This is how great Princess Mononoke is. It is so great that I couldn’t contain all my fangirl feels into just one post.
Because while San is awesome, so is Lady Eboshi.
Look at her. Just Look.
She is in charge of the richest Iron town in the country. She took in brothel girls and gave them a safe place to live and work and be happy. She took in LEPERS and gave them a purpose and a sanctuary. She’s so bad ass that war lords don’t stand a chance. GODS don’t stand a chance. She personally kills not one, but TWO mother fucking GODS in this movie. And in the end, she sees reason. She’s not ambitious to the point of insanity. She just wants what is best for the people she’s in charge of.
She’s snarky and awesome, and designs guns, and kicks ass AND empowers OTHER women as well. She’s caring too, empathetic. She’s kind of the villain of the movie, and yet she’s not a villain at all. While San is all feral and nature and wild, Eboshi is humanity and civilization embodied. Not evil. Not good. Complex and wonderful, empowered and powerful.
part of the reason that Princess Mononoke is my favourite Ghibli film of all time, probably my favourite anime movie of all time as well though Ghost in the Shell is almost there.
I loved Princess Mononoke almost solely for the fact that Miyazaki made it difficult to choose a side to root for. Both are complex and sympathetic, yet stubborn and ignorant of each other, and it’s a rare pro-environmental film that refuses to take the path so many lesser directors take by stripping humanity as a whole down into callous villains.
Favorite movie of all time forever and always.
:/ Princess Mononoke is okay, but it’s not my favorite.
My favorite Miazaki (also Ghibli) film is Nausicaa. Like Eboshi, Nausicaa is a strong and confident woman. She helps to lead her people when they need her to, repeatedly saves the dude who’s trying to protect her, and pretty much ends the entire conflict by herself.
But unlike Eboshi, she isn’t a dude whom happens to have a chick’s body. Eboshi is excruciatingly masculine which, in my mind, takes away from the “Strong Woman” archetype. You could change Lady Eboshi’s design to a dude and it wouldn’t affect the movie at all. On the other hand, while being the main hero and leader in the story, Nausicaa retains her femininity, and in a very clear and overt manner.
Lady Eboshi is a female that’s in charge.
Nausicaa is a WOMAN through and through, and you never forget it even for a second.
First of all, I would completely disagree that Eboshi isn’t feminine. She’s very elegant. She dresses in traditional woman’s clothing.
Seriously. To ignore that Eboshi is a woman seems rather…absurd.
Secondly, even if Eboshi had strictly masculine traits, so what? Isn’t part of feminism saying that women need not be constrained by gender roles? Isn’t part of empowerment the ability for women to act however they want and not be judged harshly by it?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately since I started this blog. I understand that there’s something very empowering in seeing very feminine women becoming empowering by their femininity. But isn’t there something just as empowering in a women breaking free from gender roles and being empowered in non-traditional ways?
It’s…kind of…cissexist, isn’t it? To suggest that to be a woman is to act “feminine”, and for a woman to act “masculine” is WRONG?
Naussica is amazing too of course.
You misunderstand me. I’m not saying that Eboshi is a bad character, I’m saying that she’s not a particularly good “Strong Female” character. I’m not saying anything is wrong with how she acts, I’m saying I prefer a different character with a different character archetype inn a similar role far more than her.
First, I’m a male. As, despite what some people seem to think, I’m a DECENT human being, the only big dealings I’ve had with “Feminism” are women grouping me in with rapists and abusive boyfriends/husbands. So speaking about it really does put a sour taste in my mouth. Second, I’m bad at explaining things. As I’ve had to say multiple times, just because I find one thing more attractive/entertaining/better/etc…than a second thing, it doesn’t mean I think the second thing is bad. I use a lot of harsh language, but that’s just the way I talk. I need to work on my communication skills, I know. Re-read what I said; despite my harsh language I never said that being a masculine female was wrong, and I have not believed that since I was about ten.
Eboshi a well characterized “leader” character that happens to be female. She is a good character, and develops well over the course of the movie. But she doesn’t strike me as a “Female leader” character because, again, she acts too masculine to qualify for that characterization. I’m not saying being masculine is bad, I’m saying she exhibits a quality that excludes her from a certain characterization that I very much enjoy.
I enjoy when people write females that are good leaders without having to resort to a masculine characterization. Perhaps this stems from the fact that while I’m straight, I can’t stand completely submissive females, and seeing a strong feminine character brings back good memories. I’m not sure. All I know is that I enjoy when female leaders are characterized as strong and feminine rather than being a masculine leader that happens to be female.
Again, I’m not saying that Eboshi is bad. She is well characterized and her development in the story feels natural. Additionally, the story hints at depths of her already existing character that could easily be stories in and of themselves, leaving the viewer free to imagine the rest of her life.
What I’m saying is that I prefer Nausicaa over her due to me favoring a certain character archetype above…pretty much all others (except for Jerkass with a Heart of Gold, either gender. If you can really pull that off, it’s awesome).
I’m not even going to get into your “I’m a male AND a decent person!” comment because that’s a can of worms I don’t want to open and is wildly off topic. But I continue to disagree that Eboshi is coded in a masculine way.
In fact it makes me wonder exactly what YOU have coded as feminine vs masculine.
That she’s a strong leader? Good in battle? Competent? That she’s inspirational?
What exactly about her codes her as masculine to you?
Dressing with your gender role, while an aspect, is not all there is to femininity. Masculine (male) and feminine (female) I define as typical characteristics associated with the respective genders.
Eboshi is violent. Ruthless towards anyone she even thinks about defining as an enemy, at least as far as I remember. She looks for peace not through diplomacy, but as the end result of chaos and destruction. She revels in being a badass and is obsessed about expanding and conquering. Despite the fact that the “war” is against the forest, she is a warlord through and through, only pulling back when it’s clear that her efforts are bringing more harm than good.
Nausicaa seeks to understand. She fights when it’s necessary for defense or for when people have crossed a line (like invading her village, so she starts kicking soldier ass). She looks for solutions through peace and reason rather than elimination. She is a diplomat in a world full of warriors.
And yes, I’m fully aware that I’m defining my gender through an obsession with violence. Just because I accept something doesn’t mean I like it.
Eboshi is also DEEPLY defined by her nurturing nature though. She takes in brothel girls and lepers and gives them a purpose and safe places. Her first and foremost goal is to defend Iron Town.
Her empathy and compassion for the most marginalized groups in her society is what complicates her as a character, and is what allows the movie to avoid simplistic GOOD VS EVIL themes in the end.
Yes, Eboshi is violent, but her violence is aimed at helping and defending the people she has taken responsibility over. Which is….actually very MOTHERLY.
It seems to me like you may have an over-simplified reading of Eboshi.
…no. I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. About the defending her town, at least.
True, she does have a nurturing side. Yes, she takes care of her citizens. That’s why she’s a leader. I’m not arguing that she’s not a leader. I’m not in any way saying, implying, or thinking about her being a bad leader.
I’m not oversimplifying Eboshi. I’m not confused. Rather, you seem to be confusing Motherly with being a good leader.
My sole argument, the only thing I’m arguing, with no implications whatsoever, only referring to what I say and nothing else, not reading into anything. Is that she’s not feminine.
I’m not saying she’s bad. I’m not saying masculinity is bad. I’m not saying a lack of femininity makes her bad. I’m not saying that she’s ineffective. I’m not saying she’s unlikeable. I’m not saying that she’s a poorly constructed character.
Not. Not. Not. Not. FUCKING NOT!!!
The ONLY! thing I’m saying is that she’s not feminine. Which she’s not.
She’s not about defense of her town, not until the VERY end when her town itself is threatened. She’s about expansion. She’s not about expansion through trying to deal with the Gods, she’s about expansion by killing the things that are hindering her expansion. She is violent. That’s the base problem in the movie. Lady Eboshi isn’t content with her town how it is, so she’s expanding her town’s works and deforesting. The gods don’t like her deforesting, so they attack her when she’s clearly obsessed about expansion. She’s not the defender, she’s the instigator. There is no way to rationally argue the opposite.
Not bad. Not a horrible leader. Not even unlikeable, I do enjoy her character. Her characterization, however, is not feminine. I enjoy feminine heroines that are characterized without femininity getting in the way of their badassery, like Nausicaa, more than any other character archetype.
I like A more than B because B isn’t X. I am not saying B is bad. I’m not saying that B should be ignored. I just prefer Y to X, and A is Y. So I like A better. Is that easier to understand? Because for some reason you and everyone seem to think I’m saying B is bad.
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