When it comes to women in entertainment such as movies, books, and of course anime, it will sometimes be said that a work contains a “negative portrayal” of women. The finger of accusation can be pointed at many things, from having women who are too demure and helpless to women who are all too sexually promiscuous (or not promiscuous enough in some cases, a reaction against the idolization if virginity) to women who some would say are just “men with tits.” The specifics and whether or not something truly is a negative portrayal doesn’t matter here so much as the fact that the concept exists.
But what about the other side? What about “negative portrayal” of men? Personally, it’s something I never hear about. Sure, there’s “Shinji is a whiny baby,” or “Keitarou is completely lacking in any real personality,” but rarely do I see “This yaoi is offensive to men,” or “This is not how a man should be portrayed.” Keeping in mind that I’m talking about multiple cultures though primarily the one I live in (America), is this simply a product of a male-dominated society, that no matter the portrayal of a guy it never really leads back to how he stands up to men in the real world? Even my own thinking makes it difficult for me to really bring up any examples, while it would be much easier to do so on topics of race or class. Could it be that when it comes to gender, only one side has some goal to reach with their portrayal in media while the other perhaps already crossed that finishing line millennia ago? Or are there actually negative portrayals of men in entertainment and that finding them is even more difficult due to the way in which we were brought up?