problems with “Ladies’ Comics”

June 8, 2007

 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?


Thoughts on Takarazuka & “Dream Girls”

April 25, 2007

I just wanted to write a little more in response to the film “Dream Girls” we saw in class today:

I really found it intriguing how much emphasis is put on the women as male stars. Tomomi brought up that, during the restaurant scene, the girl who played male roles in Takarazuka said she had always liked the female parts – but even though this alludes to the fact that there are female roles, it doesn’t speak much for female stars. I wonder what the difference between male and female role stars is, or if the female characters are actually given anywhere near as much hype. As was also mentioned in class, it seems as though female fans understand the fact that all of Takarazuka’s stars are female (e.g. stars are often brought girly things like baskets and gift bags); but it was interesting to see this fan-craze illustrated for the women who play men’s roles.

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