We talked about privilege this week, and the links this week have some great #ownvoices.
The Royal Tutor offered an unusually thoughtful episode on the subject of privilege, and how someone who is born with it can use it to help others born with fewer advantages.
We chronicled the Juné mess here last week – this is a deeper dive into just why normalizing the term ‘trap’ as a genre label is harmful to trans people.
The spring season is half over, so some of the team got together to talk about how it’s going so far and what they’re following.
Funimation is producing questionable marketing again. But more than that: what about “waifus” in general? Is it a term you feel comfortable using, or avoid like the plague?
NSZR Entertainment is putting out the premiere issue of an anthology-style monthly magazine designed to highlight Black artists creating manga and western-style comics.
When Tobias (Toby) Quested, creator and owner of the facebook Blerd (Black nerd) group, Chocolate City Comics & Cosplays: #Representationmatters inboxed me a few months ago, I didn’t know that I was about to take my first step into something that was about to change the world of mainstream nerdculture. The post he shared with me detailed a Blerd-owned entertainment company that was seeking a Black, femme writer to pen an original, Black femme-orientated, manga-styled action comic featuring three, Black, femme protagonists to run in an upcoming, monthly manga/comic publication Monthly Hype Magazine.
ME, MYSELF, AND I: SEXUAL POLITICS INSIDE MARI’S BODY-SWAP NARRATIVE (through a glass)
An analysis of Inside Mari’s exploration of identity, perspective, and self discovery
Inside Mari is by no means a licentious display of entitlement but a psychological thriller as Isao struggles with the pressures of performing femininity and not sending the petals of Mari’s life scattering away into the wind. A lofty ideal for although he posits his intentions as wholesome he nevertheless impinges upon the sanctity of all that Mari is, peering into the innermost recesses of her mind, casting aside that veil of secrecy. Despite Oshimi emphatically drawing attention away from titillating eroticisms which the genre slavishly adheres to, he delves into more intimately physical components that generally tend to be absent lest their presence disrupt the escapist fantasy.
ENEMIES REUNITED (All the Anime)
As the original one-shot [of A Silent Voice] transformed into an ongoing serial in Weekly Shonen Magazine, critics were divided. Some readers were shocked that the “voices” being heard were not merely those of the marginalised deaf, but of their persecutors, in particular the leading man Shoya, who proves to be an unreliable narrator, even as he attempts to mend his ways. Meanwhile, the deaf Shoko’s status as an innocent ingénue is repeatedly challenged until she starts to look like a willing victim – shouldn’t she cut the world around her some slack, or at least attempt to meet it halfway? “This is a film about Shoya,” agrees Yamada. “It’s told from his point of view, and in a sense, he is a person who has chosen not to hear.”
#26: Chelsea B (Anime Origin Stories)
One of the interviews in Lauren’s ongoing interview project.
In retrospect, I think what kept me hooked on anime were the values that it instilled and exposed to me. I was raised in a strict, Southern Baptist household that did not value education or thinking outside the box. Anime taught me empathy—not the Bible. Anime taught me that even a “Meatball Head” could be a leader. Anime’s emphasis on hope, the power of friendship, and other usual shonen/shojo tropes saved me from an oppressive environment and showed me that I didn’t have to be limited because of my gender. (I still remember one 4th of July standing on the back porch and watching the fireworks explode and pretending I was Relena Peacecraft watching a Gundam battle in space, worried about political ramifications.)
Game companies desperately try to avoid the label of “political,” but Blizzard’s designs are indeed taking a stance, whether as a sales tactic or just the radical idea that all different types of people can be heroes.
Yes, calling something “political” is divisive. It shouldn’t be, and especially if you’re calling something what it is. In my view, politics means something beyond political parties and governmental goings-on. It’s a mode of talking about basic rights, wellbeing included, that are tied to demographic and social realities—government is just how we organize that. Inclusivity is a political value. It asserts that all humans are equal and shouldn’t be discriminated against because of who they are. It also means that anybody can be a hero, another Overwatch tagline. “The only people that we want to exclude from our game is people who exclude other people,” Kaplan said.
Japanese Transgender Politician Is Showing ‘I Exist Here’ (The New York Times)
City councilman Tomoya Hisoda, the first openly trans man elected to office in Japan, is hoping to provide an example for trans teens without much recourse under current laws.
The appearance of transgender Japanese television stars may convey the illusion of a culture at ease with gender fluidity. But this is a country where transgender people must be labeled as having a mental disorder in order to legally transition from one sex to the other, and where transgender people can struggle to rent apartments, obtain medical care or hold jobs.
Mr. Hosoda thinks that in his small way, he can make an important contribution simply by being public and confident about his identity, particularly for young people who may be confused about their own.
A history of the 70s lesbian groups who helped lay the ground work for yuri as a genre.
In the days before the Internet, the most common way a lesbian had to meet other woman like herself, was to go to a gay bar that allowed lesbians or, perhaps, a lesbian party night at a gay bar. If she lived near enough to a big enough city, there might even be a lesbian bar. A Japanese lesbian would find, as her American counterpart might, flyers for lesbian events or groups. Letter columns and personal ads in magazines like Gekkou or Barazoku could function as a lifeline, especially for more provincial lesbians, for whom the big city was both literally and figuratively far away. But a lesbian life was a fantasy that few could embrace. Manga of this period that included lesbians at all, tended to show one partner leaving to be married or dying, leaving the other with unfulfilled longing that could never be resolved. This image shows a flyer from 1981 that advertises a “marriage meeting” for gay men and lesbians who wished to marry to fulfill familial obligations.
Kadokawa has banned stories with alternate worlds and teen protagonists for their next contest, hoping to attract something that will appeal more to adults (now if only they’d ask for more adult female protagonists).
Back in February, Kadokawa, a publisher of light novels as well as other books, manga, and magazines, formed a new label, called Novel 0, with its theme being “The lifestyle of cool adults.” In keeping with that, Kadokawa’s Entertainment Novels that Adults Want to Read Contest has specified that submissions in any genre are OK, except alternate world stories. Furthermore, the main character must be an adult male, thus ruling out “ordinary high school students” and teenagers in general for the lead (it’s unclear whether older university students would be acceptable leads, as legal adulthood begins in Japan at the age of 20).
Get An Intimate Look At Queer Life In Japan (The Huffington Post)
Upcoming documentary Queer in Japan hopes to shine a light on the authentic, often underground experience of living in Japan as a queer person.
So far we’ve shot interviews with drag queen, film critic, “non-architect” and all-around renaissance woman Vivienne Sato; gay manga master and historian Gengoroh Tagame, along with his G-men magazine co-founder, community leader, and HIV activist Hiroshi Hasegawa; visual artist Nogi Sumiko; Atsushi Matsuda, a dancer in the Butoh group DAIRAKUDAKAN; controversial manko [pussy] artist Rokudenashiko; and countryside bar owner/queer theorist Masaki C. Matsumoto. We’d like to follow these peoples’ stories and continue expanding the film’s scope over a five month shoot to include as many queer people in Japan as possible.
Bonus: If you’re not following Takurei’s Room on Twitter or keeping up with their excellent website, you’re missing out on news, translations, and original articles like this one about the LGBTQ+ community in Japan.
An argument against getting bamboozled by rainbows and tag lines. Are J-companies in it for human rights or LGBT $? https://t.co/q2KY2zHolE
— Rei@TAKUREI’S ROOM (@takureinoroom) May 17, 2017
[EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally linked to a blog post about an article on anime which appeared recently in the New York Times. We removed this link within 24 hours once it was brought to our attention that the NYT journalist received utterly inexcusable treatment by anime fans in response to his article, including wishes for his death.
To be clear, the blog post we linked to was not a part of this harassment, and we were in fact impressed with how the author made friendly contact with the NYT journalist in order to hold productive discussions in the future. However, as soon as we were made aware that the journalist was being this badly treated by anime fans and that this treatment was ongoing, we could not in good conscience encourage that conversation to continue outside our own space. If we contribute to a controversial and highly charged situation like that, it must be framed appropriately with nuanced commentary within our own discussion forums, where we can responsibly moderate the conversation, not as a single outbound link amongst many.
It goes without saying that we are against harassment or threats in any form, and we had no idea how badly this situation had escalated at the time of publishing this round-up. If our readers would like to engage with the author’s points, including all fair and reasonable critique, we encourage you to read the original article in the NYT and comment below this post. – Amelia]
The article on the use of ‘trap’ generated some fantastic discussion and feedback. Almost all of it has been thoughtful and thought-provoking, a credit to the positive and respectful community we have built up around AniFem. Check out responses to the original tweet for a range of viewpoints, important context, and invaluable insights from trans women who relate to the word differently:
— AniFem (@AnimeFeminist) May 20, 2017
There was also a stand-out thread on the origin of the phrase (at least in anime fandom):
@matt_thorn_en The term “trap” originates on early 4chan. Characters like Bridget from Guilty Gear and Jun Watase from the VN “Happiness!”
— Hayley (@heiriitoday) May 22, 2017
And Jacob Chapman offered a pretty succinct alternative:
We use the words “moe,” “tsundere,” “chuunibyou” etc for archetypes all the time. Why not use “otokonoko” instead of a literal english slur?
— Jacob Chapman (@ANNJakeH) May 22, 2017
This post is still being retweeted and gathering comments, join the conversation here!
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