Portrayal of Female Characters within Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli Films Pt.1

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Comparisons

  • In 2013 only 11% of the top films made had a female protagonist and 30% of women within the films had names.
  • 63% of Hayao Miyazaki’s films have female protagonists and 100% of women hold a significant role within the film.

Why Is This Important?

When women and young females see themselves represented in a positive light it can give them higher aspirations for themselves. For example as a result of Nichelle Nichols being the first black woman in a sci-fi series and portraying black women as intellectual and competent Mae Jemison was inspired to become the first African-American U.S astronaut. Another example of this is in the way that you see Miyazaki represent women and how women in his native home,Japan are treated. Miyazaki’s female characters have mannerisms that would not always be classed as “lady like” as well as showing themselves to got through the same emotions and attitudes as any male character would. What’s significant about this is that he never portrays it as a negative thing, just another aspect of their character. In contrast Japan’s general treatment an view towards women lacks the positive and independent view Miyazaki’s films have.

“In Japan, 70 percent of women have jobs before they get married, but 62 percent of them quit after having their first child. The numbers of female university researchers and doctors are on the rise, but they still make up only 13.8 percent and 18.9 percent of those categories, respectively. Politically, women occupy only 7.9 percent of Lower House seats and 18.6 percent of Upper House seats, and only three of Japan’s 47 prefecture governors are women.

Likewise, women account for 70.2 percent of the nation’s part-time or non-permanent workforce, receiving less pay, benefits and job security than their full-time counterparts. But for at least some of them, their working hours and responsibilities are not much different from those of full-timers. And then, even among the full-time workers, women earn 30.7 percent less than men — marking the second-greatest gender income gap among OECD countries after South Korea’s”

You can see why to some Japanese women seeing female characters who have equal/greater process than men is very important as it can give a person that nudge of positive reinforcement to push for a better careerer.

And that is why positive representation is important. Below this is a part of Chimamanada’s talk about the importance of representation within literature.

Sources:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2013/03/03/people/japanese-women-strive-to-empower-themselves/#.UthElvZfl8d

http://janelwang.com/post/32532285149/women-in-japanese-culture

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nichelle_Nichols

http://www.npr.org/2013/02/02/170879582/astronaut-mae-jemison-plays-not-my-job

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_Jemison

http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2013/05/16/2018671/the-number-of-women-in-top-grossing-movies-hits-five-year-low-what-are-women-for-in-hollywood/

http://womenintvfilm.sdsu.edu/files/2012-13_Boxed_In_Report.pdf

http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/interviews/heroines.html

http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html

(TED Talk by Chimamanda above)

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