It isn’t any less creepy…

…when the roles are reversed.

Imagine that you’re a girl. Imagine that for the last couple of weeks, some guy has been desperately trying to get into your pants. You don’t know him very well despite his relentless advances. In fact, all he seems to care about is fucking you. Why does he want to fuck you so bad anyway? ‘Cause you’re a virgin, but let’s pretend you don’t know that.

He seems nice on the outside; he seems like a friend. You wouldn’t mind getting to know him better. Now imagine that you’ve just decided to invite him to your photography club so he can learn about who you are and what you’re interested in. After all, you’re not just a piece of meat. You’re not a cheap slut like some of those other girls…

Hey, she's even got anime proportions.

So while you’re both in the dark room, you’re busy developing some pictures so he can see the fruits of your labor. All of a sudden, the safelight goes out. You know there’s a switch for the normal lights somewhere in the room. You’re trying to feel your way around the room to find it when you accidentally grab… his penis. Nope, this isn’t a joke. Nope, I didn’t mistype it. Yes, you just grabbed his dick.

No, not this Dick.

While your back was turned, he — someone who you thought was a good friend — took off his pants and was about to grope (at the very least) you from behind. Whoa, time to press some charges!

The above scenario is a near perfect copy of what just played out in the third episode of B Gata H Kei, but with one crucial difference: the roles have been reversed. It was Kosuda who was clumsily poking around in the dark. It was Yamada who unbuttoned her shirt and was ready to pounce on the poor guy. When she accidentally tripped over some power cords, Kosuda accidentally managed to touch Yamada’s breasts while fumbling for the light switch in the dark. He didn’t realize what he was doing at the time, but does that really matter? Once it was all said and done, Yamada even had the nerve to get mad: “He touched my tits and he doesn’t even know it. He’s letting the world’s utmost pleasure go to waste.”

Utmost pleasure = some high school girl's underdeveloped chest. Thanks, anime.

Was this supposed to be funny?

Was this not sexual harassment?

I can only imagine a few counterarguments:

A. You’re taking this too seriously. All guys want to touch women’s breasts. So what if Kosuda didn’t know what he was touching? Even if he had known, he wouldn’t have complained anyway.

There’s nothing like good ol’ double standards. This is why some male victims of rape are too ashamed to seek help, — whether it’d be legal or otherwise — because some sexless jackasses are too busy going “That lucky bastard. If only a women would rape me.”

Police Chief: Alright, you did the right thing telling the police, Brad. Now who’s the teacher? What’s his name?
Kyle (claiming to be “Brad”): Well it isn’t a guy teacher, it’s a woman.
Officer: A woman?
Kyle: Yeah, she’s having sex with a boy.
Officer: Oh, but… but she’s ugly, right?
Kyle: Well no, not really. It’s that kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Stevenson.
Police Chief: The blonde?
Kyle: Yeah.
Officer: Some young boy is having sex with Mrs. Stevenson?
Kyle: Yes.
Officer
: Nice.

Yes, I realize Yamada didn’t rape Kosuda (though you could argue that she was about to), but why should that matter? A crime is a crime, regardless of severity or gender. It doesn’t matter whether she’s hot or not either, which leads us to…

B. Yamada’s hot. Why wouldn’t you want to grab her breasts? What are you, a fag?

So it’s okay if a pretty girl tricks you into grabbing her breasts, but let’s say it’s not your average anime bishoujo. Let’s say it was this:

Is it okay for her to trick you into grabbing her breasts?

C. This isn’t a fair comparison. Kosuda grabbed her breasts; the equivalent should be a girl accidentally grabbing a guy’s chest and not his penis. In that case, it’s not really that bad.

Who cares what you think though? Put yourself in the shoes of the victim. Do you think most girls are okay with being tricked into touching some guy’s chest?

But let’s say you’re still not convinced. Let’s change the hypothetical situation up a bit then. Let’s say you’re in Kosuda’s shoes, but instead of grabbing a pair of female breasts, you accidentally fondle a guy who has the hots for you. In fact, he wants to get in your pants just as much as Yamada would like to jump Kosuda’s bones. He came with you to the photography club just for the opportunity for the two of you to be alone together. While you were busy developing your pictures, he took off his shirt and was about to grab you from behind. Would you laugh this off? Do you think most guys would just laugh this off?

"OhmyGod! OhmyGod! OhmyGod! OhmyGod! I danced with a gay! Marge, Lisa, promise me you won't tell anyone. Promise me!"

B Gata H Kei has a lot of problems going for it already. A guy who has nothing but sex on his mind is often considered a pervert, relegated to usually “best friend” status in some equally stupid harem anime. When a girl is the crazy sex maniac, however, apparently this qualifies her to be the lead of her own “innocent” romantic comedy. Even if Yamada is showing signs that she’s starting to care for Kosuda as a person and not a fuck toy, does this make her any less despicable? If a guy decides his trophy wife isn’t too bad of a woman, it still makes their marriage a sham.

The third episode, however, crossed a line. Some’s gonna say that this is just an anime for a bunch of young men so it doesn’t matter if it’s just some trashy humor. Who cares if it’s “just an anime?” Who cares if it’s not meant to be high art? Things that aren’t high art can still convey a message, intended or not. Whether B Gata H Kei intended to or not, it sends the message that female-on-male sexual harassment is funny, while never showing the true results and horrific consequences of such acts.

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23 Replies to “It isn’t any less creepy…”

  1. This is an interesting twist to the “slut/double standard” discussion we’ve been having so far about this show.

    I’d hesitate before passing judgment this way, though, because you’re comparing a scenario in anime to how we would judge it in real life. Perhaps a better comparison would be something like this happening in a teen sex comedy in the vein of American Pie, where hormonal boys misread situations and jump through hoops for sex, only to become wiser, more mature people for their troubles.

    It doesn’t make things much better, especially if you don’t like those kinds of movies either. :) But there are some ostensibly non-creepy contexts (or contexts we’ve been conditioned to not be creeped out by) at work.

    1. I’d hesitate before passing judgment this way, though, because you’re comparing a scenario in anime to how we would judge it in real life.

      I don’t know what else to compare it to. I’ll obviously suspend my belief when giant mechas are flying through the sky. I can suspend my beliefs when it’s the umpteenth mahou shoujo anime. But we’re talking morals here. Certain beliefs will be culturally relative, I’ll admit, but it shouldn’t be right anywhere to send the message that it’s okay to sexually harass anyone, guy or girl.

      American Pie, where hormonal boys misread situations and jump through hoops for sex, only to become wiser, more mature people for their troubles.

      If American Pie advocates sexual harassment, it sucks too.

  2. Fun fact: anime charachters aren’t real.
    You don’t have to defend their rights as if they were real people.

    1. Way to miss the point. The post wasn’t about defending any anime character’s rights.

      But let’s extend your argument. Fun fact: anime characters aren’t real. You don’t have to jerk off to them as if they were real people. Funny, I don’t think most anime fans are gonna stop doing that any time soon…

  3. What are the chances that a girl would go ahead and decide to harass anyone after watching some show intended for 18 year olds who should know better?

    1. The better question would be, “What are the chances some guy brushes off some strange behavior from a woman because it’s funny when guys are sexually abused?”

      But what’s your point anyway? Should I not criticize an anime OK-ing mass genocide because “What are the chances that an anime fan would go ahead and decide to commit mass genocide after watching some show intended for 18 year olds who should know better?”

      I’m not calling for some legal ban of B Gata H Kei, but if it’s gonna open its stupid mouth and convey its equally stupid message, then it’s fair game to criticize the anime whether or not it manages to convince anyone of its message.

      1. Well, I just think B Gata H Kei was more intended to be a neurotic comedy along the lines of 40 year old virgin. I don’t believe there’s sinister intention to it.

        1. I never claimed B Gata H Kei was overtly evil or even sinister, as you put it. However…

          Things that aren’t high art can still convey a message, intended or not.

  4. “B Gata H Kei has a lot of problems going for it already. A guy who has nothing but sex on his mind is often considered a pervert, relegated to usually “best friend” status in some equally stupid harem anime.”

    Or the male lead in a shoujo smut manga. Seriously, these guys think in sex for 24/7 but it’s OK because according to shoujo smut, if a guy is hot, rape isn’t a crime.

    B Gata H Kei sounds more like a “seinen smut”.

  5. There’s almost nothing funny about this show. I guess that’s ’cause I’m not really any kind of pervert, though. Yes, I understand the sex jokes and all of that, but that’s just not really the way to make me laugh. Above trying to be funny, there’s no way a show would have a main lead with a goal of trying to have sex with 100 guys. Even trying to cast morals aside doesn’t even make this funny for me.

  6. Yes! I wrote about this same double-standard ages ago when I first started my blog, and, of course, nothing has changed. Hehe, that girl is sexually harassing that guy, how hilarious! Wow, aren’t we all jealous?!

    I think the problem of harassment as humorous or romantic, though, is particularly egregious in both yuri and BL – its downright rare to find any that don’t contain something nonconsensual that is either played for laughs or titillation (usually the latter). Actually, there are quite a few non-yuri or BL shows and manga which utilize homosexual harassment for cheap laughs. Its not harassment if they’re both girls/boys! It’s just soooo funny!

    1. its downright rare to find any that don’t contain something nonconsensual that is either played for laughs or titillation (usually the latter).

      The TVTropes article on this is disturbingly comprehensive.

  7. On point B: If the girl was pretty or someone you wouldn’t mind being tricked by, it would end up being consensual even if you only found out after the fact. If Kosuda knew what was going on in the dark room, would he have considered it as harassment or would he have wanted it to continue?

    The show as a whole: I don’t see how playing harassment for humor is any different from dark comedy playing death, etc for laughs. If there’s anything semi-decent about the series, it’s that everyone is well aware of Yamada’s behavior not being normal. Her sister thinks that something is wrong with her, and her friend sees that she is mentally deranged.

    On the last few paragraphs: so, are a person’s first impressions or intentions the only things that matter? No room for growth or change?

    1. On point B: If the girl was pretty or someone you wouldn’t mind being tricked by, it would end up being consensual even if you only found out after the fact. If Kosuda knew what was going on in the dark room, would he have considered it as harassment or would he have wanted it to continue?

      Whether or not he would have consented, it isn’t in her place to assume that he would’ve. Had she been with Kosuda for a long time and had they established a healthy relationship, she would have earned that privilege. Unfortunately, she clearly does not know him that well.

      The context of the moment is also important. Surprising a lover in the bedroom after a romantic evening? Sure. Surprising him when he’s trying to introduce her to his hobbies so that she can get to know him better? Yeah, I think it’s inappropriate and insensitive.

      The show as a whole: I don’t see how playing harassment for humor is any different from dark comedy playing death, etc for laughs.

      This isn’t making any commentary above and beyond “haha sexual harassment is funny.” I assume most worthwhile dark comedies don’t just off some innocent soul and go “Haha.”

      If there’s anything semi-decent about the series, it’s that everyone is well aware of Yamada’s behavior not being normal. Her sister thinks that something is wrong with her, and her friend sees that she is mentally deranged.

      Their criticisms of Yamada ring hollow because they are merely weak verbal protests (I wouldn’t even consider her sister’s reaction a protest). The anime “never [shows] the true results and horrific consequences of such acts.”

      On the last few paragraphs: so, are a person’s first impressions or intentions the only things that matter? No room for growth or change?

      True change is not a switch that can be flipped on or off. You’re right that she can become a better person and I’m not denying that. But her positive changes are completely undone when she goes back to her old ways in the following episode.

  8. To cynically apply evolutionary biology to it: female humans have a lot more investment in reproduction than males. The female will have to at minimum painstakingly raise a child on her own, while at minimum the male could just pump and dump. Which is why you can’t make these sorts of comparisons between males and females, their biological make up creates these differences which can never be reconciled.

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