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Gender Issues as Presented in the Film, Ghost in the Shell

The 1999 article by Carlo Silvio, Refiguring the Radical Cyborg in Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell, is a detailed attempt to explicate the thematic influences of the Japanese animation film, Ghost in the Shell, primarily from the viewpoint of feminism ideology. Here, the most significant aspects of the said article can be based on the importance given by the author to two diverse yet pertinent arguments presented: The Radical Cyborg and Traditional Configurations of Sexual Difference.

The Radical Cyborg delves on the premise that the aforementioned film has been effective in presenting a protagonist in a culturally-resistant manner—“by deploying an Asian cyborg woman as the hero of its plot” (Silvio 1). This is entirely contradictory to the accepted norm, especially in Western societies, wherein masculinity has been the dominant theme that can be witnessed in the plot.

The said film then uses the characters as the medium from which to advance a particular scheme of gender role, especially when taking into consideration Donna Haraway’s social advocacy for a “utopian tradition of imagining a world without gender” (Silvio 1). In a gist, this episode presses forward a claim that high technology, particularly the internet, can create or at the very least significantly contribute to creating a society that has a marginalized bias on gender issues, especially on feminism.

On the other hand, Traditional Configurations of Sexual Difference seems to be a rebuttal of this argument by claming that the film itself is teeming with undertones on sexual predispositions, as exemplified in his observation on the character Kasunagi, as having “reinscribed within one of our most familiar paradigms of femininity: woman as sexual object for the enjoyment of the male gaze” (Silvio 1). Worth noting is the special interest given to the part in the film wherein the assimilation of Project 2051 and Kasunagi was already commencing, and where it was stated, “you will bear my offspring onto the net itself” (Silvio 1).

As the process involved assimilation and will not result to a new entity separate from themselves, this monologue is strongly suggestive of a gender role, wherein respective roles of a male and a female is given to the bearers of the new individual. Without question, the aforementioned film attests to Anne Belsamo’s claim that the internet and other forms of hi-technology can only “reproduce, in hi-tech guise, traditional narratives” (Silvio 1) pertaining to gender roles/issues.

Such is evident in the Radical Cyborg, wherein a society that is absent of any form of sexual prejudice cannot be attained in the virtual world of the internet. It is an escapable reality, as shown in the film, that one way or another, a speck of a segment will portray this gender conflict that although made vague by the seeming magnificence of the said technology, is still representative of several issues, such as feminine material objectivity and the possibility of the physical body to “transform…into something akin to coded information, thereby making it more…vulnerable to social control” (Silvio 1).

It is likewise clear that the presentation of the film through the Traditional Configurations of Sexual Difference is accurate, especially when taking as examples Silvio’s arguments on the portrayal of naked women in extensive amounts of time, when there was absolutely none on the male characters.

There is other use for the employment of this technique other than that of sexual enjoyment, whereby it can only augment the claim that is presented— that ultimately high technology does not possess the solution for the social bias on gender issues. Work Cited Silvio, Carl. Refiguring the Radical Cyborg in Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell. Depauw. edu. March 1999. 14 August 2010 <http://www. depauw. edu/sfs/backissues/77/silvio77. htm>

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