IGWS Newsletter Vol. 29

  • Report on the 22nd IGWS Seminar at Aichi Shukutoku University
  • Students’ feedback on the 21st IGWS Seminar
  • Living with Others Keeps Me Alive ―How to be an independent human being
  • The Second Glacial Epoch of Job Hunting and A Report Card on Gender Gaps in Japan”
  • The 3 rd Meeting discussing: Graduation Theses Written from a Gender Perspective
  • Student’s Report: After performing a short play on Date DV entitled “Is This Love?”
  • Gender & Women’s Studies: Open lectures (2010)

Report on the 22nd IGWS Seminar

Lecture Series:“Gender in Girls' Comics ―How are the cross-dressing girls drawn?”
( Speaker:Ms. Michiko Oshiyama. Fellow at Senshu University, Institute of Humanities)

 Ms. Michiko Oshiyama gave us a lecture on the theme of “cross-dressing girls” in girls’ comics and talked about the close relationship between girls’ comics and gender roles. In her lecture, she referred to three comic books: Princess Knight by Osamu Tezuka, Lady Oscar by Riyoko Ikeda, Star Child Utena by Chiho Saito and Be Papas.

 Ms. Oshiyama defines “girls’ comics” as comics appearing in girls’ magazines. It was during the Showa era that comics began appearing in girls’ magazines. Serialization of stories began appearing when “Girls Club” was published in 1945, but the female characters in those comics remained stereotypical. Then in 1953, Princess Knight by Osamu Tezuka was published.

 Sapphire, the main character of Princess Knight, was born as a princess, but raised as a prince and thus wearing boy’s clothes. Ms. Oshiyama points out that the way Sapphire’s is drawn, especially her eyes, her eyelashes, her nose and her mouth, the character cannot escape her femininity. Furthermore, in Princess Knight, Sapphire is drawn physically and mentally as a girl and her physical and mental femininity is depicted as essentially, unchanging. The masculinity never takes over her femininity.

 Next, Ms. Oshiyama look at Lady Oscar which began its serialization in 1972. In this story, the main character Lady Oscar dresses in men’s clothes and has both masculine aggressiveness and feminine gentleness as well. However, when Oscar (a lady) confronts Andre (a man), there is little difference in their gender descriptions. Oscar’s epicene gender traits are highlighted. In Oscar’s death sean in the very last chapter, the motif of a goddess is used for her depiction. An image of the mythical creature is given to Oscar, and her identity crosses over the conventional frame of male or female gender. In the end, she sublimes to the independent “trans-person” who is neither male nor female.

 Finally Ms. Oshiyama talks about Star Child Utena, and she notes that the main character Utena is described as a person of indeterminate gender who takes the role of a prince, hiding her desire to be a princess inside. Utena achieves self-establishment as a "transgendered" person who has "inner strength and dignity that belongs to neither male nor female characteristics.” Ms. Ushiyama indicates that Utena fights against the conventional framework of the two opposite genders. In girls’ comic books, “cross-dressing girls” do not conform to conventional definition of “girls” or “women” and continue possessing the freedom to not be oppressed in to fulfilling the conventional notions of male or female gender roles.

The 3rd meeting discussing graduation theses written from a gender perspective, held on January 27, 2010

 This year we celebrate the 3rd year of our “meeting to discussing graduation theses written from a gender perspective." There were two reports from the Department of Studies on Contemporary Society, one from the Department of Communication Psychology, and one from the Department of English Language and Literature. We had members of the audience from other universities, and the meeting became an inspiring occasion to share their viewpoints on gender. At the tea party after the report meeting, the participants enjoyed sharing their views and ideas. The names of reporting students and their theses are as follows:

  • YOKOTA, Atsuko. “The Reality of Human Trafficking in Thailand and Japan ―Why has Thailand / Japan become a prostitution country?”
  • OKADA, Mai. “Investigation Analysis about the Separate Family Names of Married Couples”
  • ASAI, Chiho. “About A Changing Process of the Development of the Gender Personalities in Men and Women ― specifically high school students, and university students, members of the society”
  • HONNDA, Yuko. “Human Nature Depicted in "The Robber Bride"”

A student activity report ―"Is this love?" The students perform a "date DV” short play

 At the Nagoya City Gender Equality Promotion Center (Tsunagaretto NAGOYA), the members of the ASU gender study group performed a short play about “date DV”. Wishing many people to know more about "date DV" and think about the problems, the students decided to make a short play, for which they wrote the script and directed. Through trial and error they repeated the brainstorming process how to describe the conversation of a troubled couple, and then performed it. After the performance, the students felt a sense of achievement to have reached their goal to raise “social awareness and warn people of date DV." They could also share their new viewpoints regarding gender issues.

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