The Ideal Ghibli Women: Violent Redheads and Single Mothers
Back in December, a Japanese poll asked 1,000 people (700 women and 300 men) to name their favorite female Studio Ghibli characters, the ones that "best embody the characteristics that women aspire to. Both genders picked the moody Redhead with the violent mood swings. Interesting findings.
I can understand why guys would want a strong, confident and aggressive person like Nausicaa. I hail from Minnesota, after all. Our girls play ice hockey and win championships (go Gophers). But what really makes me chuckle is that Nausicaa is the number one pick from women. Don't let the stereotypically polite, demure appearance fool you; these gals are probably looking to bust some heads. And when we look at Japan's population decline, I'm guessing they have to tolerate a lot of clueless, clumsy boys.
Protip for all the males in Japan: Hurry up and learn some skills, boys. Put down the toys and the video games, and learn to impress the gals before they beat you up and take your lunch money. Hah, hah.
Well, that's worth a chuckle. Back to the Ghibli "Ideal Woman" poll. For the most part, it's a standard sampling of Miyazaki characters. The men's picks are, frankly, a bit boring. Sheeta (Castle in the Sky) probably fits the "damsel in distress," so there's an appeal, but Kiki and Shizuku (Mimi/Whisper)? Those are very much girls' coming-of-age movies. Porco Rosso's Gina is a singer and owns her own business, but she's also a very lonely character, who escapes into a series of doomed marriages because her one true love is too being a self-loathing pig to notice. I'm not sure what this suggests about the men in the poll.
Meanwhile, the women pick San, the Mononoke Hime? She's basically Nausicaa's aggressive, darker side (Ashitaka, conversely, embodies all of Nausicaa's gentler, more "feminine" virtues). And at the end of the picture, she tells the boy that, sorry, I need my space. Ouch.
Osano, the pregnant owner of the bakery in Kiki's Delivery Service, is an interesting pick. Am I the only one who honestly thought she was a single mother? Is that cook her husband? Family or friend? Co-worker? The movie (in its original Japanese) never explicitly declares anything, one way or another. I may be wrong on this one, but that was always my honest impression, and I greatly admired the movie for its honesty. It's a good lesson for girls, don't you agree? Your life doesn't revolve around men. You can take command of your own life. Heck, even if the cook is Osano's husband, she's clearly the one in charge.
Here's the complete rankings from the poll. I'm interested to hear your opinions. Feel free to tell me I'm completely bonkers in my hypothesis, by the way.
1) 20.0% - Nausicaä (Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind)
2) 18.9% - Osono (Kiki's Delivery Service)
3) 15.0% - Sheta (Castle in the Sky
4) 13.1% - San (Princess Mononoke
5) 11.7% - Kiki (Kiki's Delivery Service
1) 18.7% - Nausicaä (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind)
2) 17.3% - Sheta (Castle in the Sky)
3) 13.0% - Kiki (Kiki's Delivery Service)
4) 11.7% - Shizuku Tsukishima (Mimi wo Sumaseba/Whisper of the Heart)
5) 09.0% - Gina (Porco Rosso)