I specialize in Literary, Digital and Cultural Studies. I am interested in the intersection of these fields and the praxis in the world-at-large.
Junior Contributor II
The Representation of Sexuality in Manga
Japanese manga in particular has cultivated a global fanbase while pushing creative boundaries regarding representation. Pioneers like Takemiya Keiko and Yamaguchi Ryoko crafted yuri narratives in the 1970s that tenderly portrayed girl-girl affection, cultivating an early queered fandom. Meanwhile, boys’ love genres like shonen and yaoi emerged independently, generating unprecedented gay male visibility. Works like Junjo Romantica continue building international audiences by frankly engaging queer themes formerly taboo.
It would prove illuminating to analyze narrative and stylistic choices within such genres, tracing artistic evolutions alongside shifting sociopolitical climates. For instance, one could investigate changing visual vocabularies surrounding gender non-conformity and transitions in works like Wandering Son or My Brother’s Husband (Satonaka, 2015; Kizu, 2019). How do illustrations of intersectional identity negotiate complex subjectivities in sensitive yet nuanced ways?
Considering cross-cultural reception and fandom practices could reveal much about globalizing queerness. Platforms like Tumblr incubated vibrant transnational online communities thriving on manga appropriations and translations. Exploring community formations through this digital lens may untangle dynamics of inclusion, gatekeeping and cultural exchange that broaden representation’s reach.
Manga provides a rich unconventional text through which to interrogate identity categories’ fluidity. I hope unpacking its stylised disruptions alongside real-world activist campaigns against increasing intolerance proves a thought-provoking avenue for collaborative study.
How will the Manosphere influence Self-Help Books?
The manosphere movement, which propagates misogynistic and discriminatory views under the guise of men’s empowerment, has the potential to negatively impact the reputation and content of the self-help book industry. One danger is the appropriation of common self-help concepts like building confidence or setting goals by manosphere advocates, who then apply these principles in toxic ways to reinforce regressive attitudes toward women and gender roles. As a result, some constructive self-help ideas risk becoming tainted by association. Additionally, if manosphere ideology creeps into the mainstream, it spreads an insidious narrative that relationships are transactional, women use their sexuality as leverage, and traditional notions of masculinity are ideal. This worldview could filter into otherwise positive self-help books, contaminating them with embedded toxic assumptions.
The manosphere also relies heavily on junk science and evolutionary psychology theories to justify their beliefs about female manipulation or male dominance hierarchies. The use of such pseudo-science as evidence in certain self-help books lends an air of credibility to these harmful ideologies. Self-help books appeal to vulnerable audiences seeking life improvement. Manosphere influencers may capitalize on this demand to attract followers and indoctrinate them with extremist, discriminatory attitudes toward women disguised as empowerment.