Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities Abstract: “My Pretty Prince! Gender-role Gymnastics in the Shojo Manga Series Otomen”

Originally written for Em Bee Bee. Published October 18, 2011.


Hello everyone!

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything on my site! A lot of things have been going on – including looking at graduate schools – but one of the most exciting things that has happened is…

I’m taking Otomen to Hawaii!

Dr. Anderson helped me craft the work I’ve done on Otomen into an abstract for the 2012 Hawaii International Conference on Arts & Humanities. So if you’re going to be at the conference, look me up! The title is  My Pretty Prince! Gender-role Gymnastics in the Shojo Manga Series Otomen. Here’s the abstract below:

Scholars take opposite positions on women’s roles in shojo manga, or Japanese comics aimed at younger women, either praising or criticizing female gender role expectations. Some scholars, such as Kukhee Choo, argue that the roles occupied by female characters advocate traditional female gender roles and thereby hinder women’s autonomy by perpetuating traditional stereotypes. Yet a few other scholars, such as Matt Thorn, state that these manga inspire more autonomy, since they can often feature a seemingly ordinary young girl overcoming extraordinary conflicts. However, neither position explores the range of male gender role expectations in shojo manga. In my paper, I examine Otomen, a shojo manga that features a male protagonist. Because it is a shojo manga that focuses on men, it pits the traditional Japanese understandings of male and female gender role expectations against each other, exploring them through the ‘girly’ protagonist Masamune Asuka and his relationship with his ‘ungirly’ female love interest Miakozuka Ryo. I specifically explore Asuka’s struggles between his hyper-masculine persona, created in response to pressure to conform to traditional societal gender expectations, and his inner feminine interests, thereby occupying a space between masculine and feminine.

Again, thanks to Crystal Anderson for…well, getting me into the conference! The abstract would not sound as professional as it does without her help! ♡

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