In this month’s gender reader: the social training that turns both men and women against women; the radical notion that Imperial women are people; looking back on AIDS awareness; and messages of hope for Japan’s LGBT youth.
“5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women,” by David Wong, Cracked
I don’t usually think of Cracked as a feminist resource, but David Wong’s article is a fresh look on how hegemonic masculinity in modern pop culture turns women into objects. I’ve read heaps of articles on this topic, but few in the non-academic media are so cutting. Choice quote: “But remember, there are two ways to dehumanize someone: by dismissing them, and by idolizing them.”
“Ashley Judd Slaps Media in the Face for Speculation Over Her ‘Puffy’ Appearance” by Ashley Judd, The Daily Beast
Case in point: an attractive actress goes on steroid medication and gets blasted by the media for having a puffy face (horrors), then proceeds to fight back with her own response. Having being on steroid medication for several years in my youth, I can tell you that the unpleasant side effects do not end with “moon face.” Choice quote: “We are described and detailed, our faces and bodies analyzed and picked apart, our worth ascertained and ascribed based on the reduction of personhood to simple physical objectification.”
“Limits Eyed For Female Imperial Branches,” The Japan Times
To continue one of last month’s themes, one recent debate in Japan is whether Imperial women are still Imperial if they marry commoners, as the royal men of a number of countries, Japan included, have been doing. Might I remind you all what Yoshimune notes in vol. 7 of Ôoku: that paternal hereditary systems are ridiculous, as the mother is most obvious biological factor? (Even with modern science’s paternity tests, who can really prove an unbroken paternal line?)
“Conservative Experts Slam Female Imperial Branches” by Masami Ito, The Japan Times
Yet another reason why the koseki registry system is broken. Choice quote: “‘We must firmly admonish any sort of legal revisions that could force a fundamental change of our nation’s Imperial family, which has a long history,’ Sakurai said.” Read: “We can’t establish maternal lines because women are not people.”
Our History in Photos. San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
In other and better news, here are two links from the sexual minority front. The San Francisco AIDS Foundation has published a photographic archive of AIDs and HIV awareness and prevention efforts, which is a really powerful visual history.
And to leave this post on a high note, here is Kimi no mama de ii (君のままでいい), “You’re Fine the Way You Are,” a project for to support Japan’s queer youth. This Japanese-language site features letters from adults to middle- and high schoolers who may be questioning or feel conflicted about their sexuality or gender identity to tell them that they are not alone. This is like a cross between Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project and Post Secret for Japanese kids. Submission guidelines are here. Choice quote: 決してひとりではないこと、世の中にはたくさんの味方がいることを、子どもたちに気づかせてあげてください。(“We want show children two things: you are by no means alone; you have plenty of allies in this world.”)
Have reading suggestions for me? Send them my way in the comments!