In this gender reader: more on Abenomics, Disney dimorphism, video games before gendered marketing, and more.
Mind the Gap
Ayako Kano and Vera Mackie. “The gender fault-line in Japan.” East Asia Forum. 3 Nov. 2012.
Thanks to Kathryn for both Kano-Mackie links!
The effects of disasters are mediated by a society’s existing structures and thus reveal its fault lines. Although disaster planning since 2005 has explicitly noted the question of gender and national Plans for Gender Equality have explicitly mentioned disaster response, only 3.6 per cent of disaster preparedness council members at prefectural level were women. A quarter of prefectures had no female members at all.
In many of the communities affected by the tsunami and its aftermath women were in charge of caring for others, and so had to deal with the short supply of sanitary napkins and nappies (for babies as well as for the elderly), infant formula and baby food.
—. “Is Shinzo Abe really a feminist?” East Asia Forum. 13 Nov. 2013.
The LDP has been rated by the Women’s Action Network as being among the worst of all political parties in Japan when it comes to gender issues. The LDP has only been supportive of gender policies when they could be directly linked to economic growth and boosting the birth rate. In Abe’s UN speech and in his actual policy decisions, ‘womenomics’ is a policy for recharging the economy and refortifying the nation, not for improving the situation of women.
Lauren Duca. “Cultural Appropriation 101, Featuring Geisha Katy Perry And The Great Wave Of Asian Influence.” The Huffington Post. 25 Nov. 2013.
“Here are some FAQs to guide you through the travesty of the EPCOT world showcase that is Top 40 in 2013.”
The Princess is in Another Castle
These articles focus more on the US side of things but for companies in both the US and Japan with huge international presences: Disney, Nintendo, Ghibli, etc.
Tracey Lien. “No Girls Allowed: Unraveling the story behind the stereotype of video games being for boys.” Polygon. 2 Dec. 2013.
NECESSARY READING. This in-depth, beautifully designed and written article explores the roots of video games and gendered marketing. As a child of the 90s, I never saw the marketing of the first games, and this was a real eye-opener. This article is an incredibly important example of how culture creates gendered divisions and how gender “norms” are not static at all. Many thanks to redcow for sharing the link with me.
The video game industry created something of a chicken-and-egg situation. When it conducted market research during the ’80s and ’90s, it found that more boys than girls played video games. Boys were more likely to be involved with new technology, more willing to be early adopters and more encouraged by their teachers and families to pursue science, technology, engineering and math in school. Girls have always played video games, but they weren’t the majority. In wake of the video game crash, the game industry’s pursuit of a safe and reliable market led to it homing in on the young male. And so the advertising campaigns began. Video games were heavily marketed as products for men, and the message was clear: No girls allowed.
Kathryn also shared this article with me. Feminist Disney is a great example of how to created detailed ratings for films based on intersectional feminism: “Promotion/Equal Voice given to women, Representation of Women present, Racism/Classism, LGBTQ representation, and Gender Binary adherence.” This review also reviews other reviews of the film.
It’s not accidental at all that children’s films challenging sexism are ALWAYS set in the distant past and usually involve conflicts that are not relevant or particularly value challenging to today’s U.S. audience (corsets and otherwise constraining clothing, arranged marriages, etc). These plotlines often situate sexism as a problem the modern world has solved.
Hannah Strom. “Is the New Disney Princess Movie ‘Frozen’ Worth Seeing?” Bitch Magazine. 3 Dec. 2013.
Speaking of Disney, here are some feminist pros and cons of Frozen.
Philip N. Cohen. “Disney’s dimorphism, ‘Help! My eyeball is bigger than my wrist!’ edition.” Family Inequality. 16 Dec. 2013.
A look at male- vs. female wrist size in Frozen and the US military.
—. “Can animated boys and girls be (almost) the same size?” Family Inequality. 23 Dec. 2013.
The follow-up to the prior article with some examples of animation, including Disney’s, that has a more balanced representation of body size. I get that animated bodies are often exaggerated, but it’s useful to look at how the exaggeration happens and if there’s a difference in characters based on their sex or gender identity. (Genderqueer examples: Oscar and Andre’s [Berubara] physical similarity to each other; meanwhile, Utena’s physical similarity to Anthy and their smallness compared to upperclassmen guys [Revolutionary Girl Utena].)
And Something Fun
Telling entitled and often sexist advice-column letter-writers what they actually wanted to hear–with a lot of sarcasm.