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Leah:

My co-panelist Kathryn over at Contemporary Japanese Literature took the time out of her summer of research and writing to do a summary post of the essay version of our panel on cross-dressing, which I am reblogging here.

Some final notes: I have wanted to write about this topic for a long time, and Kathryn has been an incredible resource, motivator, sounding-board, supporter, and editor. It’s been a treat being her co-panelist and collaborator on this project. Since my own research lies in performing masculinities, I’ve enjoyed learning about performing femininities from her, and I hope we’ve been able to discuss effectively the pitfalls and triumphs of series that feature cross-dressing.

Kathryn’s own work in the field of gender and media studies is incredibly important, and her blog about Japanese literature in translation is a wonderful resource. Check it out here: http://japaneselit.net/

Originally posted on Contemporary Japanese Literature:

This past April, the ever-amazing Leah of The Lobster Dance and I gave a panel on cross-dressing in anime and manga at Sakura-Con in Seattle. Because we had an enormous turnout and not enough time to say everything we wanted to say, we decided to expand our talk and post it online.

Our essay is meant to be friendly and welcoming to newcomers to the fascinating field of Gender Studies, but readers should be advised that some portions of this essay contain mild spoilers for the series under discussion. For those of you who are looking for recommendations for anime, manga, and formal academic scholarship, feel free to jump ahead to our conclusion in Part Seven.

Dan Savage Drawn by Ellen Forney

Part One
The Superpositionality of Gender

Gender plays a strong role in the life of each and every human individual from the moment of birth, even despite our difficulties in defining what “gender”…

View original 918 more words

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Wrap-Up: The Endless Potential of Gender Performance

 

Source unknown, related to this

Source unknown, related to this

 

Cross-dressing can help us see beyond gender binaries, and studying other cultures in a respectful way can help us understand more about how gender expression varies from culture to culture. We endeavored to provide a brief history of ideas about gender and cross-dressing in Japanese culture as well some general gender theory to create a framework for discussing the characters and tropes in manga and anime. Continue Reading »

The Writing Process

David of DBCII and Comparative Geeks nominated me for The Writing Process Blog Tour. Normally I’m a little shy about meta-blogging, but I think that this is a really interesting look at bloggers “behind the scenes,” and I enjoyed writing it. We’ve been geeking out together for 10 years now, and it’s always fun to compare notes.

The Rules

In the words of Gene’O:

The rules are very simple and, if I may say so, designed to not require a lot of work, which I truly appreciate:

  1. Link to the blogger before,
  2. answer 4 questions,
  3. and nominate 3 bloggers to keep the hop going.

Continue Reading »

Ôoku: Cross-Dressing in a Matriarchy

Part 5 here.

We’ve already discussed several speculative fiction pieces with cross-dressing characters in them. Yet, where a piece like BeruBara focuses on alternate history by adding in a few fictional characters to actual historic events, the world portrayed by Yoshinaga Fumi in Ôoku (大奥) is an alternate history in which most of the historical figures’ genders have been swapped. The author’s use of speculative fiction serves to illustrate contemporary issues of gender and sexism by showing them to us through a tilted mirror. How does cross-dressing function in a gender-swapped world?

Content: this section contains mild spoilers for the manga series Ôoku, and some spoilers specific to the plots of the Iemitsu (vol. 2-4) and the Ieshige-Ieharu arcs (vol. 8-10). The spoilers are primarily events that occur in the first volumes of each story arc (vol. 2 and vol. 8). (Keep in mind that because this is historical fiction, general information about said historical figures will contain some spoilers.) Some discussion of misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, and domestic violence. All images safe for work.

Ooku, Vol. 2, p. 117.

Iemitsu and Arikoto. Ooku, Vol. 2, p. 117.

Continue Reading »

Interrupting the series again for breaking news:

The Mary Sue merger has me feeling a bit like Obi-Wan today. 

You were the chosen one!

Source unknown, but memetastic.

Let me explain.

The Mary Sue, popular geek website for geek women by geek women, merged with Geekosystem, a sister site from Abrams Media. The merger was a decision from the top, and it’s been handled unbelievably poorly by everyone involved. I had seen the notices that it was going to happen but didn’t have time to check things out until toranosukev from Nubui Kuduchi showed me this.

About What Exactly?

Regarding the merger, an announcement like the following would have been the best call:

Continue Reading »

Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945
Seattle Asian Art Museum
http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibitions/deco
May 10 – Oct. 19, 2014

Seattle Asian Art Museum | The Lobster Dance

 

I meant to review this show when I saw it in May, so we’re taking another quick break from the ongoing series so I can finish this review in a timely fashion.

Jazz. Gin. Short hair and short skirts. The modern girl. The rise of film, and the advent of skyscrapers and air travel. After World War I, the world was changing rapidly. With the machine age came an increased emphasis on speed.

 

The art world answered with Art Deco, which had a driving energy that found expression in its use of themes from cultures all over the world, wild appropriation of other art forms, and graphic designs with fast lines that could be adapted and used on everything from housewares to posters, and for everything from politics to advertising.

By World War II, Art Deco had left its mark on almost every medium of visual art.

Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920–1945, with nearly 200 works, reveals the widespread and particular impact of Art Deco on Japanese culture. Through a wide range of mediums—sculpture, painting, prints, ceramics, lacquerware, jewelry, textiles, furniture, and graphic ephemera—this exhibition introduces the spectacular craftsmanship and sophisticated designs of Japan’s contribution to the movement.

Shown in our gem-like 1933 Art Deco building, Deco Japan offers you the rare opportunity to experience the full range of Deco artistry in a period setting.

Continue Reading »

Credit: Podcastle

Credit: Podcastle

For fans of fantasy fiction, I’ve got guest post up on Have You Nerd? about Podcastle:

Continue Reading »

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