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Archive for the ‘Geek Culture’ Category

Princess_Knight-1

Image: Princess Knight (リボンの騎士) manga cover. Tink, dressed in a green tunic and cap, whispers in Princess Sapphrie’s ear. Sapphire has short black hair and is wearing a big hat with feathers in it and a puffy-sleeved tunic.

Part 1: Introduction

Origins of Shojo Manga

Manga historians tend to identify the prolific and influential artist Osamu Tezuka as the creator of shojo manga, but the true origins of the genre are somewhat more complicated – and interesting!

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My co-panelist and friend Dr. Kathryn Hemmann of Contemporary Japanese Literature and I teamed up again at Geek Girl Con 2015 to give an improved version of our “Crossdressing in Anime and Manga” panel as well as a brand-new panel, “The Sparkling World of 1970s Shojo Manga,” originally presented Oct. 11, 2015. We are pleased to present a multi-part series based on the latter panel on this blog. We’d also like to thank not just our readers and panel attendees but the awesome section of teens who sat in the front row and squeed at all our pictures, especially Oscar’s.

Panel description

Shojo manga, or manga for young women, is at the center of a thriving comics publishing industry in both Japan and the United States. The legacy of shojo manga is readily apparent in contemporary media from Sailor Moon to Steven Universe, but where did it all begin? This panel offers a glimpse into the classic works that shaped the genre and still inform international fan cultures. Join us to learn more about graphic novels filled with romance, political intrigue, and tons of gender trouble. We’ll introduce you to the work of legendary artists such as Riyoko Ikeda, Moto Hagio, and Keiko Takemiya while celebrating the appeal of illustrated explosions of flowers that rival the flowery speeches given by fascinating characters.

Kyoto Manga Museum

Kyoto International Manga Museum [image: ceiling-to-floor shelves of 1980s manga, with each shelf labeled by year at the Kyoto International Manga Museum]

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What’s the Beyond Binaries Book Club?

Our Feb/Mar 2016 book was Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1969 The Left Hand of Darkness, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

The review contains spoilers.

The novel follows the story of Genly Ai, a native of Earth (referred to as “Terra” in the novel), who is sent to the planet of Gethen as an envoy of the Ekumen, a loose confederation of planets. Ai’s mission is to persuade the nations of Gethen to join the Ekumen, but he is stymied by his lack of understanding of Gethenian culture. Individuals on Gethen are “ambisexual”, with no fixed gender identity, a fact which has a strong influence on the culture of the planet, and creates a large barrier for Ai, a male raised on Earth. –Wikipedia (that’s how hard it is to find a short description!)
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Check out the (mostly spoiler free) review of Gone Home, an atmospheric feminist game on Steam, that I wrote for Comparative Geeks:

Gone_Home

When I joined Steam, the first game [my younger sister] sent me was Gone Home, a game about sisters. You’re Kaitlin “Katie” Greenbriar, the older sister, who arrives back in Oregon after a year abroad in Europe to discover the lights are on but nobody’s home at her parents’ house–and there’s a mysterious note from her younger sister on the door.

 

June 7, 1995. 1:15 AM.

You arrive home after a year abroad. You expect your family to greet you, but the house is empty. Something’s not right. Where is everyone? And what’s happened here?

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Or, “Why is Florence + the Machine’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful the soundtrack to my trash ship?” 

ilovetrash

Source [Image of Oscar the Grouch holding a sign that says “I heart Trash”]

Spoilers for X-Men First Class (major), X-Men Days of Future Past (moderate), NBC Hannibal (mild), and Battlestar Galactica (mild). Contains gifs; discussions of music and films featuring abusive relationships, alcohol abuse, and moderate violence; links to music videos with disturbing imagery of the same nature. I’m sure that Florence Welch actually wrote her music about her experiences and not about fandom, but seriously, have you seen the X-Men prequels? Or NBC Hannibal? Do you see?

There appears to be no one definition of a trash ship*, so my definition is a ‘ship that you know is objectively bad, either because the characters bring out the worst in each other or because one of the characters is literally a cannibal serial killer (or somesuch). Cherik (Charles Xavier/Erik Lensherr)? Trash ship.Starbuck/Apollo? Trash Battlestar. Hannigram (Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham)? Trash spiral-galaxy.

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Welcome, Feminist Friday readers! Although I’ve written about the wonderful world of genderswap* before in regards to Ôoku, today I’ll be taking a look at mainstream- and fan-created genderswapped works in English-language media and what they reveal about social norms and fans.

You may have read “Bilbo Baggins is a Girl,” but for me, it’s not just reading Bilbo as a woman. (more…)

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the ways in which marginalized geeks (women/nonbinary people, queer individuals, people of color, people with disabilities, et al.) interact with fandom. In particular, I’ve been thinking about how creative expressions of love (such as fanworks and cosplay) for media are treated poorly by society in general as well as individuals in their lives. (Specifically, of how individual straight male geeks fear that others’–particularly their female partners’–interests in shipping, crossplay, etc., somehow invalidates their delicate grasp on cultural masculinity.)

At Geek Girl Con, I attended an amazing panel of “Geek Elders” who told us all about female Star Trek fandom and making Kirk/Spock ‘zines in the 1960s and 70s–how many of these women’s husbands felt their participation in fandom detracted from their care of the home and children. How one of their colleague’s husband’s tried to have her committed. 

What I’ve learned, not just from this panel, but from years of reading about our geek forbears, is that we’ve always been here. We’re not going anywhere. On that note, I present a gender reader of geekery, with a very special Christmas song at the end!

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