Sexism in Naruto: An Overview

Before I make any full posts in this series, I wanted to give a general idea of what I want to talk about. This will also help me gather my thoughts and refine what I had previously posted.

When the men and woman in Naruto are discussed, two areas normally receive focus. What is often brought up is the disparity in power, skills, and abilities, but that is secondary to some readers. Personally, I do care about the powers to some degree, but I care more about character development. I and many others have found that lacking in the females.

Often, when someone complains about the treatment of the females in Naruto, arguments ensue. One thing that is inevitably said is that there were males mishandled in the manga, too. That is true and those complaining about the ladies also acknowledge this. However, there is also a contention that the guys’ mistreatment is somehow different.

Of course, I don’t have to list all the male characters in Naruto, even those who played important parts in various arcs. That would take me some effort, and there are over 400 characters in the story anyway. And the males outnumber the females 4 to 1 by my rough estimates. This isn’t necessarily a complaint.

Now, many of us who have followed the story can immediately pinpoint those guys who were utterly mistreated. The first male characters who fit description are of course from Naruto’s Generation (namely the “Konoha 12/13”). Others include the villains, some kage, and other characters with relatively high standing.

I think I should break this section down into parts. When I started putting down my thoughts on each character, I realized that this run a little long. I should probably add images, too, for the purposes of presentation. The section for the women may take 1-2 posts, but there are fewer characters to discuss and much of the material will be reposted from my earlier thoughts.

The posts in each section will be a rundown of males and females in Naruto for what I feel is a net-negative development for each. Of course, spoilers abound for those who haven’t read Naruto, or at least watched the anime.

Characters I won’t count: It’s a given that the actual fodder don’t count, because that’s what they’re there for. I also wouldn’t count a minor character like Shisui, Fugaku, and Hanzo even though I feel their demises were pretty pathetic. I wouldn’t necessarily count a character with a tortured soul, as that kind of character could be handled properly.

In my opinion, the worst treated characters include those who were ignored and underdeveloped with respect to their appearances in the manga. Others were sacrificed, literally or figuratively, for the plot.

Past the first two sections, I will quote a number of lines said by Kishimoto’s characters to demonstrate their views on the opposite (or the same) sex. Of course, I will provide context to those quotes as well.

Next, I will provide quotes from interviews Kishimoto has given. These are not just about gender, but pertinent thoughts on the characters I will be discussing.

After that, I will take some time to weigh the differences in overall treatment. Some new information may be added.

Finally, I plan to talk directly about the Naruto fandom. In particular, there are things that need to be said about the reaction to this discussion and general behavior by some on one side of the issue.


Have any thoughts on the subject? Time’s yours.

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