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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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Credit: Podcastle

Credit: Podcastle

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

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Wandering Son, p. 112.

Wandering Son: What You Can’t See

Throughout this series, we’ve mentioned the difference between positive reactions to temporary, Carnival-esque cross-dressing and the transphobic and especially transmisogynistic negative reactions experienced by people who cross-dress more permanently or who are transgender. One of the best illustrations of this is Shimura Takako’s Wandering Son (Hôrô Musuko,「 放浪息子」), a manga and anime that feature several characters who are perceived to be cross-dressing by their community, when in fact several of them are dressing toward their gender identity (not cross-dressing). The show also features instances of socially acceptable cross-dressing (theatre) as a contrast to the transmisogyny experienced by an adult transwoman and a child designated male at birth (DMAB) on the cusp of puberty.

In this section, we’ll be discussing a manga and anime in which trans characters dressing toward their gender identity are perceived as cross-dressing, and will be using the terms “girls’ clothes” and “boys’ clothes” a lot. Please keep in mind that we mean this in the sense of culturally gendered clothing and school uniforms in a narrative about minors who are not out and who have to deal with transphobia in their schools and homes. An article of clothing itself, as comedian Eddie Izzard comments, is not inherently gendered, though the intent for it to be worn by (certain) cisgendered bodies is present.

Content warning: this section contains discussions of transphobia, transmisogyny, and sexism. There are also major spoilers for the anime and manga.

To briefly introduce the characters, Nitori Shûichi1 is a preteen who was designated male at birth and identifies as a girl. Her friend Takatsuki Yoshino is DFAB and identifies as a boy during elementary and junior high school.2 The manga follows Nitori and Takatsuki as they graduate elementary school, begin junior high school, and eventually enter high school; the anime focuses only on them in junior high school.

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Part 4: Gender Trouble and Phantom Femininities

In the final part of our essay, we’re going to move on to some of the more serious issues surrounding cross-dressing, specifically those involving social consequences and identity construction. We’ll begin by focusing on men who habitually crossdress as women before focusing on queer and transgender issues in manga involving characters cross-dressing against sex instead of gender.

Content warning: this section contains discussions of transphobia, transmisogyny, and sexism. 

 

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