Over at the All the Anime blog, I review Deborah Shamoon’s wonderful Passionate Friendship: The Aesthetics of Girls’ Culture in Japan, which delves deeply not only into the creation of female-centred media, but the attempts by various interest groups to “gatekeep” what those media mean.
“Shamoon takes Jennifer Robertson to task for her pioneering work in English on the Takarazuka Revue, accusing her of talking up fans’ reaction to this all-girl performance troupe as a form of proto-lesbianism. She eloquently outlines a polarised debate over whether we should believe the facetious asexuality hyped by the Takarazuka Revue itself, or the hype of researchers determined to daub it all over with the rainbow colours of queer theory. Her discussion of a possible middle ground, a ‘lesbian continuum’ in the terminology of Adrienne Rich, along with the widespread implications of stating that, for example, lesbianism is normal, or lesbianism is abnormal, is a delightful and nuanced tiptoe through that particular identity politics minefield.”
Yes, that’s the poster for the all-girl musical about the life of Abraham Lincoln. Thanks, Japan.