Sorry, it’s been a while, but I had a project I was rushing to finish on a deadline, and I had to spend all my spare time on that, I even strained my eyes and hands from spending so much time typing.
That said, I have a bit of a different topic for you all, just a break from the anime and life stories I’ve been mostly doing.
I want to talk about two movies I watched in the last month for the first time. “What Women Want” (original with Mel Gibson) and “Ocean’s 8.”
Now, at first glance, you may say, these two movies have absolutely nothing in common.
But I would make the argument, they both have one thing in common: Unintentionally sexist writing.
I will give the screenwriters the benefit of the doubt, I think “What Women Want” Was really intended to be a good movie, and actually, I don’t have an issue with how women were portrayed in the movie. I thought it did a good job of making us human, but not perfect.
I did have an issue with how men were portrayed, however.
I don’t know why it is, but any time a movie decides to focus on one gender, they tend to make the other one look bad, or oversimplified.
I won’t bash on this movie too much, I really liked Mel Gibson’s acting in it, and his change in the movie made sense, but, it seems a little odd to me how there was no other male character int eh movie that was at all nice to women, respectful of women, or a decent human being. Not one that was focused on, anyway. all the men seemed wiling to take advantage of women whenever they could.
Now, some cynical woman is going to say “And so? That’s how men are.”
If you just thought that, than may I ask you, the sexist, to please leave the site… just kidding, you can stick around I want you to read this.
And actually, before some man goes off about feminists, guess who I’ve hear the most male sexism from in my life? Other men.
My father used to tell me regularly that men were “pigs” that they would take advantage of girls any chance they got (in so many words), and wouldn’t mind if a random woman came up and kissed them out of nowhere (implying consent for men is no big deal), and, my favorite item, that men weren’t hard to please, just “feed us, love us, and leave us alone.” Meaning, cook, sex and affection, and never nag about anything.
Yep, that’s all it takes girls, hope you’re taking notes. Men aren’t complicated at all.
Ironically, my dad is a far more complicated person than that, who I later realized is just impossible to please period, and doesn’t follow his own rules for male bliss.
He also made fun of me for trying to understand men and husbands more (yes, this all has a point to my main subject, I know I tend to go off into anecdotes).
Geez, y’all men should be thankful a girl like me took time, on purpose, to learn more about men. I wish men would do that about women, actually, I know a lot of them have, just not the ones I’ve met.
Come to think of it, I basically wanted what Nick wants, to get to know how men think. And, I can say, I haven’t figured it out yet, no matter how much I studied it. In fact, based on books, I don’t see any gaping difference between how men and women think. Anime can often show this, ironically, by making women the snippy, violent characters, and men the sniveling, meek wimps. Anime is famously sexist too.
Not that there’s anything empowering about a violent woman, Naruto is proof of that, I’d say the best females on that show are the less violent ones.
But seriously, the differences between how we think are not that significant. Do more women like to cook and garden then men? I can’t tell you statistically. Do more women care about relationships than men? Probable, but there are thousands of male counselors out there, and men who write books about love. One I read religiously for a while was “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Which is one of the most unhelpful books about relationships there is in my collection, but it’s not useless for understanding yourself and others better even so.
Nick trying to understand women by hearing their thoughts isn’t helpful, because even if by some miracle you could understand every women around you, you would understand women in general any better. People cannot be generalization just by the random thoughts in their head. Two thoughts can be in different people’s heads, meaning two different things.
I’m glad I read, or my idea of men would be really skewed. As it is, I’m sure I’ll spend years of dating and marriage realizing how different men can be.
Of course, the ideas I got from books were not always helpful. I remember one in particularly “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands,” I read it a bunch of times, and this book essentially blamed women for most of the problems in relationships, told them “They have the power” and that their husbands would “walk through fire to get them a quart of cookie dough ice cream.” I found this intriguing, but it didn’t seem to match up with my father. Who once threw a fit about dropping me off at school when it was a 15 minute drive, just because he had finished working already… or was it the bus stop, a 3 minute drive? Doesn’t matter, he would have either way.
My dad never helped me with anything unless it was related to his livelihood, unless we begged him to over and over, and not always then. He is one of the most selfish people I know. But women, of course, are the ones in charge.
That’s all bull hockey, and the author of this book was a woman, to make matters worse, with a talk show. She seemed to be completely unaware that abuse, manipulation, gas-lighting, and toxicity are a thing for men too. A little sex and less nagging aren’t going to fix that.
There are some marriages a little sex and more kindness would probably help, but if it needs to be “Fixed” that’s not going to do it.
To get back to the movie, having all this in the back of my mind, I rather thought the movie did not go far enough.
Some women are not nice. I get that the writers were probably trying to be nice to us, and goodness knows, if the move portrayed our thoughts the way they really are, the feminists would have jumped on it (I suspect they still would anyway)
It’s not a huge complaint, it’s just that he movie could have had more depth if Mel’s character met some nasty women too that he had to deal with, or else just be shocked by. Women are not inherently less selfish or self centered than men are.
And what’s funny is that the behavior Mel exhibits, using women, ignoring their needs, is exactly what I saw from my father, and the women being above that is what I have striven to be, and seen in other women, so why of all things would I complain ti was unrealistic?
Because, I myself have to choose, consciously, not to broad brush men, and not to assume all women will always be nicer.
I’ve been exploited by many men (not sexually, thank goodness, but in other ways) but I’ve been exploited by just as many women. And sometimes with more of a fury. Given the choice being a narcissistic man and a woman, I think the man may be easier to tolerate, if only because they usually walk away from you, while women can try to tear you down. But that’s a generalization, and men do that too. We’re always only going to be talking about what the majority it prone to, but the majority is going to depend a lot on where you live and who you attract.
See, it doesn’t actually make women look good, to make men look bad. If anything, I always end up wondering after watching a movie or reading a book with this slant “geez, why do women even put up with men if this is how they get treated?” And with the book I mentioned before, I wondered what possessed men to marry women who treated them like this. My dad’s ever helpful response? “Sex. Most men wont’ care, as long as she’s attractive.”
Well, I used to believe that. And it may be true, many men don’t care. Those men are idiots. And have low self esteem.
It’s my dream to see men stand up for themselves a little more. I want to be sick when I see men taking womens’ crap by apologizing on behalf of their sex for what some jackasses do. I’m like “dude, if you didn’t do it, don’t even being it up to me. It’s more insulting to me that you feel the need to do that, than that it happens.”
And women who bring up what other men do, to assign blame to perfectly innocent men, disgust me. But I won’t apologize for them to you, and, if a man were to expect me to, I’d put him firmly in his place. But no man has ever been sexist to me, except my own father. So… yeah…
I think the movie actually came to the basic conclusion I have though, that a man will never understand every woman, because women don’t understand themselves, or each other, any more than men do. Men don’t understand themselves or each other either.
And I can understand people better than the average person thanks to my empathic abilities, and I still don’t understand them, really. Even if you know how people basically feel, you won’t know what they will do because of that.
But you don’t need to understand women, totally, to be able to care about them and what they want, and isn’t that the real goal?
Before I get back into this, let’s talk about thew other movie, that’ll round out my point. “
So, “Ocean’s 8” the unspectacular female spin off of the Oceans movies. I don’t have any issue with it in of itself, it was unremarkable, but enjoyable enough if you like heist films, and the actresses were not grating, but should have had more time to act together and be their quirky selves, instead of the 2 dimensional characters they were.
But it occurred to me after watching it, that, there really is nothing at all about it to make it unique. It’s just, 8 women, instead of however many men it happened to be in the other films. Big whoop.
Aside from throwing in some more female stuff like:
dealing with kids
betrayed by your love interest
not having enough female friends
None of these women were especially bad in any other ways other than their particular crimes, which was interesting from a moral standpoint, but rather redundant from a character standpoint.
The movie was relying on star power to make people watch it, which is why I did, but with all that talent, why not do something more creative?
The simple answer is, it’s just another female empowerment movie because a female version of everything has to exist.
No thought it put into what would suit the actresses best, show off their talent the most, and make the most sense for a story centered around them.
And forgive me for saying so but that seems inherently far more sexist than just saying 8 women wouldn’t pull of a heist.
Have 8 women ever pulled off a heist without any men involved except as pawns? Go ahead, look it up, I’d like to know.
Have 8 women every done anything remarkable in history, for that matter, that involved crime?
If it’s happened, it’s not well known enough for a history over like me to have heard of it, and that’s already kind of telling. If there was a true story of this nature, it would have been made into a movie already.
No, even if you make the argument it must have happened at least once in thousands of years, it won’t do much for the movie industry, since they can’t find it.
So, that said…. why limit the characters so much. This is just Hollywood using these talented women to roll in the cash for a “feminist’ movie, and using them to make money instead of to make a good, well balanced movie, is very sexist. As well as giving them no complex thoughts in the movie.
Excuse me if I think a movie about women showing off their talents at hacking, and inventing tools, and scamming people is not exactly making us look deep, or layered. What about philosophy?
Name the last “female empowerment” movie you saw that talked about the philosophy of a women in it? Go ahead, try.
They all have women who tell off men, care a whole lot about promoting women’s rights, and who wear heels…
Yeah, so all powerful women care about is ourselves? Great message, Hollywood.
And it’s completely untrue. Great women, in real life, often have very deep philosophies, wisdom, and practicality. Often our greatest talents is knowing how to get people to do what we want, not whine about it being unfair. Look deep into the life of any capable, impactful woman, see if I’m wrong.
That’s because we’re people. Who, shock! Actually care about others other than ourselves. Imagine that.
(A much better movie is the Harriet one that came out, that hardly anyone seems to have remembered. Based on my own studies, it was quite accurate in many ways, and didn’t lionize Harriet at all. It made her awesome, but still human. Great story.)
Not to mention, you lose the heart of the original.
Do men make movies about other men to exclude women? I know some SJWs actually believe that, they’ve been fed the idea that patriarchal values dictate our society, and all men are actively or subconsciously trying to suppress women.
Geez, the world forbid a man make a movie about things other men and himself are interested in, because he knows thy are, and he wants to make a movie about it without worrying about political savvy.
Some men like including female characters, others don’t. It annoys me when a show lacks female leads, but guess what I do then, I don’t watch it! Why should I?
And why do I need to care? If I can admit that I only want to watch shows that have women in them, regardless of plot, then…well… that’s kind of sexist, isn’t it? At least, it would sound sexist if a man said it right?
See, me enjoying My Little Pony a female dominated show, is fine. But if a man wants to watch an old male dominated show, then he’s a sexist. Id on’t get it. If he wants to watch men, then fine.
Some men like it if ther’es women on the show too, not all of them for reasons I really agree with. Is a sexual deviatn less of a sexist because he watches a show only if it has hot female characters on it?
Really, writers should be allowed to tell the story they want to tell, regardless of whether they sue men or women to tell it. And while I don’t gravitate towards male dominated stories, I do read them. And I enjoy them. Am I going to get mad at J. R. R. Tolkien because there’s only a few women in LOTR? Am I gong to get mad at Charles Dickens because most of his MCs are men, and the girls ones often die off? (So do the boys).
I guess Ic ould, but it kind of misses the pont of the story doesn’ it?
When we make everything about gender, we destroy any deeper meaning, any actual art. And, at times, I am tempted to think that is what they really want.
If the SJWs and media can keep us fighting about stuff that we will never achieve, like gender equality, (it is truly impossible to make men and women equal, biology itself won’t let us dot hat), Then we’ll stop talking about things like love, honor, respect, truth, self sacrifice, courage, persistence, the things we used to make movies about. And male centered stories used to be some of the best about that.
Call me crazy but I really don’t care whether it’s a man or woman telling me, if it’s true. And I don’t intend to go easy on a liar just because they share my gender. If anything, that’s more insulting to me, if it means people will assume I agree with her.
But I’ll wait till doomsday if I wait for the entertainment industry to stop stereotyping, exploiting, and pitting us against each other, so this is not an indictment against Hollywood. I’m not gong to waste my time doing that.
Instead, I appeal to the viewers.
I’m sure most of you don’t like these slants anymore than I do, but it can be hard to explain why. How do you explain this kind of subtle sexism? Especially if it felt unintentional?
I had someone ask me on YouTube, how they could make a male or female character feel male or female. How do they get that real feeling to it.
My advice to them? Don’t try to make them male or female. I don’t believe that gender is unimportant to life, but to writing, it’s a huge mistake to try to write a character to be manly or feminine. Unless you are doing it ironically. You will not be able to avoid making them too superficial.
See, only God has ever been able to nail making male and female things without some impediment to His imagination because of limited experience.
I can’t write men perfectly because I have not met every man int eh world. What is distinctly masculine? I don’t know. It changes every few decades, doesn’t it? Men have an essence, not a singular personality trait, anyone who seriously they do is an idiot.
Women are the same. We have an essence, but not singular characteristic. Is tea drinking and dresses really universally female? No, even looking at different cultures that becomes obvious.
Being a mother is feminine, because a man can’t be a mother. But a man can have motherly traits, if you think that nurturing trait belongs more to mothers than fathers, I really don’t. You see how it works? You have to start with the assumption that something is a masculine or feminine trait before you can say a character is masculine or feminine for having it.
Lifting weights, it’s manly right?
So women never lift weights. And women never should. Or they can, but it will always be more manly than feminine….why? Why does it matter?
And dresses are feminine, so men can not wear robes, though for centuries, they did… and was it feminine then?
Okay, what about traits of personality?
Men are… unemotional, right? So, all the poets, writers, and unstable men of history just weren’t manly… because we all know, women spend more time making poetry, books, and losing their cool than men do…. right?
Women are… petty? Because we all now women spend far more time stabbing each other int the back over nothing, ignoring the bigger picture, and getting revenge than men do. And the ones who didn’t do that… as in most of the respected women of society, were just not feminine…
Yeah, see how stupid it sounds when you really think about it?
What makes someone seem like a woman or man is something impossible to pin point, you will never succeed, the closest anyone has gotten is in pinpoint what we desire, which does seem to be the biggest difference between us.
We all want love, but men and women do tend to want it in different ways. Women tend to want to feel safe and secure with men, men tend to want to feel they can count on women to believe in them. Even that has nuance to it, in some people it is almost unrecognizable, and other authors beside me have described it better.
But my point is, we can’t put each other into these stupid little boxes. If I try to do that to my husband, I am sure it will end terribly, because he can fit into the box my dad gave me. And I can’t fit into a box either.
I like crowns and sparkles, I also like physical combat more than most men I know, and enjoy doing dark emo looks for videos, and most of the time, I really don’t think about what I do being feminine or masculine.
Of course, some standards are good. I’m not against ladylike behavior. I just think it should be part of your character, not dictating what hobbies you have. You can be ladylike punching someone in boxing, and you can be crass while having a tea party. It’s all on the inside.
And man can be gentile whether he’s an accountant or a soldier or a plumber. If it’s a real gentlemen, you really own’t care anymore what he is. Some men render cleaning pipes a noble act, some men render saving your life a disagreeable experience (bad doctors, anyone?) it depends.
So, I guess, my conclusion is, we should be more fair… and we should stop being ashamed of who we are.
This feminist slant has humiliated women as well as men. We should just respect each other, and stop fanning the flames of hatred. As that underrated show “Girl Meets World” tied to demonstrate in the “Girl Meets STEM” episode.
There’s much more to this subject than I can cover in one post, but I hope this was some food for thought.
Until next time, stay honest–Natasha
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Diving into more CeCe (or morallygrayismyfavoritecolor) inspired analysis of the show and concept of MHA.
Actually, I have to thank a lot of of UA tik tok people for bringing up excellent points in their satire, and compliment them, it’s not a venue I’d normally look for profundity in.
I could probably have made this into a therapy post of Aizawa, but as it extends to so many more characters, as well as anime in general, I think that’d be limiting. So, let’s go.
We’ve probably all heard, if we live in an English speaking country, the proverb “Honesty is the Best Policy”
I am sure there are variations of it in pretty much every culture too. Here’s a handful of them I found:
“When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth.”
–Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
I like that last one especially. I believe people are born with certain rights, not just life, liberity, and happiness, but also the right to know the truth.
So, I guess I could frame this as a debate between yours truly, and the UA staff (as well as other teachers) about whether the continued practice of lying to students, or at the very least concealing part of the truth, is truly a wise idea.
Even though I will be using fictional examples, thousands of parents, teachers, and leader regularly lie to their kids and followers in real life, and there are even whole books you can find that justify this approach, I believe Machiavelli even talks about it, so nothing I bring up is not going to have its parallel in real life, in fact, I bet some of you reading have been lied to quite a lot by authority figures.
My personal experience is, I’ve been lied to by both my parents, though lying was always strictly punished in our house as one of the most serious offenses, my dad has lied about me, and they both have gone back on promises they claimed to have forgotten or else decided to ignore. It’s not quite the same as UA’s approach, but it is dishonestly of a severe nature.
There, now that I’ve justified writing yet another post about MHA, let’s do this:
Starting with my premise that people are born with the right to the truth, let’s put that up against the premise assumed by UA and every other teacher (the ones on Naruto are full of examples of this) that truth is often too dangerous to be entrusted to students.
Is there any basis for either premise?
I’ll start with the opposition to my point:
There are times when truth is dangerous, it can’t be denied. If we make total honesty at all times our rule, we’ll compromise every war in history, several covert ops, and many brave people who’ve ever protected information under torture or duress.
There’s an Aesop’s fable that comes to mind here, The Fox and the Woodcutter.
“A Fox having been hunted hard, and run a long chase, saw a Countryman at work in a wood, and begged him to help him to some hiding-place. The man said he might go into his cottage, which was close by. He was no sooner in, than the Huntsmen came up. “Have you seen a Fox pass this way?” said they. The Countryman said “No,” but pointed at the same time towards the place where the Fox lay. The Huntsmen did not take the hint, however, and made off again at full speed. The Fox, who had seen all that took place through a chink in the wall, thereupon came out, and was walking away without a word. “Why, how now?” said the man; “haven’t you the manners to thank your host before you go?” “Yes, yes,” said the Fox; “if you had been as honest with your finger as you were with your tongue, I shouldn’t have gone without saying good-bye.
I used to not get this story at all, how is it honest to lie? But later I understood that loyalty is also a kind of honesty, and sometimes must trump telling the truth to someone’s enemy.
There is a philopshy that says that you can forfeit your basc rights by doing evil, so your enemy can forfeit his right to the truth, by being your enemy. Trying to kill someone who has not harmed you, for examople, forfeits yoru right to their honesty.
The Bible does not openly endorse lying in this case, but there are a few times, when David is running away from King Saul, and Rahab is hiding the spies, where lying is sued to protect God’s chosen people, who are alos innocent, and it is not condemned, at least.
I suppose God prefers total honesty, but will not always pusih lying to save someone’s life, which is about theo nly time I think it is accepatbe.
There’s another side to it, I read in “The Hiding Place” that Corrie Ten Boom’s sister told the truth about a jew she was hiding, getting her arrested, but her sister was confident God would honor her honesty, the jew later was rescued and gotten to safety. Corrie is amazed by her sister’s faith, and it’s being justified.
Corrie herself lied while doing underground work, and felt it was all right. God clearly honored her work for His people.
So, my answer is: listen to your own conscience, at times the reason you do something, and whether you have faith in God either to lie or to be honest, is more important.
But in cases where lying is just covering up stuff you’d prefer people not know, but it’s not morally wrong to tell them, you have a very different story.
I might not quibble with UA not disclosing that they suspect a traitor to the students, since if one of the students is the traitor, that could be dangerous to do, and if the students turn on each other, that is also dangerous.
I will give due credit to Aizawa for being honest during the camp attack, since it saved the kids’ lives, and kind of reminds me of what Mrs. Incredible tells her kids in “The Incredibles”.
But what about in regular training when Aizawa uses his signature “rational deception” or “logical ruse” depending on whether you watch sub or dub (not sure why they changed it, actually, what’s the difference?)
Aizawa says he will expel them, or keep them out of camp, etc, if they don’t accomplish certain things. It often seems like he uses “rational deception” as a cover for changing his mind. I guess changing your mind as a teacher must be frowned upon in Japan or something, since I’ve never seen it happen.
The logic behind all this is that the students (or people in general) will perform better if they think the stakes are higher, and so keeping them in a perpetual state of thinking that is the most effective way to train them.
Some people go along with this way of thinking, and will defend it on the gournds that “it’s more realistic that way.”
However, one might ask if that is really true.
Training someone to be in constant fear of failure and dire conseuences does not actually simulate real life very well.
There are some things you can’t mess up in life, surgery, taxes, moral choices, etc. But there are other things like forgetting to lock your car, or tripping, or saying something dumb, that are going to happen, no matter how smart you are.
I’m a pretty intelligent person, and I tried to schedule an interview for during my class time two days ago, so I would know, even I can do dumb crap sometimes.
And most of the time, the absolute worst thing isn’t going to happen, you aren’t going to be disgraced forever for a mistake.
There are people who will make you feel like that, Miranda Priestly from “The Devil Wears Prada” is an example of that kind of person who messes with your head, but a healthy person would know to dismiss that as unfair.
What you are far more likely to get, by constantly putting students in fear of terrible consequences, is people who cannot let stuff go, cannot laugh off any situation to de-stress from it, and cannot be lenient with others who make mistakes. People who will always try hard, but will probably make mistakes because they are so desperate to win that they forego commonsense.
Which is exactly what Class 1-A has become like, ironically.
There are some short term benefits from the methodically that might make it look like a good idea, and I should be fair and talk about those:
So, as Aizawa points out, the class is ready for challenges. They learn not to hesitate, though he admits that’s from being attacked by villains, not from his teaching.
What they learn form the logical ruse stuff is never to take any teaching experience at face value, there will always be a twist.
However, I’d argue they are not anymore prepared for the future by this approach.
How exactly does knowing you could be deceived at any time prepare you to meet expectations? If expectations are never what you are told, does that mean that you know how to meet them? How the heck would you know that?
It’s like, being lied to constantly doesn’t give you the ability to discern the truth. In fact, it might just teach you to mistrust it when you actually hear it (as in the Webtoon I wrote about the other month, Exploring the importance of truth with the Purple Hyacinth).
Also, how do lies prepare you for the real world?
Isn’t it imperative to know the facts? To know what is real out there?
The students clearly have trust issues. They ignore their teachers constantly, and while they get scolded, it doesn’t seem to leave a lasting impression, even on Momo, the most scholarly one. Of course, that is because they never really know what’s going on, or what is true.
What if the hardest thing to believe, in real life, is that there is no twist? No fourth act reversal, no anime backstory trigger to defeat the villain or inspire the hero, what if this is just the way it is.
It hits home for me to think about that.
For years living in abuse (which bears many similarities to the teaching style of anime, even the better ones), I was convinced there was a twist. There was something I could do to make it better, to fix it.
Over time I learned what every anime good person learns, not to step out of line or make waves, just be as invisible as possible.
My father gave up on love a long time ago, as he told me, really. But I didn’t know it wasn’t my fault, I thought if I was a different kind of person, it would be okay. If I was like my sisters.
Turns out the very obstinacy I have been born with and unable to get rid of (I don’t know a way to get rid of obstinacy, really, because to break any habit, you have to be obstinate, kind of an exercise in futility) ended up being the salvation of us all from the situation itself. I carried my point. My dad told me I had won. He thought that would bother me, I just said “okay.”
And then he said “F— you” that’s a direct quote.
That hurt a lot, but I felt less bad than you might think, because somehow, I knew this was how it had to be.
In anime, and Japan, I’m guessing as a whole, they rank students. What this means is that there is no tie for first, there is no equality, it is always a hierarchy. I can’t say for sure there are never exceptions to this, but there have been none on any show I’ve seen except MHA, and that was tie for third place in a sports festival where there was apparently no procedure to break the tie (or it wasn’t implemented because of a family situation).
Ranking sets it up so that someone always has to be at the very bottom, and at the very top, and everyone else can be judged by where they fall in between.
In MHA, Momo is always academically first, though Bakugo is first in physical fitness, while Kaminari is always last academically, and the last in physical stuff wavers from season to season, but we aren’t updated on it.
The thing is, UA is a top school, so for Kaminari to get in at all, he must have done well in at least some subjects academically, following the internal logic of the show. Meaning, he’s probably ahead of many students in other schools. He fails exams, but the kid has a crap ton more on his plate than the average high school student, since he has to to do hero training for hours, cutting into his study time.
Though he’s not the smartest, watching him in training, he’s not an idiot. He can handle most situations just fine.
To top this off, he also has a side effect to his quirk that deadens his intelligence, and it’s uncertain if it affects him long term (if so, he shouldn’t be using it).
I’m not writing a defense of Kaminari here, I’m merely pointing out the factors around him, and he’s at the bottom, but on what scale?
A 6 ft tall person is short compared to a giant, after all. An average person is tall compared to a midget.
The facts are, Kaminari may actually be fine, but the hierarchy will always keep him at the bottom as long as he struggles more with the pressures of hero work.
Also, I might point out that intelligence is not measured by academic achievement. Someone can be quite perceptive who isn’t good at school. You can be a bad student and still a brilliant inventor, or strategist (look it up someone time, people didn’t think Einstein was smart.)
So, you put a kid in an environment of constant comparison where not everyone can always win, and what do you get?
By the way, I don’t support “everyone’s a winner” by any means, if someone isn’t talented enough or hard working enough, than fine, they should do something else.
But I do support the idea that everyone can win at something and has a gift, and when it comes to such an arbitrary thing as “heroes” how can you say academic prowess is a reliable measure of it?
What I mean is, if you expelled someone for failing at their grades, from a hero school, how exactly is that fair? What does that have to do with being a hero. Expelling them for cheating, now, would make sense.
Or expelling them for being a pervert and harassing girls… but, get real, consequences for disrespecting women, on an anime? Or men, for that matter? (Yes, men get sexually harassed on anime too, I’ve seen it, it’s played off as a joke even more often than for women.)
I would almost have to conclude that the whole system of schooling itself is actually the Rational Deception. These expectations and failures that have no bearing on the real world aspects of heroism.
I don’t hate anime, obviously, or expect it to be 100% realistic, but my point is, even on MHA, these things are not left out of canon, and it’s admitted not everything about the school is fair… however, so far, nothing seems to be done to change that, and if I were the parents on this show, I’d be concerned about letting my students live on Campus and be under the school’s exclusive control. But I guess, as an American, I am for less government control over education to begin with.
Of course the attitude of anime is always “try harder”.
See, it’s okay to lie to students, if it makes them “try harder”
It’s okay to terrify them, if it makes them “Try harder”
It’s okay to over work them more than any doctor would approve, against repeated warnings by Recovery Girl, if it’s so they will “try harder”.
And the result?
I mean, let’s look at the Pros.
Aizawa sleeps more than he really should, and seems tired and out of it expect when he gets mad or the kids are in dangers. It seems, either he is depressed, or the effects of the rigorous training for years to keep his body fit enough to be a pro has taken its toll and he can’t function without extra rest.
All Might repeatedly overuses his quirk against everyone else’s advice so that he will stay No#1 Hero, until he uses it all up. he might have kept working for another year or two, had he showed restraint, and been able to protect Deku longer.
Endeavor is never satisfied with his success and feels a constant need to compare himself to All Might and push for the top, even while it destroys his family life. We later get hints Endeavor is not wholly without regret that he did this, but he is still far too obsessed with being the best Hero to really realize his mistake was making that his goal from the beginning.
I suppose the idea I am really up against here is the whole Eastern idea that power and strength will justify any means to get them.
Well, I doubt I can dismantle that in one blog post, I’m sure I will revisit it, but, I can touch on it.
Many people in the West, that is, Europe and America and Canada, may not realize how counter-intuitive our ides of strength are. That, to this day, not everyone has what we consider the “civilized” view that power should not be our main goal in life.
I’ve come to understand that power-hunger is not always just about its thrills, often, it’s because people fear for their family and friends and think power is the best way to protect them. Or they want to prove they can be something. It appeals to people who often feel powerless to change naything.
I’m lucky to live in a country where I can have a voice, though it’s becoming more dangerous to, it’s not illegal yet. There’s still many paths to change I can pursue if I wish. I have always been prepared for the idea that that may change for me, soon enough, and I am resolved not to be intimidated when it does, at least not enough not to keep doing things.
But, I have all the benefit of having been taught growing up that I have a Divine Right to pursue what I believe is Good, regardless of what the rest of the world says. America’s philosophy is that if even the Government is standing in you way, you as an individual have the right to oppose it, from God, even if you have no right under the law of the land. AS our Declaration says the right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” I will never be ashamed to be part of a country with people like that in it, even if I am ashamed of what our media does to make fools out of us.
And that, I realize now more than ever, is not a common mindset. Quite possibly, one someone from the other end of the world may not have even heard before.
America has the true underdog story, we started out as small, ragtatg farmers, and business men, winning a war agisnt trained soldiers. But it wasn’t for power, it was for our rights. Our idealogy is that Right makes Might. Not the other way around.
Which, is, of course, a Christian idealogy too.
I believe that growing up in the protection of a strong force, while you learn what you believe, prepares you for venturing out where you will meet people who will kill you for believing that, or else reject you.
I don’t buy the idea that you can mistreat and traumatize people into been prepared for the real world. It’s more likely to make them unable to accept any goodness in the world that might steel them against its evils.
For the UA kids, and others like them, it makes sens that their greatest source of strength is each other, the people bearing it with them. When all else fails, mankind tends to find solace in brotherhood. Our last comfort against evil oppressors or injustice is that we are not alone in how we feel, and we don’t have to eat it alone.
Anime is wright to say loneliness is the worst suffering, even after mistreatment and trauma, it’s going through it alone that is the worst. But, it can’t be denied that a culture that encouraged mistreatment makes it far harder to not be isolated. It can be difficult to stay alive to the hope.
I remember for years of living at home with few to no friends, and moving every five years, so that I lost friends after I finally made them, or lost at least my proximity to them, I always wished for more. I started to feel, though, that it would never happen. And people moved away form me to, and didn’t keep in touch. It’s been a realization over time for me that I have to choose to keep hoping, the Bible says “Hope does not disappoint”.
Staying open to change is the biggest part of getting it, I think.
I suppose this has nothing to do with UA, or does it?
I mean, you can take the passive attitude that the characters often do, that all this is not going anywhere and they’d better just deal with it… or there’s there more interesting attitude of the fans who make loving critiques of it that, it really could change, it would just take a handful of people, having the guts to do it.
As long as you are inspired not to be passive, its not going to waste.
I will keep defending the importance of truth, as well as justice, however I can.
Until next time–Natasha.
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There’s a tik tok series that I’ve become obsessed with lately because it’s kind of living my fantasy: The Cece Counselor tik toks, (I will link one of the videos at the bottom if you want to check out the creator.)
After watching all the videos, I decided that only thing it was missing was more time to talk about the issues, since in a 2 minutes segment, you really can’t get that far. And thus this idea was born.
I’m getting into the Therapy session of one of my faves, Bakugo Katsuki.
So, the way I thought I’d structure this is to lay out the issues CeCe came up with, then the events of the show that back up and explain the issues, and then the answers that I or a therapist might be able to give Bakugo to help.
9Ideally, since these are real life issues people have, a person would be able to insert themselves into the place of the character and see it their way.)
Let’s get started:
List of issues Cece provides
Massive emotional and mental trauma
Inferiority complex/superiority complex
Villainous and violent
Hating yourself/Feeling that you’ll not be good enough to be a hero
Lasting Trauma from villain attacks
Lack of Emotional Availability for Friendship
If I’m going to do this right, I better define a few terms, it often surprises me how outside the circle of my church which focus a lot on emotional health) not a whole lot of people know these terms.
- an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.
- the psychological injury so caused.
- Inferiority Complex:
“An inferiority complex is an intense personal feeling of inadequacy, often resulting in the belief that one is in some way deficient, or inferior, to others.
An inferiority complex may cause an individual to overcompensate in a number of ways…
It may also cause an individual to be prone to flashy outward displays, with behaviors ranging from attention-seeking to excessive competitiveness and aggression, in an attempt to compensate for their either real or imagined deficiencies.” (Wikipedia)
- Superiority Complex:
A superiority complex is a defense mechanism that develops over time to help a person cope with painful feelings of inferiority. Individuals with this complex typically come across as supercilious, haughty, and disdainful toward others. They may treat others in an imperious, overbearing, and even aggressive manner.
In everyday usage, the term “superiority complex” is used to refer to an overly high opinion of oneself.” (Wikipedia)
Guess CeCe called it (I’d love to know if she just Googled this stuff before making the tik tok like I just did for my post).
I love psychology and the study of emotions, whatever the name for that is (I looked it up, its called Affective Science, interesting term isn’t it?)
I agree with CeCe’s assessment, when she says he is neither villainous or violent, but has “massive emotional and mental trauma.”
So le’t get into that.
Bakugo, you certainly have some trauma from getting attacked by villains, most notably from getting kidnapped. What bothers him the most is not what happens to him (though he is clearly scared) but that his hero, All Might, loses his power during the rescue mission. You are not strictly the reason he lost it, but you thinks you are.
It breaks you to think that your hero lost his power trying to save you, when he spent so much time trying to be strong enough to never need help.
Your mom, though not all bad, has no real sense of your emotional weaknesses, and blamed you for getting kidnapped, saying if you hadn’t been so weak, it wouldn’t have happened.
(I believe this is her way of trying to humble him, as she is aware of his pride and jerkish behavior, and says he is fearless. Can’t imagine where he got the aggressive behavior and inability to have a normal conversation from…)
I could relate to that, I’ve had people try to humble me in exactly the same way, if I had ten bucks for every time I heard “You’re brilliant, but too touchy, and unteachable and narcissistic” from my father, and his friends…
My mom’s way of helping this was to tell me “I don’t think you’re brilliant/highly intelligent, special, etc.”
So, yeah, I get your complex a little.
(I will have to drop the 2nd person approach for this part since it’s more about society)
I Bakugo’s been “Crushed by expectation”, hero society glorifies quirks so much, we’re shown that when everyone praises his quirk, he gets the idea that there will be no one more amazing than him. That idea gets fed by his spineless followers all throughout school and middle school. However, clearly not without some knowledge on is part that it could be shattered. His fear of that upon coming to UA becomes apparent.
Bakugo may be a bit stubborn (okay, a lot stubborn) but he’s not stupid. He knows that more powerful people exist than him, that if he’s not trying his hardest, he could fall behind. He trained for years before entering UA to get good enough to be a hero. His desperation to stay on top fuels his bragging through the sports festival and all subsequent conflicts we see. To the point where he doesn’t want to accept the medal because Todoroki was not trying his “hardest”.
They say don’t hate the player, hate the game.
Like it or not, Bakugo’s whacked out ways get him results, and if Endeavor is any indication, that is all the majority of people really care about. Not how good you are as a person underneath that power.
To add to the pile of things that contribute to his complex, he also gets victim-blamed by the media and some of the hero students for being targeted, they say it was his personality.
All Might points out later that the villains grossly underestimated Bakugo’s heart and spirit. I’m sure Bakugo feels all the insult of the villains thinking he would ever agree to join them.
All Might is the only one, other than Aizawa, who seems to see that Bakugo has a lot more to him than anger and violence, and through their help, Bakugo has started to believe that about himself too.
Now that we have the reasons for his issues laid out, let’s talk solutions:
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in a year of therapy, inner healing, and frustration, it’s that there is not a single one moment where you realize the truth and your issues shatter.
You have several small moments or larger moments of something breaking, some new understanding, and new freedom, like climbing a stair, always a little higher, sometimes you take two steps up instead of one… but you are far from the top still.
I am neither qualified to answer all Bakugo’s problems fully, nor can they be, in my opinion, all answered by a human.
Many times, I’ve had the biggest breakthroughs when I was talking to God, one on one, and listening closely.
But sometimes, a little perspective can help open that door, so I wanted to start there:
How to begin change
When I’ve written about Bakugo’s character in a story setting, I’ve found the show’s method to be the most effective. Building relationships with people who he can see as equals is the healthiest, fastest way to help him change.
What is perhaps missed by the fans is the key to why some people can get close to Bakugo, and others can’t.
When Kirishima starts to be friends with him, it kicks off because Kirishima says that Bakugo is really saying he has faith in their classmates, and that is “thinking like a man.” Which is of course, his highest form of praise.
I don’t ship them, but I do Bro-ship, it’s just too wholesome. It takes quite a while for Bakugo to be able to return any positive feedback to Kiri, but eventually, in season 4, he succeeds. He also acknowledges their friendship at other times.
Bakugo has pretty big trust issues. He doesn’t like having blind fans even if he tolerated it in school. And it’s imperative for him to feel people are not afraid of him before he softens up at all.
I’ve been told I’m intimidating because of my intelligence and my confidence. I hate it. To me, it seems like an excuse. I don’t find people intimidating who are smart or confident, I actually am drawn to them.
Being friends with other confident people has done wonders for my self image. I don’t think I really began to have self esteem until that happened and people encouraged me. All I heard at home was I was ugly, annoying, difficult, or just average at best. What I heard from outside was just the opposite, people said I was sweet, funny, brave, and beautiful.
Sort of Bakugo’s situation, but I see why he has a hard time accepting it. It’s easy to think people might just find you scary. I also have a history of somewhat aggressive behavior, though nothing like what you get in trouble for at school. I learned to be more considerate, but developing that fear that people were just scared of me became a problem.
The best help for isolation, if you’re the type who people find scary, is to seek out circle of people who are not unhealthy, but not easily intimidated. Drama and Sports were good venues for me, being loud and energetic there was not really an issue. I got more used to it.
But it can really be anywhere, it may seem hard at first, changes are anyone with this problem has been surround by timid/insecure people most of their lives.
So, more you could say to Bakugo:
The truth is, a lot of it isn’t even about you, the person, being scary.
I’ve realized over time that people who are insecure already will blame you for stepping on their issues just by not having them. I once got bullied for doing something right after someone else made a mistake.
(This happens to Bakugo also, when one student form Shiketsu high, who clearly has a massive complex of his own, blames him for being a “Beast” as he says.
I find Bakugo is often blamed. I mean, would what he says really bother people if they didn’t take it a certain way? Some of it is intentionally mean, but other times he’s just saying something that’s true, in the least delicate way possible. If it wasn’t true, would they be offended?)
It’s always tricky to get offended by the truth and then blame the offender. No matter how much you criticize their approach, they were still right, and how do you get away from that?
Positive affirmation is about the only way to help Bakugo’s complexes also. But, having had at least one of both of those myself, I think there’s more to it.
Personally, I grew up getting affirmed when it was useful for my dad to butter me up. Or to soften the blow of what was otherwise a sickening tear-down fest where I was put in a very unfair position. I’ve ended up with a real problem receiving praise after that. (Can you relate?)
If we were to be brutally honest about the home situation, and the hero course, then what I’d tell Bakugo and any one else with verbally abusive parents) is this:
You can try and try to be good enough for them, and you believe you never will be, and you are right.
You absolutely will never be good enough for someone who demands more of you than you could ever give them.
Who expects you to never make a mistake, and doesn’t really define what mistakes are.
You will never be good enough for someone who disapproves of you more because of their own pain than because of anything you ever did.
And you’ll never be good enough for a world that is more interested in glam and glory than they are in being real and authentic.
No one can really be a flawless plastic image, and even perfection, if it were Real, would not satisfy people who want a perfect Fake Image. Real does not interested the world.
We play ourselves, you know. We know it will never be enough, but we can’t seem to resist the temptaion to try anyway, in that endless cycle. It hink that’s why Jesus warned us not to seek the praise of men, and to not love our family more than Him.
You can never be enough for your family if they are toxic, but you can be enough for God, He knows exactly what to expect of You at all times.
It’s funny that, though God only ever asks us to do what is possible for us with His help, while people often ask us to do what is utterly impossible, we prefer to try to meet their standards and shy away from God’s.
So, I actually receive it best when people point out to me upfront that I should just take the compliment. Like that bit or realism helps me understand what they mean. I need it made clear to me why I am being praised, I guess. I have learned to trust people mean well most of the time, but from close family, I still have issues with trust.
I think that’s why you (Bakugo), also respond best to praise that is given for a clear reason, [though, if you know or are a Bakugo, be careful about this. Don’t ever say “I am praising you because I want you to feel good”, phrasing it like that also sounds manipulative.
Giving a reason has to be down carefully, preferably almost so it’s not indentifiable as doing that.
This is a lot of work, and you can’t spend all your time catering to people’s issues, but in my experience, just once or twice with the same person usually gets the message across, and they will start trusting you. ]
Setting people up to fail
Another way you mishandle trauma is by testing people. I do this too, oh boy do I ever!
You are aggressive to see if people will run away. You’re not exactly subtle about that fact. Really, it’s astounding no one around you has caught on to why you acts this way.
But the very reason the guys are drawn to you is because it challenges them, luckily, they are grateful for that instead of resentful.
Still, it should be addressed.
There are many people out there who will hurt you or will try, and you should learn how to spot that early one, BUT, not everyone wants to hurt you.
Many people don’t hurt other intentionally. Many want to be kind, and many even want to help others heal.
While you cannot trust everyone, you should trust someone. People don’t all deserve to be treated like the bad guy.
The best friends will understand if you sometimes get triggered, but they cannot be your punching bag either. If they forgive you, take that as motivation to improve toward them because you got a second chance.
You will make more than one mistake while you are growing, but let the mistakes be the kind that happen because you were trying, not because you were running from it. Any real friend will forgive those mistakes. If they don’t, they are not really your friend.
Being the best
Improvement is not about being the best just to win, though that’s nice. It’s about enriching your life and other people’s.
We don’t try to get better to earn acceptance, no one will ever accept you based on earned merit, people assign value to you if they have the right heart, or they never will. The good opinion of worthless people is just as worthless as their character.
We improve because it’s the right thing to do, for the people around us, for ourselves, for God I think. Because being healthy is the natural way to be, what we are designed to be. Not because it’s a competition, though think of it that way if it helps you, just doesn’t think that mean others should lose.
[Therapy would probably benefit someone like Bakugo because he is so set on self-improvement, it’s actually canon in CeCe’s series that he comes in like 9 times a week just to get better at it. One of his best traits is his desire to be the best version of himself he can be, people blame him for not dealing with his issues, but I ask, was he ever given the change to?
Looking at the actual mental health care on the show (next to none), while Deku is allowed to break bones to fight, and Kaminari to short circuit his brain, while Iida tried to kill a guy and no one really calls him on it after an initial reproach from Todoroki… yeah, I’m not betting that Bakugo’s ever had access to professional help–or even regular help.
Plus his mom basically spells out of us that his home environment only breeds issues for him, rather than being an escape from pressure.
Given the chance to improve, I actually find it easy to believe Bakugo would go to therapy and try hard at it. Though no doubt he would fight with the counselor.]
Truth be told, I have had to restrain myself from snapping at my life coach also since my natural response is to get defensive when my issues are brought up.
In the end, you want to root for the person who has problems but learns and grows form them, than the one who seems fine, and just stays the same. People who seem fine are never actually fine.
But I’d like to add something to all this that I think will be uniquely my perspective.
Therapy is just not the answer.
It would help, undoubtedly, but I don’t think it will make you into your best self.
The best therapists know how to encourage you and help you take steps to fix your life outside of the office.
I think therapy would help identify the causes of the issues, but how do you actually fix them?
Letting people in is probably the best human solution there is, good thing you’re already doing that.
But I’d go a step farther.
I really think only God can do some things.
The worse of mental issues is that you are always alone with them at some point. You can build up a support system so that in your darkest moments, you have back up to call in, and I found that very helpful.
But there are hundreds of moments in a month, sometimes a week, where I am doing something else, or alone for a period of time, and that is when I get attacked the most with anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and anger, sometimes.
Bakugo admits to Deku that he’s had stuff playing on loop in his head, telling him it was his fault, and he should have been stronger.
For me, though it’s hard still, at least I never have to be alone with my thoughts.
All the time I’ve gone through this hell on earth that is trauma, I’ve had two voices in my head. One always telling me my worst fears will be realized and I am a monster, the other, speaking reassurance, Love, and that I am not what I think.
I have wondered which I will listen to. But in the end, I always choose the Good One. Slowly, the other voice sounds less convincing and weaker.
I can’t imagine what I would be like if I had only my own voice to put against the darkness. Some people get by on that somehow, but just barely.
I found Bakugo an inspiring character actually, an encouragement to be as strong as I can be, and not feel ashamed or like I should hold back. I could wish more people thought like him.
In the end, you want to root for the person who has problems but learns and grows form them, thant he one who seems fine, and just stays the same.
One more warning: When I hear that, I don’t take it in, I am often a prisoner of doubt.
And Bakugo is too. He blows off All Might’s praise because he just can’t believe it… yet, hearing it still changes him, maybe a little part of him holds onto the hope that he can be that person, someday.
I’ve learned about both already are far more the person you want to be than you think, and yet you think too small at the same time. We set ridiculously low bars for ourselves.
Bakugo’s self doubt is only going to be cured by taking many small steps toward believing. I was happy to see him do this in season 4 with the remedial training and encouraging one of the bratty kids.
Me? I am starting to try, I’ve been thinking of more ways to do it.
We’ll work on it together Bakugo.
(Yeah, I know that was cheesy, but sometimes a fictional example can be easier to handle than real one, we tend to question real people’s motives far more)
And that’s how I’d conclude Bakugo’s therapy: Sometimes what you really need to hear is that who you are, flawed as it is, is something people very much need, and you have a very important thing to contribute to the world and your friends, if you would not give up.
And that you are more than talent and strength, you are also compassionate. When you are strong to build others up, you are the strongest there is.
And that was installment one of Anime Therapy, brought to you by Natasha, hope you liked the new style I was trying out for the post, please comment if you had any questions or ideas to add to this discussion, or any other characters you’d like to submit for further consideration.
I will probably do ones from MHA, Naruto, and Fruits Basket mostly, I’ve found those to have the most realistic characters. But hey, I could throw in Love is War, or Lovely Complex, if I’m in a lighter mood.
So, apparently it was a mile marker on WordPress to receive 1, 337 likes…kind of a random number, but I did! Yay! Thank you all for the continued support.
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