The Final Post

June 6, 2010

This will be the last post for this blog. It has been interesting tying  together gender views with the culture of Japan. On some days it was simple to do since I have been taught some of gender related subjects of Japan in previous classes, but on other days it was difficult to come up with something relevant.

I would like to say that I am not a feminist nor am I a male that looks down on women either. From my perspective, the feminist view is trying to give women more respect and rights as women, like having more people respect woman as people rather then sexual objects. Treating women as equals is just common sense to me, and people who treat women as lower beings have little to no humanity. But I am against feminist groups when they try too hard to get equal rights for woman. For example, when a feminist turns every little action on women as oppressive, like the courtesy of opening a door for a female. Yes, I opened the door for a girl out of courtesy, but I do this for everyone to be nice and I am not being oppressive to every person i open a door to.

For the blog, the topics I choose could all be turned into discussions of oppression and sexism of women, and in many aspects the arguments that arise are plausible. For instance, the genres of shounen, shoujo, and moe are media outlets that just reestablish gender roles in Japan’s society. Maid cafes and hostess clubs do indeed degrade women in some way. But to say that all woman are oppressed in Japan because these things exist is absurd. I will agree though that these things do further the stress of a woman to act toward society’s gender norm, but many women are strong enough to ignore such media and proceed with a fulfilling life without feeling oppressed.

I believe that if a person wants to stop sexism and gender roles in society, that the feminist movements must stop. Having a feminist movement to exist just constructs the idea that the problem still exists, and without the movement then the problem will dissipate over time. Instead of trying to ban things that are considered to be immoral or sexist toward women (like the lolicon ban and rapelay ban), these organizations should create programs that will allow women to gain a high self esteem to get beyond anything that may be oppressive. If you create such bans and public upheaval on such controversial subjects as “what is equal” and “what is moral” then more problems will arise.  I think that there is no correct answer to these questions, because everyone will always have different views on such subjects.

In this world there will always be people who look down at a person for being to poor, for being a certain race, or for being a certain gender. No one will be able to change how these people think or how a society may think, because there is a limitless amount of norms that are contrived with limitless amounts of morals.  There will always be good and evil, and the definition of each will always change as time passes. To deal with such people (who are sexist, racist, etc.) who are considered evil, one must believe in oneself. With a high self-esteem one can go beyond any type of oppression and walk through life without anything bothering or hindering one’s present and future.

My message is basically this, “Walk through life with a goal in mind, do not let others get you down, and always strive for something better.”

This song from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann sums it up nicely.

Thank you for reading this blog and I hope I was able to enlighten people on some aspects of the Japanese culture.


Japan Hostess Clubs

May 18, 2010

The hostess club is an establishment where Japanese businessmen called salary-men go out to drink after a hard day of work. The hostess club is primary comprised of women servers who serve these salary-men in a relaxing atmosphere similar to the maid cafes of Akihabara. But, the major difference between the maid cafe and the hostess club is how the women are treated.

The hostess club is where ones gender identity is developed under activities that the Japanese would say is the norm. Being able to drink heavily, sing karaoke songs well, and sexually harass  the hostesses will develop one’s masculinity. While being subservient, enduring sexual harassment, and being able to praise a man about anything will develop one’s femininity. The structure of the hostess club is not only about relaxation but also in making sure that the man is well tended to and to make sure that the man feels empowered. Types of sexual harassment that take place in the hostess club are forms of vulgar language, talking of breast sizes, and sometimes groping. Salary-men usually go to multiple hostess clubs in one night with the ritual of harassment of women and empowerment of men always occurring as the norm in each establishment.

From any perspective this type of activity is considered to be oppressive toward women. In this setting, the act of being submissive toward the male is the act of being feminine, while treating women as sexual objects and servants is an act of becoming more masculine. Like the maid cafe, the women know that the job is just a role they play to earn a good salary. Though unlike the maid cafe, women are not respected in the hostess clubs and are sexually harassed. Recently though, to counter hostess clubs, women have set up “host” clubs where women can go drink and be praised by men (or women dressed up as men). I do not think that this is the perfect solution toward perfect equality of women and men in Japan, but I believe that it is somewhat of a step forward toward this perfect equality.

I have never personally went to a hostess club, but I have learned about it from the book Nightwork: Sexuality, Pleasure, and Corporate Masculinity in a Tokyo Hostess Club, by Anne Allison.