Spoilers ahead for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations chapter 73!
Fans who were already upset with Naruto‘s unfortunate portrayal of Sakura felt like it was a slap in the face when Boruto continued to perpetuate similar female stereotypes, except with Hinata. Now, Boruto has unnecessarily introduced even more outdated conventions that undermine how strong female characters can actually be, not only in manga but fiction overall.
Although not perfect, Hinata had many accomplishments in Naruto that portrayed her as a strong, capable character. Not only did she stand up against the villain Nagato regardless of the high number of people who fell victim to his Paths of Pain, but she did so knowing he was more powerful than her and even though her comrades advised her to not even attempt it. Hinata’s chakra ever helped Naruto prevent the villain Toneri from sending the moon into the Earth in the film The Last: Naruto The Movie! The fact that she even became a shinobi at all is remarkable since her father never believed in her and even stripped Hinata of being able to lead their clan since he felt she was unsuited for the responsibility. Despite these many accomplishments, Boruto pushes Hinata’s character out of the story almost completely by forcing her into the role of a housewife who only appears randomly and without much consequence. Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with being a stay-at-home mom. But it’s ridiculous that no one has asked for her help and that the manga hasn’t shown her grappling with what was hopefully her decision to no longer defend her village.
What’s worse, chapter 72 of Boruto just went even further in reinforcing negative gender stereotypes. When her son Boruto is about to head off for a mission, Hinata can’t help but react out of fear, causing her to immediately apologize for not intending to be a mess when she knows that she should be sending him off with a smile. As Hinata wipes the tears from her eyes, it is Boruto who comforts her, reassuring his mother that he’ll be back no matter what.
Although it’s understandable for mothers to be worried about their children going to war, the manga goes out of its way to make Hinata look overly weak. She shouldn’t be so fragile that can’t comfort her own son and has to rely on him for support when he’s putting his own life in danger. Part of Hinata’s appeal in Naruto was her shyness and overall reticence but only because it created a cute dynamic between her and her future husband. Now that she’s an adult, these attributes no longer add to but detract from Hinata’s overall character. Since she’s been relegated to domestic life and can no longer exercise her bravery and strength on the battlefield, she needs to be able to channel these positive traits in the role that Boruto has forced upon her. She should be a strong mother who proudly watches as her son goes off to protect their village. It would also be beneficial if Hinata were put in the position to comfort Boruto who shouldn’t be so casually saying that everything will turn out alright even though he recently.
Although Boruto is continuing to perpetuate many of Naruto‘s worst tropes, at least the former spin-off series has already introduced a strong female character in Eida who is tearing down these unfortunate stereotypes with a vengeance. Now it’s just time to see these positive moves towards Hinata‘s character because after everything that happened in Naruto, she deserves it.
Read Boruto’s latest chapter now on Viz Media’s Shonen Jump app!