IGWS Newsletter Vol. 37

  • Report on the 28th IGWS Seminar at Aichi Shukutoku University
  • Students' Feedback on the 28th IGWS Seminar
  • Report by a Student Who Participated in the Lecture on Media Literacy Held by Nisshin City as Part of Activities for Gender Equality, 2014
  • Report by a Student Who Attended the Lecture on "Social Problems Associated with 'Sex'"
  • Personal Notes
  • Introduction of Justin Charlebois' Japanese Femininities
  • The 7th Meeting of Discussing Graduation Theses Written from a Gender Perspective

Report on the 28th IGWS Seminar

"The Relation between the Female Body and Wearing Male Clothing: An Analysis of Girl's Comics' Characters in Male Dress " (Speaker:Ms. Michiko Oshiyama, Adjunct Instructor, Senshu University)

 Ms. Oshiyama researches how girls dressed as men in girls' comics have been depicted from a gender perspective. Her talk was based on the revised edition of her book titled, The Representation of Gender in Girls' Comics, which was published last year.

 Ms. Oshiyama explained how the depiction of female bodies in girls' comics has changed historically and focused on female characters in men's clothing. Comics produced in the post-war period depict the subordination of women to men. In Princess Knight by Osamu Tezuka, for example, the female body remains as an object of sexual desire, even while the protagonist wears men's clothing. Later, female comic writers in the baby boom generation describe female characters in men's clothing as people who cannot accept female bodies or reveal their uneasiness about the "female body as an object of sexual desire." Moto Hagio's Snow Child exemplifies this. After the 1990s, new types of characters appeared such as androgynous characters who embody aspects of masculinity and femininity.

Personal Reflection

Ms. Hiroko Takahashi, adjunct instructor of gender studies, at Aichi Shukutoku University reflected on her life after marriage. Ms. Takahashi writes,

 Women longed to be homemakers in the era of high economic growth in the Showa 30s (between the mid-1950s and the mid-1960s). Homemakers performed the instrumental role of supporting the success of their "corporate warrior" husbands. As the number of nuclear families increased, women no longer felt restricted by their mother-in-laws. They managed the household and raised their children as they liked. My mother was a homemaker from this era. She looked happy and was my ideal of happiness before marriage.

 Although I initially enjoyed my role as a homemaker, I eventually found myself feeling a lack of a sense of purpose and direction. I did enjoy playing the role of woman in the family and raising my children. Nevertheless, I felt that I wanted to do something not only for my family but also for myself, so I started a cram school in my house. In addition, my participation in a picture book translation club increased my feelings of connection to society. However, I felt that I wanted to study more, so I enrolled in English literature classes at a local university. Due to the classes, I became interested in viewing life through the lens of a woman's perspective. Later, I decided to enter graduate school and currently teach at a university. During the period of my life when I was a homemaker, I could never have imagined myself as a university instructor. In the past, I never doubted my own happiness as a mother. Looking back, however, I may never have questioned my own happiness because I viewed my life from the viewpoint of a "happy housewife." Indeed, learning opened new horizons for me. The quality of my life improved once I expanded my worldview and joined the outside world.

 If you want to change your life course in order to live for yourself, the key to success is the ability to muster the necessary confidence in order to make a decision and take a step forward.

Author's Introduction of Justin Charlebois,' Japanese Femininities

Dr. Justin Charlebois introduces his book Japanese Femininities (New York: Routledge, 2014) as follows. Dr. Charlebois writes,

 Since I first came to Japan in 1998, I have been interested in Japanese culture and gender. Therefore, after several years of professional experience, I entered a doctoral program in Applied Linguistics in the United Kingdom and studied how a sample of Japanese women constructs gender through language as the topic for my doctoral thesis.

 Japanese Femininities is based on my Ph.D. thesis and concerns how femininities are constructed in and through discourse. While gender is constructed through language, it is also created through social practices that are situated in particular sociocultural settings. According to the sociological research about gender in Japan that I reviewed, while the corporate salaryman and professional housewife exist as hegemonic archetypes of masculinity and femininity, social changes are gradually undermining the dominance of these enduring prototypes. Supporting the empirical research surveyed, the results of my qualitative research study demonstrate how contemporary women resist traditional gender tropes and construct a kaleidoscope of alternative femininities that arguably undermine the status quo. For these women, the full-time female homemaker and male breadwinner no longer constitute the dominant paradigm of gender relations.

The 7th Meeting Discussing Graduation Theses Written from a Gender Perspective

 The meeting was held on January 17. This year there were two theses from the Faculty of Letters, one from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. The names of the students and their theses are as follows:

  • KIHARA, Asuka. Faculty of Letters, Department of Japanese Language and Literature. "Gender Gap in University Students' Use of Language: An Analysis of First-person and Second-person Narratives, Polite Usages and Sentence-end Expressions"
  • NISHITANI, Yuka. Faculty of Letters, Department of English Language and Literature. "Masculinity in Dracula."
  • MASAKI, Kenta. Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Department of Medical Sciences, Major of Communication Disorders and Sciences. "The Need for Gender Sexuality Education for Medical Professionals"

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