Debunking Colleen Clinkenbeard’s Comments About Female Anime Characters “Being In The Background”

Dub Va Colleen Clinkebeard Believes Female Anime Characters Appeal To Men Too Much
Written by Theo J Ellis

It’s not the first time an American anime voice actor (or actress) has said something:

  • Out of context.
  • Untrue.
  • Disingenuous.
  • Hypocritical.

Or outright false because of cherry-picking and confirmation bias. But the latest opinion comes from Colleen Clinkenbeard, a woman who’s known for voicing characters like Erza Scarlet.

This very fact is what makes the opinion itself puzzling and more obviously politically motivated.

Let’s talk about it.


On how well anime caters to women:

“I think in more recent years the studios creating anime have done a better job incorporating female voices in the shonen anime and allowing shojo series to appeal to all viewers. That should be the direction we’re aiming for, I think. Not ‘Male anime’ and ‘Female anime,’ but anime with different flavors for every palette. The one thing I’d like to see change even more is the treatment of female characters in anime of all genres.”

In her own words, “I think not “male anime” and “female anime”, but anime with different flavors for every palette.”

Let’s dissect this shit.

This statement in particular is where I side eye it because it reeks of all the politically correct nonsense connected to gender (men and women).

The contradiction is by having anime aimed at BOYS or men, these anime can better cater to these same boys or men. In the same way, anime aimed at GIRLS or women can better cater to them as a demographic.

By separating it with the bullshit of “appeal to all viewers” you make it HARDER for an anime to cater its message to a specific demographic. Which is counterproductive and bad business.

Why would you wanna deprive men or women the contextual messages they can get from anime by making it generic?

Not only that but any businessman/woman worth their salt knows that catering to everyone means catering to NO ONE. 

It’s a dumb approach that guarantees shit results. America’s already proved it.


An ironic example

Using an anime like Fairy Tail as an example is ironic because Colleen Clinkenbeard is the voice actress behind Erza Scarlet herself.

In Fairy Tail, a shonen anime (shonen is aimed at boys) it not only has good male characters like:

  • Natsu Dragneel
  • Gray Fullbuster
  • Laxus Dreyar
  • Jellal Fernandes

And others, but it ALSO has solid female anime characters who make the anime so much better that it wouldn’t be the same without them.

Fairy Tail does all of this WITHOUT pandering to women, which is basically what Colleen and some women like her really want.

Pandering to any group to the point of it being political (like Americans like to do) only ruins a series and Disney + Hollywood’s foolishness over the years only makes this point loud and clear.

Anime doesn’t need it and it’s the reason why it’s good already.

Shonen is for boys/men and trying to take away from that goes against the equality tune people like Colleen like to sing and prat on about.

So her own “concern” and argument is defeated with one of the characters she herself voiced, and from the same anime she took part in.

It’s not like women don’t enjoy Shonen despite who it’s targeted to, just like I enjoy Shoujo even though I’m not the main demographic.

It’s simple, the agenda just tries to complicate it with superficial, grandstanding nonsense that’s more feelings than facts.


On female anime characters “appealing to men” too much

“Female characters are too often driven by their desire to appeal to men or support men, and too infrequently by their own motives and storylines. They also tend to end up in the background, waiting to be rescued or fixed in some way. I’d like to see more strength in the female characters we see in anime so both girls and boys watching anime as they grow up can find things to admire in those characters, rather than looking to the male leads for inspiration.

Obviously, there are exceptions to that rule!”

This is another quote taken from her article on Comicbook, a site rife with this sorta stuff.

In this case her point centers around female anime characters being too driven to their desire to appeal to men or support men. And needing to be saved or fixed.

Supporting men really isn’t an issue in itself. When you say things like this you need to give context otherwise it becomes a strawman or hyperbole.

Are the characters in a relationship? Are they friends? Is it a Shonen? In this context “supporting men” isn’t the bogyman it’s being made out to be.

Same thing about being saved, and the “fixed” comment goes both ways and there’s nothing wrong with it by itself.

Her other points relating to female anime characters “ending up in the background” just isn’t true for anyone who’s seen a sizeable amount of anime shows.

Again, no examples are given, it’s just words, claims, and a severe lack of context, and content that sounds good on the surface.

Even if we focus on Shonen from just last year 2021, this notion of female anime characters:

  • falling into the background
  • appealing to men or supporting male characters

and every other comment falls flat on its face. No one can take this seriously who REALLY understands anime, knows their anime, and pays attention to the anime industry.

This is even true if you dial the clock back 20 years to the 2000’s. It’s hyperbolic and has no basis in reality.

This is even more true if you focus on anime outside of Shonen, making the claim even more silly.


Talk is cheap

At the end of the day – anyone can talk and say what they want, but if you can’t back that shit up with some facts, examples, data, statistics, or something similar, then you don’t have a leg to stand on.

Articles written by Colleen Clinkenbeard or sites like Comicbook really must think people are too stupid to read in between the lines.

If there was a lot of points to back it up that would have been different, but leaving out context is a typical thing to do when peddling a narrative on a popular platform.


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