Posts Tagged ‘gender non-conformity’

Part 1
Part 2

Although she was born in 1947, Riyoko Ikeda is included in the Year 24 group along with Moto Hagio and Keiko Takemiya, whom we will discuss later. Best known as a manga artist, Ikeda also worked as a scenarist; in 2001, she enrolled in and later graduated from music school, where she studied opera.

The Rose of Versailles Volume 2

Cover of an edition of Berusaiyu no Bara, Vol. 2, featuring Oscar and Marie Antoinette in portrait on a blue background

Ikeda’s works include Berusaiyu no Bara (The Rose of Versailles, or BeruBara), Oniisama e (To My Elder Brother), and Orufeusu no Mado (The Window of Orpheus). Many of her manga are historical fiction that examine topics in gender and sexuality; some feature queer or gender- nonconforming characters. While she does focus somewhat on coming-of-age romances, which are topics typically featured in shojo manga, Ikeda wrote about adult relationships, particularly in The Rose of Versailles, as well as gender identity, political upheaval, and class issues.

The Rose of Versailles is arguably one of the most famous and most influential manga ever. (more…)

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…in which our heroine rides into the desert and we learn about the need for intersectional feminism.

Featured image from here.

In addition to spoilers for Book 1, 2, and 3, we’ll be discussing issues related to racism (including white feminism and the idea of white saviors) and with partner misogyny.

tumblr_inline_ni1cuzzZMY1t8rophWhat’s the Beyond Binaries Book Club?

Long version here.

Our focus is on books (and media) about characters with sexualities, gender identities, or gender expressions that aren’t simply male/female or gay/straight. That is, characters who are bi/pansexual/queer-identified, or whose gender expression or identity is not strongly fixed to the gender binary (may include agender, transgender, gender-nonconforming, gendervariant, genderfluid, intersex [as identity], non-binary, genderqueer, et al.). We tend to read speculative fiction novels (as opposed to non-fiction, including autobiographies), but other genre fiction, graphic novels, comics, and short stories may be on our list.

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man

Newly knighted, Alanna of Trebond seeks adventure in the vast desert of Tortall. Captured by fierce desert dwellers, she is forced to prove herself in a duel to the death—either she will be killed or she will be inducted into the tribe. Although she triumphs, dire challenges lie ahead. As her mysterious fate would have it, Alanna soon becomes the tribe’s first female shaman—despite the desert dwellers’ grave fear of the foreign woman warrior. [Editor’s note: even the back of the book is racist oh boy] Alanna must fight to change the ancient tribal customs of the desert tribes—for their sake and for the sake of all Tortall. [Ed. NOOOOOPE let Kara and Kourrem do it stop it Alanna]


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…and decides George and Jonathan need to cut the crap.


GIF: Jessica Huang in Fresh Off the Boat yelling “RESPECT GIRLS” at her son Eddie while pushing a giant stuffed bunny in his face to illustrate her point. Source. (includes gif set)

Seriously, they’re the worst.

In addition to spoilers for Book 1 and Book 2, we’ll be discussing issues related to dubcon (dubious consent), misogyny, and mansplaining, both in terms of the plot (characters doing and saying awful things) and the narrative (the author’s decisions about how said characters’ actions are contextualized or treated in the narrative by the author).


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In this Feminist Friday post, I’m going to discuss bi1 erasure in social science research and news coverage. It’s bad enough having to do the closet hokey-pokey literally every single day of my life2, but when heterosexual/monosexual/cisgender social scientists and writers decide to pointedly ignore non-monosexual folks or write their thrilling conclusions about our personal lives without our input3, it very much affects us.

Edit: WordPress was supposed to embed posts from tumblr and didn’t. The head image is from this post.

Exhibit A: Erasure by Exclusion as Data 

This very scientific article from 2012 from Scientific American (the link is from donotlink, so click away) is here to sell you a pack of lies (which hurt het folks, too!):

[Image: Scientific American, Headline reads

[Image: Scientific American, Headline reads “Men and Women Can’t Be ‘Just Friends'”



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Quick note: we used to be The Non-Binary Book Club, but in 2017, I changed the name to “Beyond Binaries” to better reflect our content.

It’s no secret that I’m enamored of the “cross-dressing and sword-fighting” genre, but I had a moment a few months ago when I got so fed up with a novel of that description that I almost threw it out the bus window.

You know the story: guy 1 (a straight cis man) meets guy 2 (a cis-identified woman in disguise as a man for Reasons); there’s an attraction; guy 1 has queer panic about his homoromantic inclinations; and then guy 2 reveals himself to have been the princess, sister of some lord, or heir all along! Boom, heterogamous marriage may commence! Heterosexuality is defended!

Some spoilers for The House of Four Winds below; basic plot for Ancillary Justice.

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Ôoku: Cross-Dressing in a Matriarchy

Part 5 here.

We’ve already discussed several speculative fiction pieces with cross-dressing characters in them. Yet, where a piece like BeruBara focuses on alternate history by adding in a few fictional characters to actual historic events, the world portrayed by Yoshinaga Fumi in Ôoku (大奥) is an alternate history in which most of the historical figures’ genders have been swapped. The author’s use of speculative fiction serves to illustrate contemporary issues of gender and sexism by showing them to us through a tilted mirror. How does cross-dressing function in a gender-swapped world?

Content: this section contains mild spoilers for the manga series Ôoku, and some spoilers specific to the plots of the Iemitsu (vol. 2-4) and the Ieshige-Ieharu arcs (vol. 8-10). The spoilers are primarily events that occur in the first volumes of each story arc (vol. 2 and vol. 8). (Keep in mind that because this is historical fiction, general information about said historical figures will contain some spoilers.) Some discussion of misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, and domestic violence. All images safe for work.

Ooku, Vol. 2, p. 117.

Iemitsu and Arikoto. Ooku, Vol. 2, p. 117.


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While I dislike reading reviews of shows and exhibits that have ended or are nearly over (“Hey! I could have gone to see that!”), a comment on my articles about The Rose of Versailles reminded me that I never did end up posting about my adventures at the Kyoto International Manga Museum‘s two-part exhibit on The Rose of Versailles.

Image from the Kyoto International Manga Museum



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Part 2: Political Power and Female Daimyô

As the events happening within the ôoku reflect the changes in sexual culture this reimagined Edo Period, Yoshinaga, with her wonderful  knack for world-building,  shows the full societal impact that the decimation of the male population and the unbalanced sex ratio have on the greater political and social culture.

"A woman's voice?" (Vol. 3, p. 215)


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Doctor Heteronormative would be a BITCHIN name for the main villain dude.

-Jeph Jacques

With all the talk of herbivore men, pushy women, and linguistic gender-screwups in the air lately, the summer-fall season of Japanese dramas has been surprisingly supportive of non-conformity to the heteronormative cultural expressions of gender.* In particular, I’ve been really impressed with「派遣のオスカル」Haken no Oscar, which translates to something like Lady Oscar Works Temp or Lady Oscar, Temp Worker, and 「オトメン 乙男」Otomen, which doesn’t really translate so well (more on this later).


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