problems with “Ladies’ Comics”

 Again, I apologize for posting my reading questions late.

Jones makes a good case for pornographic manga, but I think that “bad girls who like to look” are, in the end, (in the words of Catherine MacKinnon) still vicariously working out the fantasies of men. Just because the ladies’ comics provide a venue for women to express and experiment with various sexual desires doesn’t mean that some (or most) of these desires are autonomously conceived. If, indeed, manga and anime are so integral to the shaping of gender identification and relations between the sexes (as Napier suggests), then wouldn’t it be irresponsible of Jones to neglect the informative aspect of anime and manga? As with any mass medium, shouldn’t we consider the influence of the representation (on the subject) as well as what is reflected (from the subject) in the representation? In other words, don’t social constructions create our identities as much as we create social constructions? If such a construction perpetuates a motif of explicit abuse, is it “ethically” okay to identify with it upon awareness of its effects? And this makes me wonder: what is the mentality of the gang rapists mentioned in the anecdotes of ladies’ comics readers? To link this train of thought to our class today, I ask yet another question: to what extent are the “male” actresses in Takarazuka even more directly living the vicarious life of the masculine fantasy?


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