In this edition of the Lobster Dance Gender Reader: the politics of imperial marriage, separate technological spheres, terminology for types of men, and several pieces on the posing and posture of women in illustrations.
“Keep Females in Imperial Clan: Experts” by Masami Ito, The Japan Times
In the Imperial family, there are no provisions for matrilineal claims to the throne: if an Imperial woman “marries out” of Japanese royalty by marrying a “commoner,” as the men have been doing recently, she is no longer part of the family and any children she has will not be in line for the throne. This current debate about marriage and birthright follows the discussion in the ’00s about the Crown Prince’s daughter Aiko and absolute primogeniture, a debate silenced by the birth of Aiko’s cousin, Prince Akishino’s son and the only boy in the generation. Unfortunately for the social conservatives, the Imperial family’s gender imbalance is starting to look like Ôoku, and everyone seems pretty adamant that marriages to foreign royalty are just too weird. If only Aiko could step up and pull an Iemitsu!
“Life With and Without Animated Ducks: The Future Is Gender Distributed” by Cat Valenti, Charlie’s Diary
Valenti raises a lot of questions about what value Japanese companies place on technological innovation in different fields, particularly the sphere of gadgets versus home appliances. Having lived in both the country and the city, I personally think a lot of the technology gap is based on location, income, and the age of the building. (Also, dryers are energy-wasters. This is my 3rd year operating with no dryer at home and my 5th of dryer-refusal). However, the piece is thought-provoking, and Valenti makes good points about marketing, birth control, and ineffective heating.
We’ve all heard the dialogue about nikushoku danshi (carnivore men) and sôshoku danshi (herbivore men), but here are some more terms to add to your vocabulary. For instance,
“Gyoshoku Danshi” are not as aggressive as “Nikushoku Danshi.” They tend to be very patient and will wait until the woman they are attracted to starts to love them. They are usually smart and calm. There are various sub-categories for “Gyoshoku Danshi”—men who have bit of a wild streak are called the “Grilled fish with salt type;” men who think of themselves as all-knowing are the “Teriyaki type;” men who are patient are the “Boiled fish type;” while the narcissists are the “Meuniere type.”
“The Big Sexy Problem with Superheroines and Their ‘Liberated Sexuality'” by Laura Hudson, Comics Alliance
In one of the pieces that marked the beginning of the current dialogue about women’s portrayal in mainstream comics, Hudson dissects the difference between depicting confident, independent women and pretending blatant objectification is women’s lib:
This is not about these women wanting things; it’s about men wanting to see them do things, and that takes something that really should be empowering — the idea that women can own their sexuality — and transforms it into yet another male fantasy. It takes away the actual power of the women and turns their “sexual liberation” into just another way for dudes to get off.
“Gratuitous Sexiness in Comics” by Toranosuke, A Man with Tea
A life-long comic fan, Toranosuke discusses his feelings on the matter: what has been seen cannot be unseen. “There’s a difference between knowing, intellectually, that something is inappropriate, and having an emotional or gut reaction to it. For whatever reason, I really don’t know why, all of a sudden, yesterday, I had that gut reaction for the first time.”
Jim Hines, a fantasy author, attempts to recreate some of the poses on the cover art of fantasy novels with his own body: “I expected posing like Danielle to feel a little weird and unnatural. I did not expect immediate, physical pain from trying (rather unsuccessfully) to do the hip thing she’s got going on.” What I really like about this piece is his willingness to sacrifice some dignity to show us how ridiculous and and undignified the poses are–with costume changes. (Related: Men-Ups.) Choice quote: “MY BUTT! Let me show you it!”
Have reading suggestions for me? Send them my way in the comments!