Posts Tagged ‘history’


Image from The Witch website: a dark image with a goat; text is overlaid on the image: “GOAT: The He-Goat’s two horn’d crown doth reign / Through blackest Nature, His domain.”

The genre of horror doesn’t exist in a vacuum: what is scary isn’t the same throughout time or space. For example, my idea of a great scary story*:

On a hot and sunny day, your intrepid blogger was blindfolded and forced to attend a gender-reveal party for a baby.** Watch as they encounter…

Misgendering! [cut to “Well, hello, there, miss!”]

Cissplaining! [cut to “They/them aren’t real pronouns!”]

The very concept of binary genders assigned based on in-utero pics of baby’s genitals! [cut to BLOGGER, confused: “hamburger?! turtle?! are we speaking English rn does the ultrasound now tell you folks’ pronouns now?”]

Ruining cake with the arbitrary and artificial gender binary! [cut to CAKE oozing pink or blue]

Regrettably, being marginalized usually means folks are afraid of people like me: queer and genderqueer/gender non-conforming (though the brunt of that falls on trans women). Cultural fears, particularly about the marginalized gaining power and influence (or, self determination even), drive horror films. The vampire as a queer woman or a (somehow also queer) Eastern European; the serial killer as bisexual or trans; zombies as a metaphor for racial Others; and, among many others, witches. Witches are conflated with everything from the fear of ethnic Others (Roma, Creole, Latinx, African) to the generalized fear of women, including but not limited to women having rights to their own bodies, property, money, sexuality, and self determination.

Which brings me to The Witch, a horror film for Puritans by Puritans. (more…)

Read Full Post »

On San’in Monogatari: Some great historical background on tatara (iron bellows) and why it was such a big deal that they were run by women in Mononoke-hime:

San'in Monogatari

Have you ever heard of Tatara?

If you’re like me, the first thing that pops into your head is one of the 28 Chinese mansion constellations (婁), but if you’re more interested in iron working, steel working, and Japanese swords, perhaps you already know this as foot-operated bellows used in the firey production of these materials (踏鞴, though usually written phonetically as たたら).

It’s such a crucial part of this region’s history, however, that I’ve learned a thing or two–though lacking any craftsmanship sense, my knowledge is still limited. Here’s a basic introduce so as to introduce one of the local deities.

Tatara was likely imported into Japan from Korea by way of Shimane Prefecture, and seeing as the San’in region is rich with titanium magnetite, a necessary ingrediant for iron production, it took hold here very early on in Japanese history. Way back in ancient Japan–specifically 713ad, two…

View original post 894 more words

Read Full Post »

Seattle is home to all sorts of interesting “niche” museums, and while I haven’t had a chance to see them all yet, I wanted to share with you my photos of the permanent exhibitions of the The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. Located in Seattle’s International District, the museum is the only pan-Asian museum in the US, and serves as both a look at the history of Asian immigration to the Pacific Northwest as well as a space to explore contemporary American identity politics.

The permanent exhibitions include biographical information on Wing Luke, who was born in China and immigrated to the US when he was 10. A WWII veteran, he was the first Asian-American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest. He served on the Seattle city council until his death in a plane crash in 1965.

Wing Luke's biography.

Wing Luke’s biography.


Read Full Post »

In this Japan gender reader: Sailor Moon, sex and gender statistics, gender-equality Jizo, and more!

From Sailor Moon Wikia

Concept art by Takeuchi Naoko. From Sailor Moon Wikia

Warning: some links may be NSFW.


Read Full Post »

Happy Halloween, everyone! Here are a variety of links from across the web to get you in the holiday spirit!


Read Full Post »

Just like fashion trends, the “ideal body shape(s)” for both women and men changes through the years based on social and economic trends. Of course, socially preferred body shapes within the same population may vary based on ethnicity, socioeconomic class, national background, location, etc., but there are general, overarching trends. As someone who adores fashion history (it’s more tied to gender studies than you think!), visual culture, and mapping social trends, in high school and even now I was intrigued by the idea of ideal body types for each decade: Marilyn Monroe for the 50s, Twiggy for the late 60s, and so on.

Left: Twiggy; Right: Marilyn Monroe. Image from Italie Leanne. “Twiggy: I Wanted To Look Like Marilyn Monroe.” The Huffington Post. 29 Mar. 2010.

Realizing that even though your body type isn’t “in” now but was at some point in history or is somewhere else in the world can be incredibly gratifying. The first time I saw a Roman statue who actually looked exactly like my body type at age 18, I was so happy that there was once someone looked like me and whom an artist felt was beautiful enough to model for a mythological character. I love/d reading about the 1920s, because I would have considered pretty for a shape I was teased about in high school [ed. more about teasing vs. discrimination later]. I think a lot of people, especially women, have this idea that they were “born in the wrong decade/century/era” for their body type, and it can be empowering to see your shape as beautiful or sexy.

So when I saw the illustration “Wrong Century” by Tomas Kucerovsky I should have been happy, right?


Read Full Post »

It seems like the world of gender news has exploded in the last month, so I’m feeling a bit behind here. First, congrats to President Obama for coming out of the support closet on homogamous marriage in time for the election!  And now on to our regularly scheduled programming: gender stereotypes, women in Egypt, marginalization, hope for the birth dearth, Japanese PFLAG, and the best Tumblr of this administration.

From failbook.


Read Full Post »

Inspired by my tour of Matsumoto Castle in Nagano, I decided to go to Himeji Castle at the end of my spring vacation. While touring the castle, which is under renovation till 2015, was quite interesting, I actually had more fun going to the Takarazuka exhibit at the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History nearby. I wouldn’t have even known about the exhibit if I hadn’t seen fliers for it in the train station, so it must have been fate!

Photography was allowed at the exhibit, so I’ve included some of the highlights here.


Read Full Post »