In this gender reader: 10 years and no movement on the separate surnames bill in Japan, the feminist power of Sailor Moon nostalgia, feminization and slurs in Korean queer terminology, wrist-grabbing isn’t sexy, Teddy girls, and more!
（ニュースＱ３）セクハラで降格 一審「妥当」、二審「重すぎ」(News Q3: Demotions for Male Employees Charged with Sexual Harassment: First Circuit Court Deems Appropriate Punishment, Second Circuit Claims ‘Too Harsh.’” The Asashi Shimbun. 24 Feb. 2015.
A workplace sexual harassment case went to the second court of appeals after the male employees charged complained the punishment of demotion was “too harsh.” Although the first circuit deemed the punishment appropriate, the second circuit sided with the defendants. The graphic has some examples of phrases that would be considered sexual harassment. The case went to Supreme Court on Feb. 26.
Speaking of the Supreme Court, the fight for couples to retain separate surnames after marriage (夫婦別姓) continues 10 years after Kayama-san’s first attempt to repeal the law.
Juliet Kahn. “Nostalgia As A Weapon: The Sailor Moon Renaissance Is A Feminist Mission Behind The Lines Of Pop Culture.” Comics Alliance. 14 July 2014.
This resurgence is animated by more than typical fannish passion. This is a need to return to a world where young women are in charge. This is an anger at the pabulum of Good Role Models for Girls, at boob windows and “fridging” and “tits or gtfo.” This is 15-year-olds covering their notebooks in “MERMAIDS AGAINST MISOGYNY” stickers, yet also gravely serious grad students applying bell hooks to Takeuchi’s use of Greco-Roman myth. This is a collective invoking of spirits, made more potent in their absence — Usagi Tsukino and all her friends as saints and saviors, carrying the light of childhood optimism to an adulthood in sore need of it. This is nostalgia as a weapon. “Pretty soldiers” indeed.
Denise Chu. “Japanese Brazilian Artist Tomie Ohtake Dies At Age 101.” ArtAsiaPacific. 13 Feb. 2015.
Ohtake grew to become one of the most important and beloved contemporary artists in Brazil, a status ratified by the conferral of two awards: the Order of Rio Branco in 1988, for a public sculpture commemorating the 80th anniversary of Japanese immigration to São Paulo, and the Order of Cultural Merit in 2006.
Tsunderin. “Putting the ‘Otome’ In Otomen: Final Thoughts (For Real, This Time).” Lady Geek Girl and Friends. 2 Dec. 2014.
Some spoilers for Otomen (manga).
And as much as my little shoujo-adoring heart loved the happy-sappy, undeniably predictable…ending, the question remains: were any of these problems elaborated on or improved? I’m sorry to say that they weren’t. Not to the extent I would have hoped for.
James Turnbull. “벅찬년 and Slut-Bitches: Feminization as a Slur in the Korean Gay Community.” The Grand Narrative. 10 Mar. 2015.
Translation of “A Lesbian’s Thoughts on Using ‘bokchanyeon’ and ‘Slut-bitch.'”
Why do I immediately feel bad whenever I hear the word? For two reasons I guess. First, because it originated with men. Although they are gay, they still grew up as men and enjoyed male privilege, and it’s in this context that they use such a misogynistic term. Second, because it puts me in an uncomfortable position, as the humor derives from disparaging a part of my identity [i.e., disparaging women].
—-. “A Weighty Matter: Deconstructing the Korean Media’s Messages about Body Image, Cosmetic Surgery, and Obesity.” The Grand Narrative. 3 Feb. 2015.
Reading list of articles on body image in Korea.
Joyce. “5 So-Called ‘Romantic’ K-Drama Tropes.” Seoul Beats. 14 Feb. 2015.
A lot of these are also found in J-dramas. HT The Grand Narrative.
For the thousandth time ever, wrist-grabbing is not affectionate, intimate or swoon-worthy in any way, no matter how romantic the background music or how sexy the male lead is.
Mary Pilon. “The Lost Female Genius Behind Monopoly.” 7 Days of Genius. Medium. March 2015.
HT Kickstarter mailing list.
For many years, the story of Monopoly’s origins began with a man during the Great Depression. However, the person who created the progenitor of the game was actually Lizzie Magie, an outspoken feminist who received a patent for her Landlord’s Game in 1904. In this excerpt from her book “The Monopolists,” Mary Pilon explores Magie’s feminist roots and what she was trying to say with her game.
“‘The Last of the Teddy Girls’: Ken Russell’s nearly lost photographs of London’s teenage girl gangs.” Dangerous Minds. 13 Feb. 2015.
Russell was attracted to these young women for their sense of independence and style—dressing in suits, land army clothes—while rejecting society’s expectations of more traditional, feminine roles. (Teddy kids of either sex were known for fights breaking out wherever they congregated.) The images show Russell’s innate talent for composition and offer a fascinating look into a rarely documented female subculture.
Mo Moulton. “Watching Downton Abbey with an Historian: Queer Downton!” The Toast. 10 Feb. 2015.
Spoilers for Downton Abbey.
But sugarcoating the past this way blinds us to our own prejudices. In fact, I think it serves to obscure how profoundly Downton traffics in reactionary tropes about gay men. When he’s not receiving homilies in the doctor’s office, Thomas embodies a range of homophobic stereotypes.
Sexism in the Workplace
Jolene Creighton. “Here’s What It’s Like For A Woman To Send a Job Rejection To A Man.” Medium. 2 Feb. 2015. Via Geek Feminism.
We also got quite a few applications from people who have rather impressive science writing credentials. As such, we had to reject a lot of people with pretty outstanding resumes. Although many had a lot of experience, and were very articulate and impressive candidates on the whole, they didn’t have relevant experience.
And of course, there was one older, white, academic man who felt the need to tell us that we are, “imperious little girls,” and that “we are not superior to [him].”
Scott Jaschik. “Rate My Word Choice: New analysis of Rate My Professors finds patterns in words used to describe men and women.” Inside HigherEd. 9 Feb. 2015.
Benjamin M. Schmidt, an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University and a faculty member in the NuLab for Texts, Maps and Networks, created a database based on the words used in 14 million reviews on Rate My Professors. Typing in words reveals, by discipline, how common the word was (per million words of text) in reviews. The findings show the differences by gender of the faculty member, and can also be sorted strictly for positive and negative reviews, or for all reviews.
Homa Mojtabai. “Reasons You Were Not Promoted That are Totally Unrelated to Gender.” McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. 27 Jan. 2015. Via Feministe.
You’re argumentative. For example, right now you’re upset that you didn’t get a promotion and you’re asking for concrete examples of what you can do better. I really don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty and you should trust my judgment anyways.
You’re a pushover. When Tom came up and gave you that totally platonic hug in the shareholders meeting you should have just told him to not touch you instead of telling me you thought it was inappropriate. Leaders handle their own problems.
Laurie Penny. “Fifty Shades of Socialist Feminism.” Penny Red. 16 Feb. 2015.
“My desires are…unconventional,” he admits.
“So are mine,” I say. “I want to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex.”