Sporadic Sequential
Monday, January 14, 2008
Because Comics For Girls Are 'Special'

Others have already pointed out many of the problems with this Newsweek article on the growing female readership in comics, but I didn't see anyone comment on this annoying bit:
Manga, a Japanese style of comic featuring huge-eyed characters and often including elements of fantasy, has spawned a female-oriented subset, shoujo manga, some of which outsells regular manga. [emphasis added]
Huh? What the heck is "regular manga"? From the context, I'm guessing that the writer intended "regular manga" to mean "manga for males," but that's not "regular" manga, either: depending on the audience's age, it's either shonen or seinen manga. So nicely done, Newsweek! In an article purportedly about how comics are increasingly aimed at women, you still managed to reinforce the idea that, at their core, comics are really for men!

UPDATE: Over at her LiveJournal, Nenena rips into the same Newsweek article, pointing out a number of other annoyances and inaccuracies that I'd overlooked, including:
3. Manga is not a style of comic. It's just a comic. And only about half of Japan's manga output includes elements of fantasy, or even huge eyes.

4. Shojo manga is not a "subset" of manga. It's half of all manga.
Go read for even more astute observations, and links to several other posts I'd missed, including ones from I Am A Tree and ADD Theater, who both commented on the "regular manga" thing:
Saying shoujo manga was "spawned" from, and often outsells, this "regular manga" the article's author mentions, is like saying "women's health" spawned from "regular health." [Michelle]

'regular' manga? are we assuming that if something is 'for boys' it's 'regular' and if something is 'for girls', it's somehow not regular manga? We don't say that male orientated mystery novels sometimes outsell 'regular' books such as romance novels and chicklit. Really, maybe it's subtle sexism, but it's pretty annoying. [Shannon]

Labels: ,