My mom was unable attend my panel at Senshi Matsuri so I wanted to offer her the next best thing–a series of posts based off of my powerpoint presentation. I realize I don’t have a post based on my “What is Feminism?” slide, but I suppose this post will have to do. Anywho, for your convenience (and your mother’s!), Sailor Moon & Feminism 2013:
Content Note: Sexual Assault, Victim Blaming
In 2011, Toronto, Canada, a group of students attended a campus safety information session where a representative of the Toronto police gave this advice: “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Unfortunately, this representative must have been talking out of their ass because people of both sexes, all ages, professions and styles of dress have become victims of sexual assaults. Dissatisfied that authorities would only blame them for assaults committed against them, these students began a world-wide protest movement called SlutWalk.* Activists hoped these protests would bring more awareness about the realities of sexual assault.
In October 2011, I was able to attend the SlutWalk protest in New York City. At St. Mark’s, I spotted the above Sailor Moon sign and I practically tripped over my pilgrim dress (I was sporting a Hester Prynne outfit with a prominent A+. HEHEHE.) to get the above photo. I think Sailor Moon would agree that wearing a short skirt or knee high boots isn’t an excuse for sexual assault! I also admired the word play on the sign that referenced Sailor Moon’s signature speech: I’m Sailor Moon, champion of love and justice– and in the name of the moon, I will punish you!
Last Christmas, when I was at my childhood home, I sifted through my old Sailor Moon fanart. Among the Sailor Earth sketches, (YES SAILOR EARTH. I AM NOT ASHAMED.) there was a sketch of a villain–a woman with long black hair, crimson lips and long red nails. And it occurred to me–why does this woman have red lips? Why does she have long red nails? What was so evil about red lips or long red nails?
I took a look at my Sailor Earth–blue eyes, brown hair in pig tails (YEAH YEAH I KNOW) and I realized that she didn’t have red lips, long red nails nor long, black eyelashes even. And it dawned on me–why was the sexy woman evil? How did that happen?
In 2009, the comedy/horror movie Jennifer’s Body was unleashed upon the world. Written by self-proclaimed feminist Diablo Cody (writer for Juno) and directed by Karyn Kusama (Aeon Flux), Jennifer’s Body tells the story of Needy (Amanda Seyfried) and bestie Jennifer (Megan Fox) who becomes a man-eating demon. I had been meaning to watch it for the longest time just to see how “feminist” this movie claimed to be—and finally! It happened!
And ZOMG YOU GUYS! I LOVED IT! Witty dialogue, two female leads, with a feministy theme?! YEAH! I spoke to a few of my Moonie friends on twitter about my new-found love, but unfortunately they didn’t share my enthusiasm–the movie just wasn’t their cup of their tea. I can see how one might feel that way–the movie is kinda one big “cat fight.” It also might be a bit boring if you aren’t busy looking for feminist elements like I was. But what really excites me about this movie is that you can read it in many different ways. Underlying the plots of horror movies and literature are social anxieties we don’t want to talk about. However, before I dive into that, Jennifer’s Body did make me think of Sailor Moon.
When I heard there would be a Carrie remake with Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore and directed by Boys Don’t Cry director Kimberly Peirce, I was super excited. Would this be a feminist horror movie? It sounded like it! I had actually never seen the original movie directed by Brian De Palma which was released in 1976, so I immediately queued it up on Netflix Instant. I liked what I saw, but I definitely thought it could use an update.
Fast forward to opening weekend, and my boyfriend and I exited theater thinking that we just saw a successful remake. Well, not so, according to the reviews! I feel the need to chime in and set some things straight.
When it was announced earlier this year that the new Sailor Moon musical would have an all female cast, many fans in the West were shocked. What would it be like having Tuxedo Mask–a character who many see as their “first boyfriend”–be played by a woman? However, Tuxdeo Mask wasn’t going to be played by just any woman, retired Takarazuka super star, Yuuga Yamato would be taking on the role.
For the uninitiated, the Takarazuka Revue is a theater troupe that consists of only female performers. When performers enter the Takarazuka academy, they are assigned a gender to play based on their look, voice and preference. One might think that the genesis of this theater was quite feminist; however, it was merely a gimmick to get people to spend money.
Feminists like to throw around the term “male gaze,” but sometimes I think the term is a bit vague. I’ve talked about it some in this post, but I’m always game to examining what it actually means. About two years ago, DC rebooted its characters with The New 52, which included the character of Starfire, in a comic called Red Hood and the Outlaws. You may remember Starfire from Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans. She looked like this:
However, in the New 52 reboot, Starfire came out looking like this:
It was an amazing opportunity to see the new Sailor Moon musical, La Reconquista, in-person. But it wasn’t the only opportunity to be had!
Before the show, my good friend Yosenex and I adventured around Tokyo. Our first goal was to visit every Book Off (a used book store) we ran into and spend at least 5 minutes there. When found our first one in Shinjuku where Yosenex taught me how to find Sailor Moon manga properly. Apparently, manga is sorted by publisher so you need to find the manga with the KC label! In this Book Off we found several first editions of the original manga. I wasn’t aware of this, but Yosenex told me that these volumes (except the first one) had small posters inside. So, for 105 Yen (about $1.00), I bought this beauty:
Hey Moonies! I just got back from my trip to Japan and it was fantastic! I arrived on the evening of September 12th, and the very next day I saw the opening night of La Reconquista. It’s been a week since I’ve seen it–and fair warning, my Japanese is the worst, so I’m not sure how accurate this review will be. However, you may have already read Yosenex’s review, or this absolutely hilarious review by zukarevue, part 1 and part 2. I’ll use their reviews to jog my memory and fill in the blanks.
******SPOILERS AHOY! ********
Editor’s Note1: This is Shojo Power’s first guest post EVAR! And the honor of this first post goes to the creator of missdream.org, Elly Winters.
Editor’s Note2: Since this is a post about menstruation, I want to take a moment to remember that not all women and girls menstruate. Some men have periods as well. Shojo Power! welcomes these perspectives and experiences.
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“Sailor Moon” chronicles the transformation of a clumsy 14 year old crybaby named Usagi into a soldier of love and justice. Along the way Sailor Moon meets four other girls her own age who also undergo the same journey to become sailor soldiers for their respective guardian planets; Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Venus. Later, Usagi meets other girls going through a similar transformation – Sailor Saturn, who is around 12 years old, Sailors Uranus and Neptune, who are thought to be between 17 and 18 years old, and Sailor Pluto, who is a university student in her late teens / early 20s. An array of teenaged girls, all of whom fall somewhere along the spectrum of when girls begin to become women…
While the series “Sailor Moon” focuses on the trials and tribulations of girls transforming into magical warriors of justice, another transformation is quietly happening in the lives of each of the characters. The lack of any mention of this physical transformation in a show dedicated to female empowerment and development is puzzling; how can a show like Sailor Moon, which focuses on a team of girls going through puberty, totally ignore the facts of menstruation?