Weekly Round-Up, 10-16 August 2022: Harassment at Nintendo, Heroines Run the Show, and Celebrating Plus-Size Fashion

By: Anime Feminist August 16, 20220 Comments
A group of CHimimo with glowing eyes surrounded by flames and standing beside an open Amazon box

AniFem Round-Up

“Differences Die At The Door”: A post-mortem of Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop

Madeline Blondeau rolls up her sleeves and dissects where the adaptation went wrong, from toxic masculinity to the adaptive team’s previous work.

Zeno Robinson, My Hero Academia star, talks favorite roles, fighting harassment, and voice actor unionization

We got a chance to speak with the talented Robinson about CODA and the fight for livable wages in the dub voice acting industry.

What series you love still needs a Blu-Ray release?

Since we’re celebrating the news that given will be out on video soon.

Beyond AniFem

アラフォー同人女が20年ぶりにコミケにサークル参加したらほぼ異世界転生だった件 (Note, のみぞう)

Japanese-language article of a doujinshi artist reflecting on the cultural difference between putting out a doujin now versus 20 years ago.

Nintendo Of America’s Testers Say They Faced Years Of Sexual Harassment (Kotaku, Sisi Jiang)

Women offer reports of stalking, sexual harassment, casual sexism, queerphobia, and pay gaps over the past decade. Includes specific recollections of harassment.

Kotaku spoke to ten sources for this article who worked at Nintendo at different points of the past decade. They told a story of a corporate culture where sexist behavior was commonplace, and very little action was taken to address it. Most requested anonymity because retaliation could mean a loss of job opportunities throughout the gaming industry. These employees worked on games and consoles ranging from the early Wii U era to the present Nintendo Switch generation. Aside from the harassment, female contractors also faced issues with trying to advance in the company. “I applied for a bunch of other jobs in the industry, and they would ask me why I was looking to leave Nintendo [after several years]. A lack of advancement opportunities was a huge part of that,” a former contractor said.

Former tester Valerie Allison said she would ask her managers how she could be promoted to a permanent position. While Nintendo’s website listed benefits such as parental leave for full-time employees, Allison felt pressure to become a full-time employee because she needed stable income and benefits. Kotaku reached out to Nintendo about what kind of actions it took to ensure that women had a fair chance at career advancement. A spokesperson for Nintendo acknowledged our comment request, but did not return with a statement.

In order to significantly improve their status at the Redmond office, contractors hoped to be converted to red badges. Unfortunately, many former employees who worked as contractors for years realized that tenure did not help them achieve this goal.

“Your chance [of being converted to full time] was probably worse as a girl,” said a former product tester who worked on the 2017 hit The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (28 million units sold globally). “It’s usually guys [who get promoted]. They’re usually all friends. They watch the Super Bowl together.”

Female students account for just 5% of Science Olympiad takers (The Asahi Shimbun, Yukihito Takahama)

The five percent figure includes all girls who competed in the high school International Science Olympiads at the national level over the past ten years.

As the JST serves as the secretariat of Japan’s Science Olympiad committee, a representative acknowledged that the organization first needs to take steps to “urge more female students to compete in the qualifiers.”

To achieve that goal, the JST is implementing a number of approaches, such as asking the organizers of domestic qualifying events to set goals on female percentages. The organizers also hold lectures given by female researchers and offer guidance at girls’ schools to reach out to students.

Ginko Kawano, a professor of educational sociology at Yamagata University, attributed the large gender gap among top-performance students to the educational environment in which female students are given little incentive to focus on the sciences.

“Individual teachers should pay close attention so they don’t use words or act unintentionally in ways that can reinforce the stereotype that males perform better at learning sciences,” said Kawano.

She also said that when extremely capable female scientists give lectures about their achievements, young female students could conclude it would be impossible for them to reach such heights and give up seeking a career in sciences.

AAJA TOKYO: Advancing News Diversity in Asia at FCCJ (Asian American Journal Association-Asia)

Written highlights from a recent roundtable panel discussing diversity in Japanese news media.

“We have lots of things that we’re passing because of the lack of diversity,” said Nakano, based on her experience of the difficulty she initially faced when pitching the underreported story of babysitters’ sexual abuse to several magazines: “the editorial board mostly consists of men whose wives take care of their children. For them, ‘why do you need babysitters?’ — I had to explain from the beginning,” she said.

McNeil referred to the lack of discussion around Japan’s “homogeneity” myth, saying, although the government census counts more than 90% of people living in Japan as the “Japanese” and labels only a small fraction ‘foreigners’, there are a diverse group of people — such as “naturalized citizens…biracial citizens…other ethnic groups here in Japan, Okinawans, Ainus” — being counted into the majority cohort. “These people are not, if they’re walking down the street, seen, viewed, treated as Japanese people. I think that needs to be taken into consideration by the entire populace,” McNeil said. “So that people can stop using the number, because the number sends a message to the people that ‘diversity is not important here because it only impacts a very small percentile of the public.” He added international journalists, too, are sometimes complicit in reinforcing the narrative.

Michelle Lee said the Japanese media had not been reporting the name of the religious group that was assumed to be involved in the shooting of Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe, which had happened three days before the event. “I do believe we have to inform the public, and news outlets that do have the name of whatever organization that they’ve talked to should be releasing it to the public,” she said, before leaving the panel to cover a press conference by the group in question, Unification Church’s Japan branch.

Ex-SDF member goes public about being sexually harassed (The Asahi Shimbun, Midori Iki)

The unnamed woman was subjected to harassment during basic training by multiple other recruits. Contains specific details of sexual harassment.

 Gonoi reported what occurred to an SDF sexual harassment counselor and other personnel.

The Defense Ministry said the GSDF’s police unit investigated her complaint. The men were referred to prosecutors on suspicion of indecent assault, but the case was ultimately dropped.

According to sources close to the ministry, prosecutors decided not to indict the suspects because of insufficient evidence, citing that they were unable to obtain witness accounts. Gonoi asked the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution to review the case.

Earlier this year, Gonoi was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder. She left the GSDF on June 27 after a leave of absence and immediately discussed her experience on the internet under her real name.

“I wanted them to admit the facts and apologize,” she said. “Not only they refused but also those who must have seen the incident said they didn’t see anything.

On July 21, Gonoi started an online petition through Change.org to call on the Defense Ministry to conduct a third-party investigation. She collected more than 68,000 signatures as of Aug. 10.

She is also asking current or former SDF members who have been subjected to sexual harassment or sex crimes to share their experiences.

The Defense Ministry is keeping quiet on the matter.

VIDEO: Discussion of Heroines Run the Show and its fumbled handling of toxicity in idol culture.

TWEET: Cover reveal/preorders for a manga celebrating plus-size fashion.

TWEET: Translation and archive of the 1997 Animage Extra document, The Utena Dossier.

THREAD: Clarifying addition to an oral history article on the creation and legacy of Archive of Our Own, including its ongoing failure to address racist harassment on the platform.

THREAD: Links and findings on the academic article, “”Do female anime fans exist?” The impact of women-exclusionary discourses on rec.arts.anime”

AniFem Community

Keep those fingers crossed.

All the licensed, subbed complete Pretty Cures. Currently this includes Kira Kira Pretty Cure A La Mode (my favorite), Healin’ Good Pretty Cure and Tropical-Rogue! Pretty Cure. Technically Futari wa Pretty Cure too but the sequel isn’t liscensed.
Little Witch Academia. Because I don’t want to have to stay subscribed to Netflix forever to have it. My husband feels the same way about Carole and Tuesday but I haven’t looked into that one.

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