[Links] 30 January – 5 February 2019: Five Years of #28DaysofBlackCosplay, Deputy PM Blames Women for Japan’s Population Woes, and Ace Representation in Bloom Into You

By: Anime Feminist February 5, 20190 Comments
A girl in cat ears looking flustered that her classmate is also wearing cat ears

This week: five years of #28DaysofBlackCosplay, the Deputy Prime Minister blames women for Japan’s declining population, and Bloom Into You’s importance as a story that tells viewers they aren’t broken if they haven’t fallen in love like a romance novel

AniFem Round-Up

[Feature] Conventions and Beyond: Protecting our community from predators

A contributor and longtime con attendees outlines ways readers can help protect vulnerable fellow con attendees and teens from unsafe situations and predators.

[Review] Winter 2019 three-episode check-in

The team checks in with what they’ve been watching now that the winter season is a quarter finished.

[Podcast] Chatty AF 84: The Vision of Escaflowne Rewatchalong – Episodes 21-26 [FINAL]

Caitlin, Dee, and Vrai talk shoujo vs modern isekai and bid fond farewell to this classic 90s feels-fest.

[AniFemTalk] How can fans help one another stay safe at conventions?

To keep the conversation going and expand on useful strategies.


Beyond AniFem

‘Far From Perfect’: Fans Recount Unwanted Affection from Voice Actor Vic Mignogna (Anime News Network, Lynzee Loveridge and Bamboo Dong)

An investigative report collecting multiple accounts from individuals who were harassed by Mignogna, with corroborating witnesses and photographs. Mignogna has since been fired from both RWBY and The Morose Mononokean.

Multiple individuals, many with friends present to corroborate, relayed their personal encounters with Mignogna with an increasingly common series of events. A fan would be in Mignogna’s autograph line to get a piece of merchandise signed for a friend. Upon approaching Mignogna, they would make typical small talk before he would ask the attendee if they wanted a photo. They would agree and would unexpectedly find the voice actorkissing their cheek or pulling them in for a tight hug for the photo op. Time and again, the individuals in the picture said that the physical affection happened without their consent and made them uncomfortable. The behavior wasn’t limited to one con, one person, or even one year, and for all intents and purposes seemed like a common occurrence regardless of whether the other party was a young adult or a minor. It was often done in the wide-open areas of conventions and to the cheers of crowds.

Bloom Into You (and Me), a Story About How Representation is Important (The Afictionado, Alex Henderson)

A personal essay about the power of BIY and how it voices the experience of feeling that one “has to” fall in love, and that you aren’t broken if you don’t experience romantic love like a romance novel (or at all).

I’ll be honest with you, dear reader: there were so many parts of this episode that spoke to me, but that sweet, sympathetic little line from Touko absolutely hit me in the gut. Of course, Touko soon spoils this supportive moment somewhat by blurting “I think I’m falling in love with you!” at the very end of the episode, thus kicking off the weird and complicated relationship between the two girls and their own messy feelings that drives the series. But hey, it’s important to remember that Bloom Into You is not a love story so much as a story about love, and, principally, about the different crooked shapes that love can take—shapes you don’t often see in those sparkly fictional stories where Yuu has gotten all her information about romance from.

And that’s what’s at the heart of the matter here, encapsulated so brilliantly in that series premiere: Bloom Into You is a story about how fiction and popular media set up Very Particular Expectations about what love is, about how it ought to go, and how it impacts the self. And if you don’t see yourself reflected in any of those Very Particular Expectations—if you don’t experience romantic attraction, if you feel that attraction to the “wrong” people, if you don’t feel that Very Particular earth-shattering self-actualisation from dating someone—you have no real other choice but to wonder if you’re a glitch in the system.

Submissions For NOiR’S 2019 “Sorcerority” Contest Are Now Open! (Noir Caesar, Jacqueline “Jax” Cottrell)

Winners could become a character within the comic and win a Nintendo Switch. Check the article for more rules and guidelines.

Designs must be drawn in full body

Designs must include personal “Expression”; a magickal ability unique to YOU. Have fun and get creative with this one!

Even though this is an HBCU, the school officially accepts any and all who wish to learn!

You are encouraged to create a backstory for your character, but it’s not required.

Finished art only! No sketches. You have an entire month; take your time, put in some effort, and have fun!

Designs must be submitted no later than 11:59PM (EST) on March 1st!

ALL MAY APPLY! This content is for International Participation!

Japan’s deputy PM blames women for nation’s falling population (The Guardian, Justin McCurry)

This is the latest in a line of comments blaming women for Japan’s declining birth rate.

Aso, however, is one of several conservative politicians who have blamed couples, and in particular women, for the trend.

In June 2018, Toshihiro Nikai, the secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic party [LDP], described couples who decide not to have children as “selfish”, and cited the postwar baby boom as evidence that hardship needn’t be an obstacle to having bigger families.

Two months earlier Kanji Kato, an LDP lawmaker, said women should have “at least three children” and warned those who preferred to remain single that they would become a burden on the state.

Japan’s Working Mothers: Record Responsibilities, Little Help From Dads (The New York Times, Motoko Rich)

Women working 49 hours a week also do 25 hours of housework, while their husbands do less than five on average.

At the moment, Japanese women often face a double-edged sword.

Like many Japanese companies, Ms. Nishimasa’s employer accommodates her towering domestic responsibilities. Until her youngest child, now 2, enters third grade, she can work a shortened seven-hour day, albeit for 30 percent lower pay. She is never asked to do the kind of overtime she regularly put in before her children were born, when she was often at the office until 10 p.m. or later.

But because of that, she has not been promoted in eight years and has received scant pay raises.

“When I asked why,” she said, “my boss said my output was lower because I work fewer hours.”

Survey Says Japan Isn’t Tough Enough on Sex Crimes (Otaku USA Magazine, Joseph Luster)

This leniency is evident in many recent cases—Nobuhiro Watsuki is already working again after paying his extremely minimal fine for possessing child pornography.

Japan may be known for cracking down on certain crimes, but according to the results of a recent survey, being a sex offender isn’t one of them. Japanese survey site Shirabee polled 1,344 Japanese men and women aged between 20 and 69 about whether they think Japan is “too forgiving of sex offenders,” to which the majority of the respondents said “yes.”

In total, 86.5 percent of those polled agreed that Japan is too lenient on sex crimes, with very little discrepancy between male and female respondents. More than 80 percent said Japan isn’t tough enough on those who commit crimes such as domestic abuse, sexual harassment, various acts of illegal indecency, and even rape.

Black At It Again: #28DaysofBlackCosplay 2019 Week 1 (Black Nerd Problems, Oona Sura)

BNP’s weekly posts highlighting cosplayers for #28DaysofBlackCosplay resumes and the cosplayers are bursting with charm and talent as always.

It’s that most affirming and positive time of the year: February ushers in a celebration of Black history. In conjunction, Black artists within the geek community have gathered in solidarity to once again appreciate one another’s immense talent in the famous #28DaysofBlackCosplay. Started by Princess Mentality Cosplay (Princessology on Instagram), cosplayers have taken to social media to share and retweet pictures of Black cosplayers displaying their love for cosplay and the creative license it grants them. You can check out Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to witness the beauty. Here are my favorite incredible cosplayers spotted on Instagram this week!

Same-sex marriage lawsuits to be filed on Valentine’s Day by 13 couples nationwide (The Mainichi, Motomi Kusakabe and Miyuki Fujisawa)

Two of the couples relate multiple hurdles they’ve faced because they are denied recognition as their loved one’s spouse.

Ryosuke Kunimi, 44, from the city of Obihiro in Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, has been living with his partner since 2004. The two men say that they are “more family than partners,” and that “together, they make one.” A public school teacher, Kunimi is a pseudonym that he goes by as the man has for years supported other LGBT people and made safe havens for youth. He met his partner while participating in such activities.

Both sets of parents are accepting of their relationship. However, Japanese society does not allow same-sex couples to use various services that are available to married couples of opposite sexes, such as those related to inheritance and loans. What frightened Kunimi recently was a newspaper article reporting that a local general hospital was limiting entry to the inpatient ward to patients and their families as a countermeasure against the spread of infections.

Do This, Not That: Trans-Coded Characters (The Vision of Escaflowne vs Persona 4) (Fashionable Tinfoil Accessories)

A discussion of the factors that affect reclaiming a character and a comparison of subtext vs overt but exclusionary writing.

The narrative not only privileges the assumption that Naoto questioning her gender is a momentary confusion, but makes the character herself a mouthpiece for those toxic narratives. There is little room to see yourself in a character when they are being made to say that you are stupid, foolish, and wrong about your own personhood.

While there are adolescents who question their gender identity as teenagers and end up identifying most with their birth-assigned gender, this is nearly the only narrative allotted for transmasculine characters, particularly in anime and manga. Many are the tomboyish masc-presenting characters who decide to take on feminine presentation as a sign that they’ve grown up or as a means of impressing a love interest. Even the most legendarily cited trans issues manga, Wandering Son, ends with the transmasculine Takatsuki not just presenting female but becoming an incredibly feminine model.

It is painful, intensely so, to see one’s experience discounted even within the very small pool of narratives that acknowledge transness. “Of course girls would want to be boys,” the very harmful logic seems on some level to go, “boys are just better; we’ll tell them not to worry their pretty little heads. But a boy who wants to be a girl must be serious, because who wants to be something as secondary as a girl?”

#28DaysOfBlackCosplay: Why We’re Still Rockin’ The Hashtag After 5 Years (Essence, Briana Lawrence)

An interview with the hashtag’s inventor and a reminder that it’s important not to stop supporting and celebrating cosplayers of color once March 1st rolls around.

Now spending her days as Pokémon’s social marketing manager, Cumberbatch-Tinsley spoke about the hashtag’s fifth year. “It’s always been about carving out space for Black cosplayers to be acknowledged and seen, as the mainstream cosplay media (if you could call it that!) at the time was very one-note. I was tired of hearing people say that there weren’t very many Black cosplayers, when I knew there were tons of us. It was an excuse, and not a very good one at that. I take solace in the fact that five years later, it’s an excuse that no one will ever buy again.”

I makes me feel good, as a fat, Black, queer woman in her mid-30s, knowing that younger geeks have something like this. Maybe they’ll be able to skip those misguided “I’m not like those other girls” years I went through back in the day.


AniFem Community

There were some good links shared in the discussion so be sure to check the Talk post this week for some useful resources.

Here's a good starter for people who wish they knew what to do when they see something happening: https://www.ihollaback.org/...  A lot of community groups offer classes for practicing these techniques. Type "bystander training" plus your city name into your favorite search engine to see if there's one near you!

I live in anisolated city with just one con per year that I try to attend, so my experience is minimal. I'm a 40+ balding white guy so basically I look like your stereotypical creep. I am therefore super concious of my behaviour around younger people at cons and with cosplayers in particular. My own personal rules are: 1.) Be respectful! Cosplay is NOT an invitation for familiarity! ALL the rules that apply to social interactions with strangers IRL still apply with Cosplayers at cons! While I might internally "squeeeee!" over a beloved character on the inside, I never, ever forget that this is a fan who is here to have fun playing that character, NOT the character! 2.) No touching. Ever. This is basically an automatic extension of personal rule 1, but I'm putting it here for clarity.  3.) I do not take photos. If I love somebodies costume, I will very, very occasionally ask if there is somewhere that they post photos online, but for me making some 19 year old feel uncomfortable because I want to photograph the awesome attention to detail of their home-made gothic lolita cosplay is just plain shitty behaviour. 4.) Keep it brief - Admire, congratulate, move on. Hanging around or (worse) following around is just plain creepy. These rules suit me and my con experiences, but they will probably be lacking for anybody younger and more gregarious.

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