Feminist Perspectives: Ouran High School Host Club


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A feminist analysis of Ouran High School Host Club, presented at Anime Boston 2013

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Feminist Perspectives: Ouran High School Host Club

  1. 1. Feminist Perspectives: Ouran High School Host Club Allison Wilhelm Anime Boston 2013
  2. 2. Just so we’re clear: • Yes, I know it’s from Japan • Yes, I know a woman wrote it • Yes, I know that this show is a comedy and meant to be satire • No, I don’t hate the series
  3. 3. The Mary Sue says: • "When you think about it, this series is remarkably queer -- not only do the school’s women absolutely fawn over Haruhi, the entire premise of a host club seems to disrupt the male gaze. In this universe women gaze at men and masculine women. Furthermore, when the hosts clamour to win Haruhi’s heart, she’s often still in masculine clothing, queering the desires of her straight male counterparts."
  4. 4. First Episode • Doesn’t establish that Haruhi is a girl up front • Pokes fun of male archetypes in shojo anime • “I hate all these damn rich people” • Haruhi doesn’t seem to care about her appearance, doesn’t care about attracting girls, or guys for that matter.
  5. 5. Bechdel Test? • Used to determine whether women are well represented – usually applied to movies • Test had 3 questions: – Does it have at least two women with names? – Do the two women have a conversation with each other? – Do they have a conversation about something other than a man?
  6. 6. Internalized Misogyny • AKA “girl bashing,” often manifests itself as garbage like this:
  7. 7. Radical Feminism • Patriarchal society is inherently oppressive to women • Seek to overthrow the patriarchy; typically find sexism in many social institutions • “The Woman-Identified Woman” – argued that lesbianism was essential to women’s liberation.
  8. 8. Intersectional Feminism Gender Race SexualityClass Gender Identity
  9. 9. LGBTQ Representation • Is anyone on the show really gay or transgender? • Does is matter? • Should gay characters be “out” to the audience?
  10. 10. Liberal Feminism • Focus on legal and political rights • Also associated with “choice feminism,” or the notion that women should do whatever they want (even if it supports patriarchal expectations of women)
  11. 11. The End Questions? Comments?