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Fight Like a Girl

It took me a long time to understand how to begin an autoethnographic study. The term itself is not hard to grapple but it is difficult to wrap your head around once you’ve spent almost four years at University taking yourself out of the equation and supplementing it with work from other people who are far more intelligent that you.

But after a lot of looking around, Hoppes (2014, p.64) summarised it perfectly, “autoethnographers’ methods vary, but generally include discussion, reflection, note-taking, emotional recall, and identification of categories and themes yielding a narrative that affords both the inside view of a research participant and the outside view of a researcher”.

 

Autoethnographic research is also somewhat of a Pandora’s box. It takes you on a journey way, way, way to the right so you are immersed in a different culture. But then spins you around and around and expects you to run all the way back in the opposite direction so you can tell people of your journey.

But as Hall (Chang 2008, p.34) eloquently suggests, the key to studying another culture is to not to simply understand a foreign culture but to better understand our own or to be better equipped.

This is particularly accurate for me as I am exploring tones of feminism through the text Sailor Moon. Initially I was annoyed that there was no loud, or glowing neon sign, that said, “here is the feminist part, ding ding ding”!

On reflection, I feel quite stupid because there is absolutely none of that in my own culture so why would I expect if from another?

The genre that Sailor Moon falls under is Shoujo which often addresses a “girl’s first love, and the innocent excitement and sometimes painful drama that comes with it. It also deals with friendship and personal development” (Lai, 2015). Conversely, Lai (2015) says that another genre targeted towards female audiences is josei which uncovers what it means to be an adult, what it means to be a woman and with it a sense of maturity and readiness for adulthood.

This was interesting as I did not know that there were so many levels and areas of manga and anime. So maybe I am placing too much ‘pressure’ on Sailor Moon to be a feminist text much like you would not expect the Saddle Club to be teaching girls about what it means to be a woman.

Despite all this, Newsom (2004, p.58) does make a point regarding the Sailor Scouts who are powerful and feminine characters as well as their power being dependent on femininity. Femininity is a literal requirement of being a Sailor Scout.

Sailor Scouts also represent a planet and this is believed to be refelctive of their personality and behaviour.

  • Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino  – she is extremely protective of her friends and the Moon is supposed to be the ‘Queen of Astrology’ and represents our emotions, moods and thoughts.
  • Sailor Mercury/Ami – Mercury represents communication and is often associated with intellect. Ami  is possibly the most intelligent girl of the whole group and often berates the group for not doing their homework
  • Sailor Mars/Rei Hino – Mars is passion. It also represents assertiveness and action and can have aggressive urges. Rei is the hot-tempered, aggressive chacrter who ofen finds herself in the midst of an argument
  •  Sailor Jupiter/ Makoto Kino – Jupiter revolves around expansiveness. They desire new experiences and getting to the top. Makoto is independent and after her parents died while she was young, she’s been taking care of herself and others.
  • Sailor Venus/ Minako Aino – Love & pleasure is the name of the game for Venus. The most important theme about Venus is harmony in interpersonal relationships. Minako is the stereotypical pre-teenager who is often dreaming about finding love.

sailor moon crew.jpg

The winning combination of these girls enables a stronger connection with the characters as you are able to identify yourself with at least one of them. Similar to the Spice Girls who were also riding the wave of Girl Power in early 2000s. Everyone knew if they were Sporty, Baby, Posh, Scary or Ginger.

It truly is a coming of age piece that exemplifies what it means to have friends and that they will have your back no matter what. The only other observation that I have recently made was the fact that the evil woman Queen Beryl is wonderfully evil and has the greatest cackle ever. I was apprehensive when I saw that many of the female characters who are evil tend to have submissive males, as I thought it really could go into the realm of misandry. But it has not from the little that I have observed thus far.

Overall, this show is all about amplifying the ‘girls only club’, the power of friendship, kicking some evil butt and all whilst looking fab-u-lous in those outfits with hair always on pointe – yes, that was supposed to be sarcasm. I still loathe it.

 

 

Chang, H, (2008), ‘Autoethnography as a Method’, Eastern University,  http://www.academia.edu/1244871/Autoethnography_as_method

Cooper-Chen, A, (1999), “An Animated Imbalance: Japan’s Television Heroines in Asia,” International Communications Gazette, vol.61, no.3, pp.293-310

Ferris, A, (2014), ‘Why Sailor Moon Is One of the Greatest Feminist Stories Ever’, The Absolute Mag, accessed 19 September, http://theabsolutemag.com/26731/longreads/why-sailor-moon-is-one-of-the-greatest-feminist-stories-ever/

Hoppes, S (2014), ‘Autoethnography: Inquiry Into Identity’, New Directions fro Higher Education, vol. 2014, no. 166, pp. 63 – 179

Lai, A, (2015), ‘Looking at female characters in Anime and Manga’, The Mary Sue, http://www.themarysue.com/female-characters-anime/

Newsom, V.A., (2004), ‘Young Females as Super Heroes: Super Heroines in the Animated Sailor Moon’, Femspec, vol.5, no.2, p.57 – 81

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Who runs the world? Well….not girls

Feminism, the fight for social and political equality between the sexes. A simple yet often misconstrued term.

A word that is thrown around constantly but with little to no knowledge of its meaning. However, when asked whether Hollywood is filled with sexism, many would say yes. The feminism debate came to the forefront – again – in 2015 at the Oscars when Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech went viral as she asked for wage equality for all women.

This was not the first time Hollywood was called out on their blatant sexism displayed throughout the awards ceremonies. Amy Poehler started the #askhermore campaign which asks journalists and reporters to give more than just the boring old questions that are devoid of any substance such as, who are you wearing, how long did it take you to get ready, what are your must-have pieces?

cate blanchett

ELLE magazine flipped “the script” for red carpet interviews as they asked men the same questions that women are constantly bombarded with at every award ceremony. The result? A combination of hilarious, insightful and varied responses.

James Corden, the host of the Late Late Show, was asked how did he get ready for the event? “I put one leg in and then the other in and I lifted it up and then I sucked in and did it”. What’s your must have fashion piece? “I always wear a G-string. I’m never without one. You should see the one I’m wearing now”.

But the #askhermore campaign is not without criticism. Sarah Miller, a writer for time.com, wrote:

“women created the movement, and many seem to be empowered by it. But I wouldn’t be surprised if others wanted to just talk fashion”

I think she has dramatically missed the point. The issue is not talking about fashion, it is about having the choice to be asked more. In my very humble opinion, I feel that this is what feminism is about. It is about having the choice to be a career-driven women who wants to have a family as well. It is about feeling accepted for being a stay-at-home mother. It is about choices, freedom and seeing ourselves on an equal playing field with men.

Because, when you #askhermore, it is amazing to see that she is so much more than a dress.

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Female – not a dirty word

Sometimes, naivety is a virtue. Trolling has been around as long as social media. But I was astounded and appalled at the number of people who attack women – especially female journalists – in the form of comments on social media, forums, articles and nearly every other medium where they are able to voice their opinions. But what appalled me the most was the type of comments in which these cowards were leaving.

While negative, hateful comments are sadly all too common, it is the ‘[anonymity which] allows people to indulge their worst tendencies, not only towards individuals but entire social groups’ (Stafford, 2012). The sexually explicit and grotesque comments aimed at women who speak up about respect are often dubbed as ‘feminazis’. These ‘feminazis’ – who include both men and women- are constantly subjected to the entire spectrum of barbaric names. As Virginia Triolli said, “I am called a bitch, a slag, a slut” and constantly told to “go die.” She also went on to add,  “I’ve also been abused in the most disgusting and personal terms, but that just goes with the territory these days.”

These type of slogans were once printed and sold on t-shirts as a form of boastfulness or “bravery” as one customer commented

Take for example, the Channel Ten 7pm Project interview with former Sex Pistols front man John Lyndon. It begins as any other interview but it is at 2:40 that the interview takes a very interesting turn – for the worse (view here).

Another common sexist view is one that someone wrote stating that women “should get back into the kitchen” as well as many other stupid jokes and remarks about why women are smaller than men – these people obviously took cavemen’s lifestyles too seriously.  These deeply entrenched sexist views that are disseminated worldwide have caused a historic misogyny debate in Australian Parliament between Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott:

On a lighter note, there are many blogs who are speaking up about these issues – such as the AntiBogan who aim to name and shame those who are misogynist, coward trollers. As well as Twitter which has a hashtag (#mencallmethings) which also aims to name and shame as well as illuminating that there is a real issue with how females are treated within the media. This movement is about “empowering women to respond to their abusers with the same functionality the trolls take for granted – a platform to call out, name and shame.”

As the internet becomes more a part of our lives, we need to seriously look at these trolling issues and encourage naming and shaming – there should be some element of accountability as it is a low, cowardly and pathetic act.

Picture source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/8389638/Keep-Calm-T-shirts-glorify-rape-murder

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