random article describing the process of gender colonialism in Japan
November 26, 2012
wow. just read this article that is giving me a lot to think about. this paragraph is giving me lots of thoughts about how i used to express my gender (tw: in quote for cissexist descriptions of bodies):
And yet his hero suite emphasizes zir maleness. It’s not just how tight it is and how the body curves and lines are all well-described. It’s also the fact that the crotch area is differently colored. This contradicts zir words; why would a person identifying as female would want to underline the bulk between zir thighs?
So beyond the cissexism of assuming and saying that maleness = having penis package, this paragraph makes me think. while i never IDd as ‘female’ when i used to wear skirts and stuff and actually express my real gender. i never tucked. i actually liked the prominence of my package. i also tended to feel more butch the more I expressed my femininity. but this is, basically, not to be unexpected from a ladyboy like myself. it is also crystalizing just how I’m gonna get back to that place.
I feel some kinda way about this article because, while it isn’t the expressed point, it clear details how trans and/or queer rhetoric has this hegemonic and colonial aspect to it. Because the author clearly states:
The past week (12-19 November) was Transgender Awareness Week, so I thought of bringing up some thoughts I had concerning how gender dysphoria and transgenderism seem to be often confused with homosexuality in Japan, especially in the media.
goes on to describe a character who might be best identified as okama, which is defined as:
“Okama” (or “o-kama”) is Japanese slang for “gay man”, particularly in reference to very effeminate gays. The word can also mean “drag queen.” It comes from the Edo-period slang for “anus” (using the word “kettle” for the butt seems to be an idea borrowed from the Portuguese.) It is not always considered insulting, and drag performers will sometimes even use it in reference to themselves.
Which Okama seems to have some correlation to Bakla, without the history or quite as much gender stuff thrown in. At least for this definition. But the author uses the existence of this definition to conclude: “that Japanese even to this day confuse sexual orientation with gender identity”.
Going on to describe the history:
During the 1970’s the first Barazoku magazines appeared and those featured much more masculine gay men. Discussions and interviews with transgender people showed also that FtM individuals though baffled themselves about their sexuality and gender identity, at the beginning of 1980’s started perceiving themselves clearer and talked about contrast in ‘bodily sex’ and ‘sex of the heart’. In the early 1990’s in the context of human rights’ campaigns and activism Japanese adopted the english terminology of lgbtq matters and queer studies, and therefore one could say that things and notions progressed.
And leaving us with this question: “why do we still encounter such entangled misrepresentations of gay and transgender people?”
of course… my answer is that this isn’t actually confusion. And that the history in that last paragraph shows how white gender/sexuality rhetoric starts colonizing Japanese understandings of gender/sexuality and how transmisogyny begins to creep into a community.
Heartbreaking is the sentence “one could say that things and notions progressed” just after noting Japanese adopting english terminology.
This is not progression. This is exactly how colonialism works. And this is absolutely shit. And I can see something similar in Filipin@ communities. Where ‘gay’ is used instead of Bakla. Or how many people think that bakla is just the Tagalog word for gay (hint: it isn’t).
this is the sort of shit I’ll always resent the white queer and trans movements for.