Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

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Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by floofychan333 » Sun May 08, 2016 1:44 pm

As much as I love Dragon Ball, I really hate that it's sexist, racist, and homophobic. What I hate even more is that whenever somebody tries to bring this up they get berated for being "Stupid." There must be someone else out there who would be open to discussing the social issues in DB?
Keep in mind I am simply trying to improve the future of Dragon Ball with this. I feel that if, for example, Pan became a powerful Super Saiyan in the future, or if a gay character was introduced and not portrayed offensively, then the franchise could redeem itself for its past views.
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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by ABED » Sun May 08, 2016 1:49 pm

floofychan333 wrote:As much as I love Dragon Ball, I really hate that it's sexist, racist, and homophobic. What I hate even more is that whenever somebody tries to bring this up they get berated for being "Stupid." There must be someone else out there who would be open to discussing the social issues in DB?
Keep in mind I am simply trying to improve the future of Dragon Ball with this. I feel that if, for example, Pan became a powerful Super Saiyan in the future, or if a gay character was introduced and not portrayed offensively, then the franchise could redeem itself for its past views.
I don't foresee this thread ending well and you aren't going to improve Dragon Ball via posts on an internet forum.
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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by rereboy » Sun May 08, 2016 2:02 pm

floofychan333 wrote:As much as I love Dragon Ball, I really hate that it's sexist, racist, and homophobic. What I hate even more is that whenever somebody tries to bring this up they get berated for being "Stupid." There must be someone else out there who would be open to discussing the social issues in DB?
Keep in mind I am simply trying to improve the future of Dragon Ball with this. I feel that if, for example, Pan became a powerful Super Saiyan in the future, or if a gay character was introduced and not portrayed offensively, then the franchise could redeem itself for its past views.
It only has these problems if you view it as something serious or realistic. It's not.

The three stooges also have a lot of violence and it makes light of serious head injuries and so on, if you think about it that way...

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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by DBZAOTA482 » Sun May 08, 2016 2:02 pm

General Blue wasn't portrayed negatively as a gay... in fact, he was the only RRA soldier who was a threat to Goku and Krillin.

Pan would be fine as long as she doesn't end up like she did in GT (annoying and useless).
fadeddreams5 wrote:
DBZGTKOSDH wrote:... Haven't we already gotten these in GT? Goku dies, the DBs go away, and the Namekian DBs most likely won't be used again because of the Evil Dragons.
Goku didn't die in GT. The show sucked him off so much, it was impossible to keep him in the world of the living, so he ascended beyond mortality.
jjgp1112 wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 6:31 am
I'm just about done with the concept of reboots and making shows that were products of their time and impactful "new and sexy" and in line with modern tastes and sensibilities. Let stuff stay in their era and give today's kids their own shit to watch.

I always side eye the people who say "Now my kids/today's kids can experience what I did as a child!" Nigga, who gives a fuck about your childhood? You're an adult now and it was at least 15 years ago. Let the kids have their own experience instead of picking at a corpse.

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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by RedRibbonSoldier#42 » Sun May 08, 2016 2:11 pm

It's not a shining beacon of inclusivity and progressiveness, but I just don't think Dragonball is offensive like that. There are few women in Dragonball, but that does not mean the ones we have are sexist. Blooma has been an active character the whole series and is one of the only characters to not act like a total moron for "pride reasons".She uses sexuality a lot to further her purposes,but Is never forced to or uncomfortable. Android 18 was a central and serious antagonist. Videl is a (relatively) great fighter and the only human in Dragonball besides the Tournament Announcer to see through the Z fighters (albiet very thin) ruse.

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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by SSJ YUSUKE » Sun May 08, 2016 2:11 pm

I think it's an extrememly complex issue because I feel that it's not only a dragonball issue but also an issue with anime and Japanese society in general.
I suspect that it's true of most Japanese media but the way females are potrayed in most anime is downright sexist. They are usaully overly sexualised or even casaully sexaully harrassed and it's treated as something funny, think about scenes like Master Roshi and Android 18 where she is basically being sexaully assaulted for laughs.
Shounen anime is especially guilty of demeaning female characters. Beyond just outright sexual harrassment you also have females taking on passive roles, sitting back and letting the "boys" take care of things while they cook, stand in the crowd or get molested for laughs.
But again I think that it's probably more of an issue with Japanese society where attitudes to woman and their roles is still akin to the 50's and 60's.
Media is a reflection of the society in which it is produced, so we can also see a lot of the negatives of a society through it's media.
Though I would add that when it comes to the potrayal of homosexaulity, it's only in the last few years that we've seen positive potrayals in the west for example Legend of Korra but even then media normally treats it as something that doesn't exist.
To be quite honest I watch very few anime nowadays because it's almost impossible to find something in them that's not problematic. The only reason I can watch Super for example is because it seems to more delibratly aimed at kids so there's less of the playing sexaul assault for laughs kind of stuff.

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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by RedRibbonSoldier#42 » Sun May 08, 2016 2:24 pm

DBZAOTA482 wrote:General Blue wasn't portrayed negatively as a gay... in fact, he was the only RRA soldier who was a threat to Goku and Krillin.

Pan would be fine as long as she doesn't end up like she did in GT (annoying and useless).
Even so, annoying and useless is not enough to make a character sexist. There are, after all, annoying and useless women (and men of course) in real life. I think its fine to include the occasional weak willed character of either gender as long as it's a personal flaw and not generalized to the entire sex. (or race)

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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by DBZAOTA482 » Sun May 08, 2016 2:49 pm

RedRibbonSoldier#42 wrote:
DBZAOTA482 wrote:General Blue wasn't portrayed negatively as a gay... in fact, he was the only RRA soldier who was a threat to Goku and Krillin.

Pan would be fine as long as she doesn't end up like she did in GT (annoying and useless).
Even so, annoying and useless is not enough to make a character sexist. There are, after all, annoying and useless women (and men of course) in real life. I think its fine to include the occasional weak willed character of either gender as long as it's a personal flaw and not generalized to the entire sex. (or race)
True but she was a damsel in distress, bitchy, selfish, and ridiculously incompetent for no distinct reason other than being female.... which makes her a pretty sexist character.

I don't think Toriyama is sexist but Toei sure is if they're portrayal of Bulma on Namek or Chi-Chi's portrayal in most of the movies and a lot of the anime filler is anything to go by.
fadeddreams5 wrote:
DBZGTKOSDH wrote:... Haven't we already gotten these in GT? Goku dies, the DBs go away, and the Namekian DBs most likely won't be used again because of the Evil Dragons.
Goku didn't die in GT. The show sucked him off so much, it was impossible to keep him in the world of the living, so he ascended beyond mortality.
jjgp1112 wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 6:31 am
I'm just about done with the concept of reboots and making shows that were products of their time and impactful "new and sexy" and in line with modern tastes and sensibilities. Let stuff stay in their era and give today's kids their own shit to watch.

I always side eye the people who say "Now my kids/today's kids can experience what I did as a child!" Nigga, who gives a fuck about your childhood? You're an adult now and it was at least 15 years ago. Let the kids have their own experience instead of picking at a corpse.

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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by Kuririn Fan » Sun May 08, 2016 3:11 pm

Chi Chi is also an annoying bitch in the manga, in what little chapters she appears in. The only good version of her was 23rd TB one.

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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by Cipher » Sun May 08, 2016 3:46 pm

I think I've actually made a thread talking about this kind of stuff before, ABED, so it totally flies here, and I wouldn't want to be part of a community where it couldn't. Anyway, I think Dragon Ball pre-2013 managed by and large to be quite good with its female characters. They're strong, idiosyncratic, written like real people. It's easy to see that in Dr. Slump as well. When I watched through the series with a significant other, this was actually something she pointed out again and again.

But -- Kame-Sennin-styled pervert gags are truly something I wish weren't in the series. Not that the situational humor resulting from them isn't sometimes (sometimes) funny. It's just kind of off-putting, and Toei's later approach of shoehorning a grope/retaliation in as a gag itself is just the worst. It's those elements, like, uh, some of the less nuanced depictions of non-Japanese/white-appearing characters, that require you to realize it was 1980s Japan, hope for better, and move on.

What's been done with Videl and #18 since the series' revival strikes me as upsetting and out-of-touch with one of the series' previous strengths though. And then we don't even get a female fighter at the Universe 6 tournament. It's not great, and it's not as good as it's been in the past.
DBZAOTA482 wrote:I don't think Toriyama is sexist but Toei sure is if they're portrayal of Bulma on Namek or Chi-Chi's portrayal in most of the movies and a lot of the anime filler is anything to go by.
Toei was an anime studio in the 1980s and '90s. You can bet your ass they were sexist. They probably still are now.

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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by Akira » Sun May 08, 2016 4:06 pm

Dragonball is meant to be light hearted fun, and it is just that. There aren't any overtly negative portrayals, as you would like to imply. I would argue against it, in fact, and say that the characters are very diverse, and that it portrays a lot of good moral points of interest.

On the issue of "Sexism" >

Is it wrong that Chi-chi chooses to be a housewife and mother to her children? Is it not sexism too to see this as a weak choice for a woman? She was a respected martial artist, and quite powerful (by normal human standards) at the 23rd Budokai. She made it to the finals of her own power, not because any man did it for her. She commands respect from everyone, and lets no one push her around, no matter how powerful they are. Is that not a positive portrayal of a strong woman? Women have every right to be what they choose, as much as men do.

Bulma is shown to be highly intelligent, and a very competent inventor. She is pivotal to almost every arc in the whole series thus far, and almost always has an important role to play. I feel her talents and abilities are a good contrast to some of the other female characters in the series. They are a very diverse bunch, as Android #18, Videl, Pan, Lunch, Mai, Colonel Violet, Fortune Teller Baba, Suno, and others all had individual traits that portrayed a diversity among women, career choices, and motives.

If any character was a blatantly sexist stereotype, it was Krillin's girlfriend in the Garlic Junior episodes, but really, even that is a type that you find in life too.

On the issue of "Racism" >

The original funimation dub had some poor choices in characterization of minor characters in Z, but that does not mean the original intent was for them to be portrayed in such a way. Racism, at least as we know it from reality, isn't really present in Dragon world. There are few african-american characters in the series, that much is true, but you have to consider that the series was written in the 1980's and early 1990's. This was an era of poor portrayals in the west, and the trope of the "token black guy" in movies being killed off early in a story was a common sight. We don't see this happen in Dragonball to my knowledge, although it does touch on the issue in a different way. Freeza and his ilk all refer to the Saiyans as lowly monkeys and there is definitely some serious racism towards them from the other races in Freeza's ranks. Freeza himself is a proponent of ethic cleansing and genocidal tendencies towards those he perceives as a threat. Not unlike Adolf Hitler, the Nazi regime and their plans to eradicate and blame the Hebrew people for their problems, we see a similar situation in Dragonball.

I don't believe we are intended to read so deeply into a fun fighting story, but the issue is touched upon, and shown to be a negative standpoint to take, rather than shown as acceptable. It shows characters overcoming these situations and becoming better than those who oppressed them (Vegeta).

And on the issue of "Sexual Intolerance" >

Everyone points to General Blue as being a poorly portrayed gay in the series, but again, at the time the series was at that point (The mid 1980's), it wasn't an outright bashing of gays. He was a really powerful guy, compared to the rest of the army, so there's that. Even if that is considered a low point, I feel the series has redeemed itself on that front. Whis is implied to be homosexual, and he is the most powerful guy in all of Universe 7, above Beerus, Goku and Vegeta. He is shown to be very intelligent, willing to train the Saiyans, and keeps Beerus in check. Whis is one of the coolest character additions to the newest movies/series, and I think it very fitting that a level headed guy like him be the most powerful guy in their universe.

My point being, there are plenty of Japanese cartoons you could pick apart that have far more negative portrayals, women being abused, racism and hate, and stereotypical portrayals or negative portrayals of gays that could be pointed at as "part of the problem" moreso than Dragonball. It is just light hearted action adventure, and I don't believe there is any ill-intent in any of the series themes, gags, or storylines meant to offend. If anything, I believe some people just look for something to be offended by in everything they consume because they believe it makes them "more astute" or as having an "educated opinion", but I wouldn't go looking for any serious mistreatment of minorities or gender bias, or sexual intolerance where they really isn't any.

I will admit that everyone's opinion will of course, be different, and such a discussion is highly subjective to how deep you want to try to analyze something, but I honestly don't believe there was any malicious intent anywhere in Dragonball. The "I don't believe..." being an opinion statement held by me, as it is definitely open to interpretation.


[Edit: I totally didn't even think of Muten Roshi when I wrote this, so, um, yeah, there's really no excuse for him or Oolong. A product of an era, I suppose, but I won't even try to defend that. They are total perverts, and I think only the Japanese really find that funny for some reason..]
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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by sintzu » Sun May 08, 2016 4:13 pm

floofychan333 wrote:As much as I love Dragon Ball, I really hate that it's sexist, racist, and homophobic. What I hate even more is that whenever somebody tries to bring this up they get berated for being "Stupid."
And what happens when someone says anything you SJW's don't like ?

In terms of the topic, Toriyama is just writing the story he wants which shouldn't bother you people because you're all about freedom of speech right ?
ABED wrote:You aren't going to improve Dragon Ball via posts on an internet forum.
Or by forcing political correctness into it but thankfully Toriyama only listens to Toriyama so that's not going to happen.

Which should be OK because that's what SJW's want, freedom of speech for everyone right ? A certain batgirl artist knows all about that "freedom of speech" they talk about.
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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by Cipher » Sun May 08, 2016 4:19 pm

sintzu wrote:And what happens when someone says anything you SJW's don't like ?

In terms of the topic, Toriyama is just writing the story he wants which shouldn't bother you people because you're all about freedom of speech right ?
What we choose to reflect in our media matters, people have a right to take issue with decisions made in material they largely enjoy, and if you can't get behind that, you shouldn't be putting yourself in a position to critically engage things online.
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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by successoroffate » Sun May 08, 2016 4:19 pm

How's the show homophobic? Also, you're kinda using your statement as if it was a globally accepted issue in the world of DB.
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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by sintzu » Sun May 08, 2016 4:22 pm

successoroffate wrote:How's the show homophobic?
It's not about LGBT's 24/7.
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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by Cipher » Sun May 08, 2016 4:23 pm

successoroffate wrote:How's the show homophobic?
Blue and Otokosuki aren't doing anyone any favors.

That said, I don't think there's anything really wrong with Blue in the manga other than being a bit of a fussy stereotype in a series without any non-stereotypical examples. Again, time and place.

The anime managed to include him in one of its all-time most tasteless gags though.
Last edited by Cipher on Sun May 08, 2016 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by sintzu » Sun May 08, 2016 4:24 pm

Cipher wrote: What we choose to reflect in our media matters...

if you can't get behind that...
Our ? who's our ? it's Toriyama's story and he has the right to write it however he wants.

If you can't get behind his choices then you should find something else to be a fan of.
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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by Cipher » Sun May 08, 2016 4:32 pm

sintzu wrote: Our ? who's our ? it's Toriyama's story and he has the right to write it however he wants.

If you can't get behind his choices then you should find something else to be a fan of.
"Our" media landscape, as in what we choose to highlight or ignore in popular culture. Obviously with Dragon Ball we're discussing something produced in a different time and setting, and that's why I make allowances for it that wouldn't apply to new material. But we're still viewers, it's still relevant--we should talk about these things.

Any author can produce what they want--then audiences respond to it. My last post was a little harsh because I've seen this kind of pro-escapist stuff so much, but I'd rather have people understand why this is worthy of discussion rather than shooing them away. Since we all love this series, obviously, doesn't it seem important to be able to identify the things about it we'd rather not endorse (even knowing fully--due to its different time and culture--why they're there)? And to maybe hope it can be better, in regards to perceived shortcomings in newer stuff?

It's no different than a Hemingway scholar saying, "Yes, I think this writing is beautiful and important. We should also realize it's sexist." Except that I think Toriyama handles women a lot better than Hemingway and generally outdoes his contemporaries.
Last edited by Cipher on Sun May 08, 2016 4:38 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by VegettoEX » Sun May 08, 2016 4:33 pm

If you're tossing "SJW" out in a sincere, non-ironic fashion, you're probably not contributing much to the conversation any which way.

And if you ARE being sarcastic with it, well, that's probably not adding much either.

Anyway, we kinda sorta did a podcast about Blue and his anime interpretation. I don't remember what we concluded.

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Re: Anyone interested in discussing the social issues of DB?

Post by successoroffate » Sun May 08, 2016 4:38 pm

I don't understand. Why are we applying current social standards to a franchise from 30 years ago? Those were different times and here's another thing, the World of Dragon Ball may share some similarities with the real world but that doesn't mean we have to impose the author what direction the show must go. I get it, it's a sensitive issue in the real world, and that's why it should stay there.
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