To Yoshie, and anyone interested

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Sun Feb 28 18:45:32 PST 1999

>>Wouldn't you say that there is a problem in using the term 'feminize'? The
>>term carries an assumption that to be coupled in a sexual engagement with a
>>man is to be a woman, to be in a position of a woman at least, or to be
>being 'feminised' is never anything else,
>that all that feminisation consists in, it doesn't have to describe a woman

Nonetheless, it does reinforce the straight male-female coupling & dichotomy metaphorically. For instance, some say that Asian men, black men, etc. are 'feminized' vis-a-vis white guys, which not only doesn't seem to describe what's going on but also seems to reinforce sexism.

>>Another way to look at 'male adolescence' is that to see it as an area
>>where the residual discourse on same-sex love--age-differentiated
>>pedagogical love between men and boys--reassert itself, beneath the
>>dominant discourse of homo/hetero division, mixing Foucault and Raymond
>>Williams. This is especially visible in Japan.
>*beneath* that discourse?
>in what way?

I don't know what examples to cite to illustrate it, because I don't know what you know, but that's what I see in some gay magazines in Japan, such as _Sabu_, for instance. Many personals ask for 'aniki [older brother].'

>and might this be seen as part of 'female' adolescence as well (if
>i'm actually not convinced that there is 'male' adolescence and 'female'
>adolescence in the same sense that there is 'male' and 'female' puberty.
>i think adolescence is always to some degree (and to differing degrees of
>course) a feminised process. not that gender doesn't matter, but part of
>the mesh of anxiety surrounding 'male adolescence' is a set of questions
>about gender.

Could you give us some concrete examples to illustrate your point?

>>Why do you think that girl culture possesses this 'historical centrality'
>>you speak of?
>the conjunction of new marketing processes, and newly globvalised
>conceptions of production and of culture with figures of the girl consumer
>and the universality of 'human' developmental processes predominantly
>exemplified by and through girls and young women.
>i could give examples -- both primary and 'secondary' - if this isn't clear

Wouldn't you say that figures of the girl consumer are of much more importance in the core (the USA, Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, and maybe some others) than in the periphery?

>>An 'effect of globalized conception of cultural production' because of
>>marketing (e.g. Spice Girls, Shonen Knife, Barbies, etc.)? Because of a
>>larger & older process of dissemination of modern conceptualizations of
>>child development (through theory, self-help books, medical practice,
>yes. and the two fields you specify here are not at all separate, although
>it's also important to note that childhood and adolescence have very
>different relations to these processes of globalisation, and indeed to
>conceptualisations of 'modern' development.

You mentioned the difference between childhood and adolescence in this regard before. Would you care to specify what it is?

>if you can get it the next best would be 'Riot grrls, cyber-gurls, Spice
>Girls: Girl Culture, Revenge, and Global Capitalism' in _Australian
>Feminist Studies_ (I don't know the number off by heart, but it's out this
>month [Feb.] from Carfax) -- and actually this one makes some use of
>Butler's Psychic Life.
>following that, as it might take some time to get, two older ones about
>particular forms of girl culture rather than girl culture in general would
>be -- '"Who Needs a Boyfriend": The homoerotic virgin in adolescent women's
>magazines', Van Toorn & English (eds.), _Speaking Positions: Gender and
>Ethnicity in Australian Cultural Studies_, 1995; and ëBecoming Brideí. _UTS
>Review_, 4.2, 1998.

I'll try to get and read them. Thanks.

>>What makes a film a 'girl film'? (I agree that Anna Paquin shines in _The
>>Piano_ and it is her jealousy that moves the plot to its turning point.) Is
>>_The Spirit of the Beehive_ a girl film?
>I haven't seen this.
>A girl film is, I think, a film playing out women in transition through
>'girl' or 'feminine adolescent' roles and norms. So not just Flora in _The
>Piano_ but also Ada -- moving between daughter and lover and almost but not
>quite wife. Being a mother doesn't stop her being a girl.

When and how does a girl become a woman?

Have you read Tillie Olsen's _Silences_ by the way? There is a section titled "The Baby; the Girl-Child; the Girl; the Young Writer-Woman" that might interest you. Here's a quote from Colette in _Silences_:

"...Oh, the jealous and anxious passion I had for solitude, O solitude of my young days! You were my refuge, my panacea, the citadel of my youthful pride. With what might and main did I cling to you--and how afraid I was even then of losing you! I trembled at the mere thought of the more ruthless and less rare ecstasy of love! At the thought of losing you I felt already demeaned. And yet...who can resist the pull of love? To become only a woman--how paltry! Yet I hastened eagerly toward that common goal.

Did I hesitate a minute, one solitary minute, standing between your beloved specter, O solitude, and the menacing apparition of love?...I don't know."

And do find and watch Victor Erice's _The Spirit of the Beehive [El Espíritu de la Colmena]_ (1973) and _El Sur_. Two of the most beautiful films I've ever seen, and in both girls figure prominently. _The Spirit of the Beehive_ is set in the 1940s in Spain and has a story of a girl Ana (played by the divine Ana Torrent) intersect briefly but memorably with one of a wounded anti-fascist soldier, and their stories form palimpsests with James Whale's _Frankenstein_ that Ana sees at a traveling movie theater near the beginning of the film.


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