 12:54:23 PM

High Tripper
From: Washington, DC
Registered: 06-13-2011
Posts: 245

Re: In defense of Shiori...

In gender criminology, there's a lot of research into cases where husband-wife double murders occur, and the male gets a much lower sentence than the female does.  The theory is that, when a female is an active agent in a violent case, it appears to the average psyche that she commits two crimes: one against the victim and the other against her own femininity.  Men are masculine and naturally violent, so they can be excused, but women are supposed to be kind and nurturing.  Juries are more likely to be harder on women in violent crimes.  I would tell you exactly where I found this paper, but I returned the book.  I remember that the author's name was Anette Ballinger, at least.

As a result, violent female villains will take more flak.

Instead, SKU makes an effort to demonize the self-imposed helpless woman more than the violent man, since it's ultimately on Utena's and Anthy's shoulders to change their lots.  They're capable of confronting the situation and succeeding if they stop trying to do be inactive, so the latter seems much worse to me than even Akio's behavior.  The solution is simple; get over it and take action.  The result, however, is that society might throw stones.

I don't think Akio can be forgiven or anything, and I think he still comes off much worse than Anthy or Utena.  SKU also hates "natural" male violence and lust.  I'm just speculating about intention and story-telling on the other side.

Last edited by KaleMarsh (06-20-2011 12:58:30 PM)



#29 | Back to Top06-29-2011 02:58:48 AM

From: Idaho
Registered: 09-12-2010
Posts: 215

Re: In defense of Shiori...


Your remarks on how women are treated in the sentencing process when they commit violent crimes like murder are interesting. Not to mention women accused of murder tend to get more attention. Just look at the case of the murder of Meredith Kercher. Most people would know whom I'm referring to if I mention Amanda Knox, but many probably wouldn't recognize the names Rudy Guede and Raffaele Sollecito so easily and they are the two men accused of the murder. Not to mention there was all that tabloid and media attention surrounding Knox that involved portraying her as some sort of evil mastermind and the rumors about the murder being part of some "satanic ritual" even though there is no real evidence for any of these claims. In other words, providing that these three people actually committed the murder in question, Knox is the mastermind who somehow seduced/manipulated the two men into going along with the murder. I wouldn't be surprised if Knox gets a higher sentence if her appeals fail and she is convicted.

Back on topic, I think anytime a woman doesn't behave as a submissive pure-purity princess, there will be some backlash. That's why there's so much fandom hate centered on Shiori. While she's not physically violent, she does still hurt Juri emotionally and on purpose. On the other hand, you get male characters who are physically violent who often have their flaws sugar-coated by some of the fandom because it's "normal" for men to be violent.



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