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Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story

A Japanese girl and a white woman in yukata smile for the camera

Back in March 2011, Japan and the world were reeling from the effects of the Great Earthquake and Tsunami that killed over 18,000 people and obliterated the Tohoku coastline. The Nightly News with Brian Williams reported the death of Taylor Anderson, a young white American woman who had been teaching English in the area. Her smiling face with her bright pink yukata filled my TV screen. After the broadcast ended, my phone immediately rang.

“Did you see the Nightly News tonight? Did you see it?”

It was my Mom.

“Yes, Mom. I saw it,” I replied.

The story had hit home–I had taught English myself near Kyoto right out of college from 2006 to 2008. Here it was, my parents’ worst nightmare, on their TV screen. So when I heard that a documentary called “Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story” was screening in New York City, I knew I had to show my support.

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At my panel at Senshi Matsuri, I started with the representation of women/girls in Sailor Moon and moved on to LGBT representation. Now you might be asking yourself what does LGBT representation have to do with feminism? Well, a lot actually! Since LGBT people don’t fit “traditional” definitions of family, sex, and femininity/masculinity, many issues fall under the movement to end “sexist oppression.”

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Welcome to Shojo Power!

Well, hello! Welcome to the grand opening of Shojo Power! A Feminist Analysis of Sailor Moon and More. This is a blog dedicated to feminist analysis of the Japanese anime/manga Sailor Moon, other girl oriented anime, and Japanese culture.

The seed for this blog was planted in June 2013 during the first convention dedicated solely to Sailor Moon, Senshi Matsuri. At the con, I presented a powerpoint presentation on the topic of Sailor Moon & Feminism. I had a great time presenting it and the attendees were already well versed in Sailor Moon and feminism. What I didn’t expect was the sheer excitement from the attendees–even though any one of them could have done this panel, they were still super excited that someone had decided to do one! That’s when I realized that although are so many amazing geeky, feminist blogs and tumblrs etc out there, there might be room for one more. Heck, I had so much material from my presentation that I didn’t talk about, where was I going to put it all?!

To that end, here’s what I hope to achieve with Shojo Power!

1) To provide in-depth feminist analysis of Sailor Moon in all its incarnations–including the new anime airing sometime in Winter 2013/2014

2) To amplify the voices of Sailor Moon fans, particularly the lady voices

3) To provide feminist analysis of other girl-oriented anime

4) To be a bridge between Western feminism and Japanese feminism

5) To have a ton of fun talking about Japanese and Western culture!

I hope you all will come on this journey with me–I expect this will be a huge learning process, but I hope all of us can have fun too! I have a day job to pay the bills so I won’t be able to post every day, so I’m aiming to post every Monday morning at 9am sharp EST. I realize this post is landing on a Friday morning, so I hope Friday will become a regular posting day too.

But there’s no need to wait! I’ve been a busy bee and I already have posts on Sailor Moon and DOMA as well as a non-Sailor Moon movie review of Hentai Kamen (not to be confused with Tuxedo Kamen). My first order of business is to rework my powerpoint presentation into individual posts. I already have the first post in this series done which is Does Sailor Moon Pass the Bechdel Test? (My mother really wants to see the powerpoint presentation so you can even share these posts with your mother too! MUAHAHA.)

Are there any topics you want Shojo Power! to cover? Be sure to leave them in the comments!

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In the Name of the Moon, We Will Destroy DOMA!

After months of anticipation, the US Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. This allows same sex couples who are married in states that allow same sex marriage to receive federal benefits. As I waited for the verdict, I used the below image for my Facebook and Twitter icon. I absolutely loved how Moonies used Sailor Moon, Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus to support same sex marriage. After all, they are the champions of love and justice!

Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus with the red equality logo

I remember ganking this from Facebook, but I can’t remember who created it. If anyone knows who it was, please let me know so I can give credit.

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Hentai Kamen: A Feminist Movie Review

One of the great things about living in NYC is that I have the opportunity to go to really cool events like Japan Cuts, a festival of contemporary Japanese cinema. Last year I was able to see an anime about the life of Buddha based on the manga by Osamu Tezuka. This year I’ll be seeing a documentary about the girl group AKB48 and another documentary about the life of Taylor Anderson, a young American woman who died during the tsunami in 2011. However, my partner and his buddies really wanted to see Hentai Kamen: The Forbidden Superhero, so I tagged along.

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Does Sailor Moon Pass The Bechdel Test?

A popular topic in feminist analysis of pop culture is The Bechdel Test. What is the Bechdel Test you ask? It’s rather simple really, but I love this explanation by Anita at Feminist Frequency:

Ok, so does Sailor Moon have two or more women who have names? YES! Do they talk to each other? YES! Do they talk to each other about something other than dudes? YES! YAHOO! HOLLYWOOD TAKE NOTE!

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