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Browsing by Subject "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood"

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  • Del Fabro, Alice (2022)
    This thesis investigates how the ideas of boyhood and what it means to be a man are constructed and performed in Japanese shōnen anime and how these representations contribute to gender stereotypes. The original assumption of the writer is that performances of masculinity cannot be separated from those of femininity, as the duality is present in every individual, and the negotiation of their gender performance of gender is inherently personal, although culturally informed. The analysis focuses on the Japanese shōnen anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Hagane no Renkinjutsushi). The case study is justified by the role media plays in portraying the culture, and it is essential to analyse representations of gender and sexuality in popular culture to grasp how these are understood and reproduced in films, books and tv shows that influence the way people relate to each other. To start the conversation, Japanese anime history is firstly introduced. Then the leading concepts of patriarchal gender roles, gender performance and male gaze are explained and put in dialogue with representations of androgyny and masculinity/femininity in other shōnen manga/anime. The analysis focuses on three supporting characters: Envy, Alex Armstrong and Olivier Armstrong. The method used in this thesis is visual and focuses on meaning systems and perception of reality as culturally situated. Through the analysis of visual elements, speech, non-verbal communication (NVC), gestures and camera angles, the researcher claims that the three subjects of the study perform gender in both a subversive and conforming way to patriarchal gender norms. To summarise, masculinity exists in many forms as it is individually performed and transforms socially and culturally through time. It has never been a fixed and static concept; as such, the masculinity we have known under the patriarchal rule is doomed to change (Kimmel, 1994). How it changes is something that we will see gradually. The main findings of this thesis are that gender play in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is encouraged and praised rather than condemned. Those characters associated with patriarchal gender norms are severely punished, whereas those who openly resist them avoid fatal punishment. Masculinity in this thesis is reduced to elements of gender stereotypes formed under the patriarchal ideology and is played inconsistently within FMAB as we encounter characters who fit the gender stereotype and the expectations. Still, we also find characters that subvert gender performance and gender norms while being aware that specific contexts require them to adopt a performance more closely related to the gender they present on the outside. From the dichotomy old generation (Father)-new generation (the protagonists), FMAB can be seen as a commentary on shifting views of gender but also as a shifting in generational understandings of it overall. This can be seen in the group of characters who survive until the end. These are all characters who have no issues with gender fluidity.