In this gender reader: Japanese underwear, 47 ronin, gendered weight trends, K-pop’s “Lolitocracy,” women on the Internet, and Ladies Against Humanity.
Jonathan Dresner. “The Many Things ’47 Ronin’ Gets Wrong About Shogun-Era Japan (And the One Thing It Gets Right).” History News Network. 30 Dec. 2013.
This trainwreck of a movie gets a mention because of the gendered ideals placed on male samurai and the sexualized female characters. Shibasaki Koh, you are the Yoshimune of my heart and you can do better. I still hold that out of all the versions of the Ako Incident, Yoshinaga Fumi did it best in Ôoku, with Lady Kira and MRA bumpkin Asano. (But what did you expect me to say?)
Success or failure, financial or artistic, is less important to me than the question of what sort of effect the movie might have on the historical awareness and understanding of viewers, many of whom may well be in my classrooms in the future…. Nearly everything in the movie, from a cultural and historical standpoint, is questionable or wrong….It perpetuates the myth of samurai as “master swordsmen” and “protectors” and the conclusion praises them for enacting “the old ways of Bushido” as though there were a continuous tradition which had degraded in the contemporary age (but which the Shogun had no desire to actually revive), and suggests that the 47 Ronin are widely honored today in Japan rather than considered an historical curiosity revived briefly by fascist nationalism over half a century ago. (emphasis mine)
For more in this vein on the actual lives of samurai and the myth of bushidô, check out “Jonathan Dresner on the movie ’47 Ronin'” on A Man with Tea.
Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.
Change in proportion of Japanese overweight and underweight over last 20 years | 日本人の肥満とやせの状況の推移（20歳以上) (Data covers 1987 – 2007)
2012 National Survey of Health and Nutrition Overview. Section 2.1: Overweight and Underweight. 平成24年 国民健康・栄養調査結果の概要. 2.1 肥満及びやせの状況 (pdf) p. 11 (Data covers 2011-12)
Via MariInTokyo. The percentage of underweight women, mostly in their 20s and 40s, is rising, while the number of overweight men is rising across all age groups. 25% of all women in their 20s in Japan were underweight (BMI of <18.5) in 2007. By 2011-2012 this fell to 22%; but the percentage of underweight women rose 4% in the 30-39 and 40-49 age groups in one year, from 2011 – 2012. I know that BMIs are not always indicative of someone’s health and don’t account for muscle, comfort, or other factors, but that is a LOT of underweight women. Also notable: the increase in underweight men in their 20s from 1987-2007.
Kelly Faircloth. “9 Things Wrong With This Disney Princess Lingerie.” Jezebel. 3 Jan. 2014.
Obviously, the author has never had to bra shop in Japan. These aren’t just exceptionally awkward bras, these are how most bras in Japanese department- and lingerie stores look.
I loathed shopping for underwear in Japan. Despite having an easy-to-find size, trying to find a smooth bra (“t-shirt bra”) with no bulky ruffles or lace that would not show through my shirts or turn my chest into a pair of torpedoes a la 1950’s sweater pinups was a battle. Japanese women’s fashion is a lot baggier than what I prefer to wear, which is why no one seems to be leading a t-shirt-bra revolution, and the baggy shirts were neither my style nor a good look for my shape. However, if frilly bras are your thing, you will be in paradise in Japan. (By the way, Uniqlo has a nice selection of boy shorts and underwear that sits at the hip for those of you uninterested in high-waisted underpants, and there’s usually That One Magic Bra Per Season at the department store that isn’t made a yard of tulle.)
Master Blaster. “Men’s bras appear to be on the rise in Japan, make guys feel ‘safe.'” Rocket News 24. 13 July 2013.
Probably NSFW. It’s hard to find anything on men’s bras that isn’t mocking or derisive, but for flat-chested people with big shoulders of all genders: you want a pretty bra and maybe some matching panties that accommodate you better? Rakuten can hook you up. Screw the gender binary; if a bra makes you happy, go for it.
“Girl’s Day and the New Lolitocracy: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.” Trans. James Turnbull and Janne Song. The Grand Narrative. Dec. 2013/Jan. 2014.
Original: Mr. Cellophane. 대중음악 속에 파고들기 시작한 롤리토크라시의 성상품화:걸스데이를 중심으로 . Mr. Cellophane Under the Influence of Saturne. 23 Aug. 2012.
Turnbull and Song translate (and Turnbull critiques) a blog post applying Adorno’s Culture Industry Theory to Korean girl bands.
It’s a very good introduction to the origins of the Lolita trend in K-pop, and his earlier comments on Girl’s Day were very convincing, but unfortunately he makes some questionable generalizations here, especially about other girl-groups. On the other hand, what I disagreed with still got me thinking, and I learned a few things.
And Adorno: “Something is provided for all so that none will escape.”
JenniferP. “#506 & #507: It is 2fucking0fucking1fucking3, so why is it so hard to divide up household chores?” Captain Awkward. 22 Aug. 2013.
News flash to cohabiting men in heterogamous relationships: you don’t get a free pass on chores. Period. The end. Choice quote:
I think one way to fight against this is for people to really understand that there is no normal. There is no default setting for who does what around the house. You get to make up your own normal, and you get to negotiate it explicitly ahead of time, and you get to re-negotiate it over and over again as things grow and change.
Choicest quote: “Unless you are doing SELFISH ASSHOLE MATH with IMAGINARY NUMBERS I find this equation to be unbalanced.”
Jim C. Hines with Nicole Stark. “Nicole Stark’s Survey of Harassment Policies at Fan Conventions.” Jim C. Hines. 11 Dec. 2013.
TW: sexual harassment.
You may remember Hines from the “cover posing” series, in which he attempted to replicate the poses of female characters on fantasy books (including his), a sort of one-man Hawkeye Initiative of Goffman (making an absurdity of what is accepted as normal). In this post, Hines examines Stark’s research about harassment and harassment policies at fan conventions.
Amanda Hess. “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet.” The Pacific Standard. 6 Jan. 2014.
TW: discussion of rape (mainly threats), online and physical harassment, stalking
Every time we call the police, head to court to file a civil protection order, or get sucked into a mental hole by the threats that have been made against us, zeroes drop from our annual incomes. Says Jurgenson, “It’s a monetary penalty for being a woman.”
Thanks to toranosukev for the link.
I found this blog through Bitch Magazine, which has an interesting article on sanitizing Cards Against Humanity decks by gamers and creators alike. Current favorites: Black (question) cards: “I find that [__] helps me locate my IUD strings”; “What’s the real reason there’s no Wonder Woman movie?” White (answer) cards: “Smiling and pretending the sexism in your industry doesn’t exist because you would like to get/keep a job”; “That guy in your gender studies class who’s ‘just playing devil’s advocate.”‘