ACMI Conversations

Anime and Feminism

Scroll to content

About the talk

Are the heroines of modern anime confronting the stereotyped female characters that preceded them? Or are they still designed merely to service the fantastical and unrealistic desires of male fans?

In this traditionally male-dominated genre, the growing trend of empowered female protagonists is a welcome development. Still, there’s no shortage of anime productions that feature excessive ‘fan-service’ – highly objectified representations of women. For every baddass heroine like Princess Mononoke’s San, there are the subjugated female characters in Keijo, designed purely for the male gaze.

Join academics, critics and cultural commentators to unravel anime’s approach to women and test whether it could become a new ground for feminism.  

About the panel

Jessica McCallum
Jessica McCallum currently works with Madman Entertainment, a Melbourne founded and leading Australian independent entertainment company. As the Head of Social Media and Anime Marketing, Jess is responsible for social media strategies and marketing initiatives. She has played an instrumental part in propelling the growth of Madman's anime audience and community by developing effective and engaging campaigns for key product categories and releases. Working alongside peers who are pushing the organisation in exciting new directions, both in theatrical (Your Name, A Silent Voice), national anime festivals and direct-to-consumer digital streaming via AnimeLab, Jess is extremely passionate about bringing the latest and greatest anime content to Aussie and NZ fans.

Phillip Brophy
Philip Brophy curated the first major retrospective of manga artist Osamu Tezuka for the National Gallery of Victoria in 2006. The exhibition toured to the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco the following year. In 2005, he was commissioned to write “100 Anime” for the British Film Institute in London. In previous years he has curated film retrospective programmes for the Melbourne International Film Festival on Tezuka (1995) and Studio Ghibli (1997). He interviewed Hayao Miyazaki in Tokyo for the exhibition he curated on Japanese and American animation for the Museum of Contemporary Art, “Kaboom!” (1993). He has been published extensively in international journals on anime and manga.

Nikki Lam
Nikki Lam is a visual artist, curator and programmer based in Melbourne. Working primarily with the moving image, she is passionate about the cross-sections of screen cultures, media arts and representations. Born in Hong Kong, she is interested in exploring the translations of post-colonial identities and narratives in the hybrid world, often through the studies of rituals, language, time and space. She is the former Artistic Director of Channels Video Art Festival (2014-2016) and has worked in a range of arts organisations including Footscray Community Arts Centre, Peril Magazine and Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT). She is currently ACMI X Coordinator for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Nikki grew up with anime in Hong Kong and would consider the medium as the fundamental ingredient of her formative years.