Today I’d like to share with you all some blog posts and articles about gender and culture that I’ve found quite interesting. Topics covered: the terminology of describing pairing, male privilege in geekdom, a new and awesome interpretation of Sailor Moon‘s girl power, target audiences for yuri/BL, and sexual imagination as cultural.
I hope to make this round-up regular feature on this site–maybe monthly or bimonthly. Readers, what do you think?
In no particular order:
“Marriage Rights Writ Wrong” by Philip Cohen on Family Inequality
Cohen’s blog is one of the first I started following when I joined WordPress, and when he coined the terms homogamous and heterogamous as alternatives to “same-sex” and “uh, not same-sex?” to describe couples and marriages, I adopted them immediately. In fact, I’m actually the commenter he cites as being confident in my terms on this post about the results of a reader poll he conducted about use of the terms. My advice: adopt them now.
Great dissection of sexism in geek culture/fandoms and a detailed breakdown of deflection/denial/dismissal techniques.  And O’Malley lists Nausicaa as a heroine in a non-ridiculous outfit! (Apologies for prior statement; I can’t read, apparently).
“Sailor Moon and Femininity” by Kathryn Hemmann on Contemporary Japanese Literature
As for girl power and often criticized female-centric works, Hemmann takes a different approach to her discussion of sex and gender in Sailor Moon: instead of focusing on short skirts and the male gaze as the only means of understanding this cultural phenomenon, she discusses the meaning of the show to its intended viewers and female fans.
“YuriYuri Is Not Lesbian” by A Day Without Me on Gar Gar Stegosaurus
“Yuri and BL are largely meant as performances for the sexual quirks of mainstream, heterosexual audiences…. They are meant to thrill heterosexual audiences and nothing more.”
Come to think of it, my favorite manga with queer themes –particularly Kinou, Nani Tabeta? by Yoshinaga Fumi–almost never have sex scenes in them. (Ôoku, of course, is an exception, but the sex is heterogamous pairings even if it’s not heteronormative in the least.) The blogger has written several articles on this, but if you aren’t familiar with the concept, think of a book you read in which a character has a well developed (or developing) non-straight sexual identity or a non-heteronormative gender presentation. Now think of mainstream girl-on-girl pornography. (And there go my search terms for this site!) Day and night, night and day.
“Otaku, Cat Ears, and AKB48″ by W. David Marx on NeoJapanism
As for the male gaze and sexual preference, a pithy and deadly accurate piece on how culture shapes of our sexual imagination from NeoJapanism.
Have reading suggestions for me? Send them my way in the comments!