Idols, boy bands, and girl groups

By: Anime Feminist May 15, 20177 Comments

In honour of the little song contest Europeans put on last weekend, this week we’re looking at idols, boy bands and girl groups in Japanese pop culture! Idols and idol groups in Japan are big business in all demographics, and idol anime and games are no exception (idol manga I’m less clear on – please enlighten me in comments!).

On the one hand, real idols have been used as a way to challenge the typical marketing of gender in Japan. On the other, it’s a business with a darker and less feminist side. Anime, manga and games about idol groups add another layer of complication, packaging up idealised images of young boys and girls for children’s consumption and adults’ merchandise purchases. Plenty for a feminist community to discuss.

  • How do you feel about the idol genre in general?
  • What differences have you observed in the way male idol characters and female idol characters are designed and/or marketed?
  • What do you think are the most and least feminist-friendly qualities of a typical idol story?
  • Who do you think is the most interesting character in an idol story, from a feminist perspective?
  • How do you feel about real idols or idol groups, from a feminist perspective?
  • Which real idol groups, games, anime or manga would you recommend to AniFem readers?

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