My Problem With Maid-Sama!

Thursday, November 28

By Andrea Nolen

Maid-Sama! is an anime I've recently stumbled upon. It's about a girl who's the class president of her school, which happens to have an 80% male student body. In her spare time, she works at a maid cafe serving men who love being called "master" and having girls serve them in skimpy costumes. She understands that this job is full of a bunch of men degrading her while she serves them food, but the job pays well which is all she cares about. She uses the money to help support her family because ever since her father left them, they've been struggling financially. It seems like this show would be an amazing series to uplift girls and show that they can be on the same level as men, supporting their families financially and having a job in charge of others, like student body president. So, what's my problem?

Maid-Sama! does exactly the opposite. It promotes a terrible image of feminism. This same image is why I choose not to identify with the current fourth-wave feminism our generation has established. The main character absolutely loathes men. I'll admit, I've made a few comments about me hating men in the past, but Misaki writes all of them off as the devil. She trashes them, won't listen to any of their ideas, and considers them all terrible human beings. There's a difference between being a strong feminist character and being, well, Misaki. She's almost TOO independent. She won't take help from anyone and criticizes their very existence.

However, I can almost say that she has the right to think this way. The men in this show are all sexist pigs and the one man she should be able to trust, her father, left her. Instead of making Misaki's love interest (Usui) a good guy, he's just like the rest of them. In only the second episode, he lifts her skirt up and makes a comment on her panties. He's the only one who knows about her job as a maid, besides three imbeciles who become obsessed with Misaki, and to repay him for keeping her secret, he asks her to be his personal maid for a day. Instead of understanding the reason she works as a maid and comforting her, he uses her secret against her for his own personal pleasure.

There is absolutely no character development to Usui and Misaki, they're just "sexist hot guy" and "overly dramatic 'strong' girl." That's it. We never get any real emotions out of Misaki. She doesn't talk much about the reason she hates men so much, or about her troubles with being in poverty. She just simply exists. It's the same thing for Usui, he has no real moments with Misaki that explain who he is, and his life before meeting her. They're the most basic and boring people on earth and their only personality traits are being bad people and the fact that they're an unlikely couple.

There's also a bunch of random sub-plots that make no sense to the actual story. This show has no purpose at all, and don't even get me started on how terrible the dubbed version is. If you're not familiar with anime, there are two different ways you can watch it: sub and dub. In other words, a version in Japanese with subtitles, or a version with dubbed over English. The English version gives Misaki a terrible voice which honestly makes her character even more annoying. They also translate the Japanese very poorly. If you decide to watch it, it's better to watch it in Japanese and read off the subtitles.

To end my rant, I want to finish off by recommending Sailor Moon. It has the cute and humorous vibe Maid-Sama is going for, but it actually has character development and showcases strong female leads. The relationship between Usagi and Mamoru has been criticized because of the age gap, how rude he was to Usagi before they fell in love, and other scummy things that I justify by saying, "it was Japan in the '90s," but it has so many scenes of the girls being strong and independent females.

​​​​​Honestly, I'd rather have my daughter watching a bunch of beautiful girls fighting off monsters and bad guys all while dealing with the struggles of being a teenage girl, than a show that oversexualizes girls while hiding behind a fake feminist agenda. At the end of the day, we need to start recognizing real feminism, even when we're just talking about silly animes. Maid-Sama! can't erase the damage it's already done. Young girls will watch it and think that men sexualizing girls and being controlling instead of strong and independent is okay, but it's not. I'm not saying you shouldn't enjoy this show, even I got some joy out of it, but we need to treat everything about it as a joke so that we aren't​ painting this show out to be the true message of feminism because it not only damages any progress we've made within our society, but it shows men that we shouldn't be taken seriously and promotes abusive behavior like looking up a girl's skirt.

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