Weekly Round-Up, 8-14 September 2021: Harassment on Archive of Our Own, Anime Overproduction, and Anti-Discrimination Policies

By: Anime Feminist September 14, 20210 Comments
a small boy awkwardly gifting a small girl a fresh-caught fish

AniFem Round-Up

Pregnancy as the pinnacle of womanhood in TSF porn

Chiaki analyzes the trend of pregnancy-related happy endings in TSF (“magical sex change”) stories and the possible anxieties it reflects.

Gearing Up or Dressing Up? On female fighter equipment

Armament enthusiast Raven Wu digs into the “chainmail bikini” and how its presence in not just silly but also a huge number of supposedly serious stories undermines the perception of female fighters.

Chatty AF 147: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Rewatchalong – Rebellion

Vrai, Alex, and Mercedez return to their rewatchalong to watch the infamous movie, unpack that last 15 minutes, and discuss how it colors the franchise as a whole.

What’s your favorite spin-off series?

And do you like it better than the source material?

Beyond AniFem

Over A Year After the OTW/AO3’s Statement of Solidarity: Where Are We With That Anti Racism? (Stitch’s Media Mix)

An update on the ongoing issue of unchecked racist harassment by writers on Archive of Our Own.

The OTW, as the “parent” organization, is responsible for things like the AO3’s ineffective terms of service that hasn’t gotten an update to address and provide meaningful consequences for bigoted works/bigotry or to document what forms of harassment exist on the platform and what consequences exist for that. There has been the repeated rejection of hiring an outsider consultant to help it level up (people who are so not me literally exist to work on companies like this to make sure they’re hitting their markers), and no real acknowledgement the racism done on its fanwork-hosting platform and in its name.

These are all facts proven to be true by years of inaction in the face of increasingly aggressive racism. (But also in a few cases, it’s proven by the active punishment of fans of color who try to speak up about racist fanworks they’ve seen or harassment they’ve gotten on the platform.)

Despite the value they hold for fandom and how necessary archiving fanworks is as a practice, these are spaces that protect racists and do not condemn racism in fanworks or against fans of color. You know, because “max inclusiveness” is more important than making sure bigots know they’re not welcome in a fandom space.

It’s been over a year and the most meaningful fandom institutions have done nothing to live up to the sort of promises made in the past.

I think people who report racist fics – and again, I always mean hateful and hurtful content, not writing issues or a failure to research and write well or a trope that is wonky to some people of color- still get brushed off with snotty condescending nonsense from the Abuse team.

If they get any response at all, that is.

Too Many Anime Spoils the Broth (Anime News Network, Callum May)

How the huge number of titles being made annually has strained anime production to breaking.

While studio heads may see increasing their production capabilities as a source of prosperity, the same sentiment isn’t shared by those that create the shows. Back in May, a former MAPPA animator described the studio as having a factory-like working environment and criticized leadership for having the staff work on four shows at once. In July, a different animator criticized the studio for its low rates. He argued that the streaming service commissioning the show should take responsibility for the conditions. “For all the exorbitant amount of capital [of Netflix], it’s a problem that they’ve started to place orders with such low rates.” Both Crunchyroll and Netflix have worked with MAPPA to create original series for their respective platforms.

It would perhaps soften the blow to learn that these creations are shared and beloved by fans across the world, but the truth is more disappointing. While most original anime will be announced on streaming services’ social media feeds, subsequent marketing is often lacking. Netflix rarely even posts about anime on their release dates. Crunchyroll and Funimation rarely market anime outside of their biggest seasonal hits. These platforms aren’t enriched by the success of individual shows, and are instead supported by subscriptions. Therefore, it’d make sense that it would be more important to them to develop the image of having a large amount of shows available, rather than actually promoting them individually.

Harassment led transgender nurse to develop health issues (The Asahi Shimbun, Satoko Onuki)

The ruling sets precedent for recently enshrined legal guidelines that being continually misgendered at work constitutes power harassment.

But hospital staff misgendered the person by calling her a male-like name at work for about six months, according to the documents.

The labor office concluded these remarks and actions constituted power harassment and insulted the assistant nurse for her sexual orientation and gender identity.

The assistant nurse developed mental health issues and subsequently quit her hospital job.

The labor office ruled on Feb. 5 this year that the assistant nurse suffered from mental illness due to the workplace harassment.

Legal revisions to prevent power harassment, which became effective in June 2020, make clear that speech or behavior that insults people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is considered power harassment.

Revealing an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity to other workers without the employee’s consent is also considered power harassment, the legal guidelines state.

Japan’s main opposition vows to realize separate surname option (The Mainichi)

These campaign promises come ahead of Japan’s September 29th election.

Japan’s main opposition on Monday vowed to give couples the option of keeping their surnames separate after marriage among other reform proposals ahead of the general election.

Yukio Edano, leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said the party seeks to realize a society without discrimination as it announced a set of policies the party will implement if it gains power.

Other policies include introducing a law to protect the rights of sexual minorities, helping women subjected to domestic violence and a ban on discrimination based on gender, nationality and disability. The party also plans to review the country’s immigration system.

Feminism and Diversity in Anime (ft. Mercedez Clewis) (Baka Banter)

Podcast discussion about discussing anime through a feminist lens.

Ionatan and Ravi are joined by Mercedez Clewis, a contributing writer and journalist for sites like Anime News Network, Japanese to English translation and localization editor, and staff editor at Anime Feminist, to discuss feminism and diversity in anime. They talk about Mercedez’s time living in Fukushima and transition into anime journalism, and then break down how to think about anime through a feminist lens.

Disabled women harassed while riding trains call for policy change (The Asahi Shimbun, Mikako Otsubo)

While some visually impaired passengers found the public announcements helpful, others reported being harassed or followed because their destinations were known.

When railway station staff help passengers with disabilities get on and off trains, they announce their locations. But that can aid assailants in pinpointing the locations of vulnerable people they can target.

The Japan National Assembly of Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI-Japan) submitted a request in July to the transport ministry that asked it to address the issue, after gathering stories of women who have been stalked and sexually harassed because of station announcements that specify their car numbers and destinations.

“We cannot disembark from trains without wheelchair ramps, so we are unable to flee on our own,” said a 52-year-old Tokyo woman who uses a wheelchair and has been stalked herself while taking transit. “It is painful to imagine the feelings of the victims.”

Genre and Gender in Wonder Egg Priority (Otaku Tribune, Alex Henderson)

Exploring the link between WEP’s genre choices and its meandering gender politics.

Crucial worldbuilding elements suddenly make less sense with the change in genre framing. How do the heroes get to the strange, liminal spaces where they fight the Wonder Killers, if it’s not a magical dreamscape — if it’s virtual reality, how do the girls access it? How do the souls of suicidal teenagers end up in eggs? Are we now being asked to believe that concepts like souls and trauma-monsters fit into the logical, tech-driven framework of a science fiction series?

This is not to say that fantasy and sci-fi elements cannot co-exist or mingle together in interesting ways. Puella Magi Madoka Magica — which Egg is drawing at least some inspiration from — had its magical girl genre elements enabled by the meddling of aliens, landing it simultaneously in fantasy and sci-fi. FLIP FLAPPERS, which similarly, literally explores the “inner worlds” of its characters, anchors its fantastical possibilities in advanced technology.

Indeed, whether Egg pulled this off or not may vary from viewer to viewer. However, the mid-series shift from fabulism to sci-fi coincides with another narrative shift that also betrays the expectations built in earlier episodes, and its impact on the show goes beyond convoluted worldbuilding.

TWEET: Japanese-language article about discrimination against non-standardized hair (particularly Black hair) in Japanese schools.

TWEET: Music group WORLD ORDER has been posting anti-vax conspiracy theories on their platform (Chiaki double-checked regarding the poster’s uncertainty; those are in fact the sentiments WORLD ORDER expressed).

THREAD: Follow-up to Wednesday’s article about a non-explicit TSF manga addressing dysphoria and gender identity.

AniFem Community

The best cases are when the spinoff gets so popular people forget it is a spinoff.

Yashahime. It convinced me to watch Inuyasha which I had kept procrastinating on watching because that anime is long as hell. And I also like that the main character is a girl with an androgynous design. Pokemon Origins largely because I like the idea of a Pokemon anime that is in some way consistent with the games story. And I also want to give a special shout out to My Hero Academia Vigilantes. For having a character that is literally just Prince.

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