Sunday, April 01, 2007
Dude Looks Like a Lady
So, I went to see the famous Takarazuka Revue. It's an all female cast, and the women who play male roles are worshipped as veritable gods by their (also female) fans. There's not much you can say about that, really. Some people I've talked with claim that the 'male' leads are so popular because Japan is missing strong female role models; presumably then, in Takarazuka performances women can finally achieve an equal footing with men. But the fact that the story lines are all rehashed western fairy tales (hyper masculine boy saves hyper feminine girl; marriage ensues...) effectively removes any hint of progressivism from the plays. If the proscribed gender roles themselves don't change, then it doesn't really matter which biological sex fills them. It's the rigidity of the gender roles that form the basis of the inequality problem.
So, the take-away message is: only by assuming a masculine persona can japanese women achieve fame and power. Which I don't suppose is all that much worse than the western message that only by being physically attractive to a man can a woman achieve value. Well, you know... we've all got a long way to go.
Posted by Katie at 4:33 PM