I live in Sweden, which is one of Europe's most gender equal countries. Here there is a constant debate about how women and men are imaged in media and how it affects us. Since this is 1, an interest of mine and 2, something I hear about everyday I've started to reflect about the way I draw and what message I send out to the people who view my art. There is no doubt that most generic Japanese manga is very sexist and that the characters often have stereotypical personalities and that women are frequently objectified and/or playing the victim. Same thing with video games and a lot of western comics (although I would like to point of that of course there are both anime and games that doesn't fall into these categories, e.g. Attack on Titan and Metroid Prime).
This makes it hard for me, especially when doing fan art, because I want to stay true to the character's personality but at the same time I don't want to contribute to the continuation of sexism in this community. Should you avoid drawing fanart (= encouraging, celebrating) obviously sexist characters or should you do your own take on them? If you're into games and feminism, you've probably seen Anita Sarkeesians youtube video series "Damsel in Distress" (if you havent, watch it!) in which she discusses and critiques the female representation in video games. In her TED talk she revealed how much harassment these videos had resulted in, she received threats about rape and murder everyday. This reaction really shows how patriarchal the game industry is and how it should change (which I know it is, but y'know).
There was a big campaign here a few weeks ago about preventing eating disorders, foremost among young girls but also amongst men. There is an ongoing debate about anorexic/retouched/surgically enhanced fashion models in ads or on runways, and even though that might be a more contributing element to eating disorders than anime art it's still been on my mind. Even if you don't think actively about it, subconsciously you're going to get affected if you're constantly exposed to only one body ideal. I could defend my style and myself by saying that the reason why I solely draw very thin women and very fit men is because it is a stylized cartoon style that is not supposed to be realistic. But I still feel like that argument doesn't really add up. There's just no defensible explanation why 100% of my OCs have the same body type.I don't know if this makes any sense but have you ever thought about this? Do you reflect on these things when you draw? Do you think that this is a problem? I'm really curious about other artists point of view on this.