Anime Anastasiya-- Good for the feminists?

Anastasiya Shpagina (left), a real, live anime girl.

Obtained via Facebook.

“To me, being Jewish has always been aligned with women’s empowerment and multiculturalism. As the daughter of an Israeli landscaper (dad) and an American rabbi (mom), I grew up believing that cultures could coexist, and women could be whatever we wanted.”

These are the words of Ophira Edut, writer, designer, and entrepreneur who has spent her career creating groundbreaking media projects focused on teens, women, and multicultural issues. Ophira is one of many women spotlighted in JWA’s online exhibit: “Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution.” She is also the editor of the book Body Outlaws: Young Women Write About Body Image & Identity and founder of the magazine Hues whose mission it was to "create a space where beauty came in many forms and women got to tell their own stories.”

I thought of Ophira yesterday when I discovered Anastasiya Shpagina—the 5ft 2 inch, 85 pound, 19-year-old woman who, through artfully applied make-up, has turned herself into a walking, talking, Russian doll; though not the matryoshka nesting dolls where one fits neatly into the next, but more along the lines of a Japanese anime character. I wondered what is Anastisiya’s story? Is she doing a radically different version of “outlaw”?

In the exhibit, Ophira states that she believes that “freedom alone made HUES a contribution to feminism.” I dare you to use the F-word, folks—“Freedom.” In an ironic reversal, is Anastasiya’s persona a feminist statement?

The exhibit closes with Ophira's statement in reference to Hues: “We expressed a message with humor, flavor, and strength – that beautiful, intelligent women come in many forms and have much to say.”

I’m curious, what do you think Anastasiya is “saying” with her make-up and grooming choices? What is her story?

Watch the make-up tutorial from Anastasiya.

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How to cite this page

Orcha, Gabrielle. "Anime Anastasiya-- Good for the feminists?." 3 October 2012. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on November 28, 2022) <https://jwa.org/blog/anime-anastasiya-good-for-feminists>.

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