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Why the weak heroines?

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Manga2013
Post #649921
Member

12:11 am, Aug 16 2014
Posts: 9


Don't know if there's already a post about this, but the more that I have read shoujo manga, the more I have come across extremely weak and crybaby female protagonists. I have seen a lot of people wanting strong, mentally and emotionally, female MCs, but the trend right now is the exact opposite no Maybe someone could explain the reason for this laugh

Also, a simple curiosity of mine, I know mangas are far from reality, but parents truly seem to be put on the lowest respect level. I mean they are either the abusive/ignore the child...or here, Im totally okay with you having sex at 16 eek

Wonder if others have thought of this too biggrin

scytherman
Post #649922
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12:42 am, Aug 16 2014
Posts: 104


This is just how i think it is, but since i live in Europe i may just talk shit...

1. You have to be aware that those are japanese Manga aimed at japanese culture and many people on this site arent japanese, but from all over the world. Which means the japanese may have a completely different thinking about the topic. Also weak/crybaby protagonists are used, because its easier to fill out typical roles (e.g. male as a protector) and because many people think its more cute. And since shoujo mangas are aimed at girls, cute and fluffy is kinda important biggrin

2. Again my guess is japanese society, but i may just have no idea. Also there are still alot of parents who have opinions like those, although that depends on many factors like country, education, religion, etc. This view has just changed in the last 20-30 years, but not in all countries aswell. If you are american you may have a very different view on that.

Well i hope i could be of any help.

Baalzebup
Post #649923 - Reply to (#649921) by Manga2013
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Slightly obscene
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12:43 am, Aug 16 2014
Posts: 369


Well, I tend to avoid Shoujo because of this and other related issues, but the quoted part kinda stuck to me.

Quote from Manga2013
or here, Im totally okay with you having sex at 16

Why is this a problem? Like, really. Being worried about when and how and in what company and such is fine, but the basic though of someone having sex at the age of 16.. Totally fine in my books, IRL and fiction alike.

Quote from Manga2013
Dunno, I guess Im just thinking of female MCs I want to cheer on, and be like "yeah, you go girl"


Can't argue with this, that is for sure.

Last edited by Baalzebup at 1:01 am, Aug 16

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hkanz
Post #649925
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12:44 am, Aug 16 2014
Posts: 297


I dunno, there are both strong and weak heroines in shoujo. Some logic behind weak heroines -

1. Many shoujos are written as pure fluff and establishing romance by having the guy comfort/help the heroine is easier than showing the compatibility between their personalities and interests.

2. Publishers may consider an emotionally weak heroine more relatable to the target fan base (tween/teen girls) than a more mature one. Creating role models is apparently not of importance, unless it's a cultural thing and this type of personality is valued somewhat more in Japan than my country.

3. Weak girl/saviour guy appeals to girls who want knight in shining armour stories.

Josei is usually better for strong female heroines, but the best I've encountered were actually in seinen - Nina in Monster and Sarah in Mother Sarah. Kei in Akira is pretty good too.

And yah, usually the parents aren't featured too much unless they're adding some type of drama...

Last edited by hkanz at 12:50 am, Aug 16

Manga2013
Post #649927
Member

12:52 am, Aug 16 2014
Posts: 9


Josei is definitely better when it comes to the heroines. Got to agree that it is influenced a lot by the audience, and Japanese culture. Dunno, I guess Im just thinking of female MCs I want to cheer on, and be like "yeah, you go girl" laugh

Guess my view on the parents is heavily influenced by my parents too smile They would so cautious. But manga is also not reality, guess thats why we read it biggrin

senile_seinen
Post #649938
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2:39 am, Aug 16 2014
Posts: 41


Shoujo heroines usually have to be doormats because a) that's the societal role message Japanese shoujos get every day, and the shoujo manga published tend to deliberately reinforce it, and b) because the shoujo version of a bildungsroman has to include doormat-protagonist finding her way in the world and becoming less of a doormat, generally while not compromising her 'essentially sweet and perfect nature/pure heart/blah blah blah.'

It's awfully formulaic, which is one reason lots of people outside of the social system stay far away from shoujo manga. Read one and you have, character development wise, read most of them.

There are exceptions, of course. A more recent variant popularized by the success of KareKano is to have the 'phony perfect' doormat heroine who just happens to actually have a heart of gold. The meat of the plotlines generally involves heroine resolving her and her friends' character flaws and emotional conflicts. When the heroine and her female posse are all happy and well-adjusted, it's generally time for the wrap-up chapter.

The better shoujo manga/light novels of recent years do have a lot more variety in heroines, KareKano being one example, Kimi ni Todoke and Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun being others. They also generally have a more realistic view of male/female relations, which is a nice change as well.

Josei, of course, is aimed at young women, rather than schoolgirls. Accordingly, it usually has more complex themes and characters, and often more explicit ones as well. Unfortunately, josei is also the least scanlated of any of the major manga markets, so we don't see a lot of the huge variety. Suggestions include Antique Bakery, Honey and Clover, Hataraki Man, 14-sai no Koi, Nodame Cantabile, Sakamichi no Apollon, Midnight Secretary, Ristorante Paradiso, Natsuyuki Rendezvous.


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Manga2013
Post #649942 - Reply to (#649938) by senile_seinen
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3:06 am, Aug 16 2014
Posts: 9


Agree! Thanks for the suggested readings too smile

whitespade
Post #649945
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3:29 am, Aug 16 2014
Posts: 440


most romance have the protagonist as weak. have you ever read any shounen romance manga? especially the harem type? the guys are weak-willed and got thrown around by the girls, and constantly facing abuse by tsundere girls (which is played for laugh because we all know domestic violence is only done by guys).

but since im a girl, i guess the shoujo ones just irked me more, like when guys complain about weak male leads in their shounen. i think mangaka thinks its easier for the readers to identify ourselves with blank weak characters.

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Manga2013
Post #649946
Member

3:34 am, Aug 16 2014
Posts: 9


Yeah, it's frustrating because I think these heroines can be both strong and "delicate" I mean just because a girl is confident doesn't mean that she doesn't enjoy being treated like a precious treasure by her guy.

scarletrhodelia
Post #650210 - Reply to (#649921) by Manga2013
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4:18 pm, Aug 19 2014
Posts: 865


Quote from Manga2013
Don't know if there's already a post about this, but the more that I have read shoujo manga, the more I have come across extremely weak and crybaby female protagonists.
...
Wonder if others have thought of this too biggrin

I've heard this complaint more times than I can count, but seldom does anyone give examples. I'd appreciate it if you or anyone else could list specific titles featuring weak heroines, because I'd really like to know which ones are to blame.

Manga2013, I've taken a look at your lists, and unless you've read a lot more manga than what you have listed, I think you're judging a whole demographic on a very small sample. I'm sure I could select three dozen shounen and conclude that all shounen were about an underpowered boy who fights, loses, powers up, trains, fights, wins, rinse repeat; or a perverted boy who wants to look at panties and boobies.

Please look at these threads, read more shoujo, and then see if your opinion changes.
Looking for a shoujo with a strong heroine
An atypical shoujo manga.
A tomboy girl ? Strong Personality ? (not all of these are shoujo)
Tomboy heroines. (not all are shoujo)

Cthylla
Post #650211
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Mythical Creature
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4:27 pm, Aug 19 2014
Posts: 207


This is why I read Yuri cool

roguewolf
Post #651213
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6:22 pm, Sep 2 2014
Posts: 22


It's never really bothered me. Like I think there's a difference between a strong heroine and an interesting heroine. I never really cared if the heroine was a cry baby or indecisive.

Quote from Manga2013
Also, a simple curiosity of mine, I know mangas are far from reality, but parents truly seem to be put on the lowest respect level. I mean they are either the abusive/ignore the child...or here, Im totally okay with you having sex at 16


I think that's simply because shoujo is aimed for teenagers. Most teenagers don't want stories where the parents act responsible to their children.

NightSwan
Post #652109 - Reply to (#650210) by scarletrhodelia
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Mad With a Hat
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11:24 pm, Sep 14 2014
Posts: 4598


Quote from scarletrhodelia
I've heard this complaint more times than I can count, but seldom does anyone give examples. I'd appreciate it if you or anyone else could list specific titles featuring weak heroines, because I'd really like to know which ones are to blame.

Manga2013, I've taken a look at your lists, and unless ...



I've recently had the misfortune of being exposed to a lot of Ichimi Minamoto's manga.
100% of her heroines (in about a dozen stand-alone oneshots) have cried at least once, but mostly every other panel due to feeling of inadequacy concerning their one and only true love whom they have met or known for one second, while spending most of their time being pathetic.
There was so much whining and crying that I started thinking the mangaka's chronically depressed.
But who knows.

I agree with you that it's a stretch to group the entire demographic into that narrow stereotype, but I think that when people talk about shoujo, they usually refer only a specific type of shoujo, mainly the one that caters to young, impressionable girls. The run of the mill school life rom-com type.

Now, since I avoid shoujo of that kind like the plague, I personally can't name many examples, but I do remember that chick from Love Celeb being whiny and rather pathetic.

This trait is in no way exclusive to shoujo though.
It's an unfortunately popular trope for the female lead to be weak and fragile.
This has even found its way into yaoi, where the uke is considered as the female substitute, essentially embodying that little anatomical part that he lacks.


Quote from Cthylla
This is why I read Yuri cool


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