manga bookshelf

Keeping Up Appearances as a Female Fan

This morning as I was scrolling through my LiveJournal friends list, I came across a post by a friend, lamenting the obvious sexism in both the LA Times’ Girls’ Guide to Comic-Con and the upcoming Marvel Divas comics. I bristled, just as she did, at the implication (or perhaps outright statement?) that the only things that could possibly interest women in comics are hot guys, romance, and shoes. It was only after my initial disgust waned a bit that I was able to stop and think about how much work I’ve put into proving that kind of thinking wrong and how much that has shaped my actions and decisions–to the point where I may be letting those ideas about women control me as much as if they were true.

It was just last night, actually, that I complained on Twitter about the fact that the front page of my blog was currently too shojo-heavy, and that I needed to review some different material quickly to better “reflect the site as a whole.” Of course what that really means is to better reflect me as a whole, and the more I think about that, the more uncomfortable I am with it (and not just because I wish I’d said “represent” instead of “reflect,” though that’s true too). I also took that opportunity to declare loudly on Twitter that my personal collection of manga includes plenty of (possibly even more) shonen and seinen manga, and while that’s true, the fact that I felt the need to say so I think displays my insecurity on this issue pretty blatantly. So why am I feeling this way? Now on one hand, I think it’s perfectly reasonable (and smart) to be concerned about maintaining diverse content in my blog. It’s not just that, though, and I’d be fooling myself if I pretended it was.

Let’s break down the front page as it stands right at this moment. There’s quite a bit of romance (Boys Over Flowers, High School Debut, Future Lovers, We Were There), and some hot guys (Wild Adapter, Silver Diamond)–not so much in the way of shoes, but those were never really my thing. There are a few other items on the page, but when you look over at what’s made it to the “Recently Recommended” widget in my sidebar, it’s all romance and hot guys. That widget only reflects my five most recent recommendations, and sure, just recently things like Fullmetal Alchemist, Nabari No Ou, and Detroit Metal City were on the list (“and I’m reading Pluto right now!” my inner angst insists), but today it’s all romance and hot guys. I feel kind of sick when I see this, and then I want to kick myself for feeling that way. Am I honestly ashamed of what I’m reading? Why? Who do I feel I have to justify myself to? Men? Women? Publishers? Fans? Maybe all of those people.

Now before this post spawns a flurry of comments regarding how stupid it is to care what other people think of my reading, “read what you want,” etc.–seriously, I know this. It’s idiotic to be worried about this or to be ashamed of my tastes (or what my blog currently displays as my tastes). Insecurity in general is idiotic, this I know. I also know that the fact that I feel the need to take preemptive measures to ensure that others will not view my tastes as too girlish and/or low-brow (or prickle when I think they are implying such) says more about me than it does about anyone else, and establishes the likelihood that I think my tastes are girlish and/or low-brow which is clearly my issue and nobody else’s. Yet I’ve had similar issues in the past, and I’m not sure I was always wrong.

Case in point–I faded out of slash fandom… well, for a lot of reasons, but mainly there were two: 1) I was uncomfortable with the focus on physical beauty and if I had to hear “It’s all about the pretty” one more time I was seriously going to slug someone; 2) I was uncomfortable with a bunch of straight women fetishizing gay men (somewhat related to “It’s all about the porn,” and “it’s all about the pretty,” see previous statement re: slugging) and what part I might be playing in advancing that by reading/writing slash fanfiction. The second of these issues is actually something very serious which you can still see playing out in my frequent discussions of BL manga which, as tiresome as it may seem to others, I think is important to keep talking and thinking about. The first, on the other hand, is clearly related to my concern about focusing on “hot guys,” which is part of what I’m bristling at now. Thing is, whether or not my objection then (or now) was about appearing to be part of that or actually being part of that (a fine distinction, but a real one) I don’t think I was wrong to object. So obviously I have a problem with the huge volume of proof that heterosexual women as a group do, in fact, like to look at hot guys. Still, I know I’m reading Wild Adapter and Silver Diamond, the front page of my blog knows it, and it is impossible to deny that these series were drawn to appeal to these exact tastes. I don’t think I’m reading them for the eye candy, but whether I’m acting out of paranoia over one too many articles like “Girls’ Guide to Comic-Con” or to fear that the people who write that stuff might actually have a point, it’s troublesome.

I’ve come to the end of this unsure of what I’m really trying to say, but perhaps it breaks down to this: I like romance stories. I really do. I don’t like all of them–not by any means–but a good romance will hook me every time. So what does it really mean that I feel like when I say that, I also have to add, “But of course I like many other kinds of stories too”? It’s true, but should I have to say that? Should I feel like I have to say that? I don’t think I should, but obviously I think I do have to. Similarly, if I like stories that feature pretty male characters, should I have to go on to specify that I like those stories for other reasons too? That a pretty character design is not nearly enough to satisfy me as a reader? I probably shouldn’t have to say that, but obviously I think I must. I’m offended at these generalizations about women, but am I just playing into them by protesting too much? Do my protests smack of truth? Is it actually important to take steps to prove that female fans can’t be defined by stereotypes? Is my concern over my front page something real, or does it seem like all I’m doing is keeping up appearances?

Overall, I think this blog post is befuddled and contradictory, doesn’t actually make the point it purports to in the beginning, and probably doesn’t have a lot of worth out there in the manga-verse, but I’m going to post it anyway in hopes of more enlightening comments. How do you feel about what I’m saying (if you can figure out what that is), and what does my front page say to you?

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Comments

  1. The importance you place on making the right statement is excruciating. Its true we should be vigilant about things like, say, not using the word ‘retarded’ as slang. However, how does it damage the image of female fans for you to like romance stories? Or attractive characters? It’s almost as though you have a need to make every distinction you can between yourself and every relaxed gleeful fan out there so that you can look down on them.

    • I’m very sorry that this is how I come across to you. I don’t look down on any fans. I *do*, however, think it is important to examine my own responses and actions and make sure they move me towards becoming the person who I want to be.

      ETA: I post these thoughts in my own blog rather than posting elsewhere where I might harsh on other people’s squee precisely to avoid the exact response you are having. I am dismayed that it has happened anyway.

      ETA2: Also, I think I took a lot of pains here to say that I didn’t think my responses were good. Which seems to have not come across at all.

      I know I keep adding things here, but I was honestly shocked at your reaction to this post, and that shock keeps growing. If I’ve written something that could be misinterpreted this strongly, it is obviously poorly written, and I wonder if I should have posted it at all.

      • My comment came off harsher than I wanted it to be. I apologize. I may be seeing elitism where there isn’t any due to my own issues. Self-improvement is rarely a bad thing.

        • Oh, I’m relieved to see this comment. I felt terrible thinking I’d expressed myself so poorly.

          And I have plenty of my own issues, so no worries. :)

          • Your reaction tells me that I misjudged you. I was reading you wrong here. If I’d been reading you right you would have told me where to stick my comment rather than be so regretful I’d misunderstood.

            • Well, I really appreciate you being able to come back and say that. Someone else might have told me where I could stick *my* comment, regardless of my regret. So thank you.

  2. My response probably isn’t going to be very helpful, since it boils down to: “Like what you like and don’t bother to worry what anyone else thinks.”

    • Well, you might not be telling me anything I don’t know, but that doesn’t mean it’s unhelpful. Sometimes those are exactly the things we need to hear most! :)

  3. I think this is a great post, in no small part because it’s *you*, wrestling with yourself and social/cultural expectations.

    I also think it’s kind of ironically awesome that manga fans like you *do* wrestle with such things while Western slash fans enforce The Pretty and Who Tops while simultaneously sneering at yaoi. But that’s a whole other thing.

    So obviously I have a problem with the huge volume of proof that heterosexual women as a group do, in fact, like to look at hot guys
    You’re being way too hard on yourself here. You have a problem with — if I may presume — a social discourse that posits that female fans care primarily/only about men who are attractive to them. And having that problem makes you a thoughtful, decent person, because such an argument is reductive and sexist.

    I’m not sure what else to say — there’s *a lot* to chew on in your post and I have a feeling I’ll be coming back several times.

    • Thank you so much for saying all this.

      You have a problem with — if I may presume — a social discourse that posits that female fans care primarily/only about men who are attractive to them.

      And yes. That. :) I wish I’d been able to express that so clearly.

    • You have a problem with — if I may presume — a social discourse that posits that female fans care primarily/only about men who are attractive to them.

      Yes, exactly. It’s like all the female marketing out there. I don’t have a problem with a woman or girl who loves pink and likes to buy pink everything. I have a problem with the way society says girls only like pink, and how in the past ten years or so there’s been a really strong trend to make a pink version of everything (or some sort of female version of everything), reinforcing the idea that the original version was not for women/girls. (Have you seen they now have girls’ boardgames? Pink versions of Monopoly, etc. D:)

      It’s okay to like romance and still find it problematic that society says girls only like romance (and of course guys never do).

  4. Danielle Leigh says:

    One of the things I always have to remind myself is that a lot of girl culture in the U.S. isn’t (and was NEVER) very appealing to me. Contrast that with the fact I always loved male-dominated superhero shows when I was growing up (Batman, X-Men, Spider-Man, etc) and…Sailor Moon. One of these things is not like the other.

    I fell into superhero comics in my early 20’s but it was never the right fit. Then I found shojo and like you I felt embarrassed by how much it spoke to me. Hell, my first shojo was Hot Gimmick, picked up from the library and god was I nervous checking those books out….”they’re for teenagers, right? Not me!” is why my inner voice kept telling me. I’ve come a log way since then and realized that if these books spoke to me in a way American romances and / or comics did not, then there was clearly a reason for that.

    I think the front page business isn’t something to worry about. I understand it, though, since by writing for CSBG I know that the majority of the audience isn’t that interested in what I think about the latest Gakuen Alice. But I care and maybe other female and male manga readers will care if they happen to come across the review thanks to the interconnectedness of manga blogging / linking. I do like to have reviewed a “male oriented” title at least once a week but I don’t hold myself to that standard. It is more of “this would be good” rather than “I MUST do this or else I’m failing as a manga reviewer!”

    • Hahaha I love that your first shojo manga was Hot Gimmick! :D No wonder you were feeling a little weird about it. Hee!

      It is more of “this would be good” rather than “I MUST do this or else I’m failing as a manga reviewer!”

      I am sure I angst too much about content. I try not to feature one publisher too much in a week. I usually won’t post a review of something until the most recently reviewed volume of it has scrolled off the front page. I’m really a sticker for presenting a variety at first glance. So I’m not surprised, really, that I got angsty when I realized how much my recent shojo binge was being reflected on the site. I think you make a great point here, though, reminding me that actually most people don’t enter through the front page, but from links from other sites, so I probably should not be so concerned about that.

      I’ve come a log way since then and realized that if these books spoke to me in a way American romances and / or comics did not, then there was clearly a reason for that.

      Also, yes. Yes, yes.

      • I don’t like it when I’ve got too much of the same series on my front page, but that’s about the extent of my worrying about it. Sometimes that’s unavoidable when I’m marathoning something, because I review everything I read, but in general, I like to read things in smaller clusters so it works out okay.

        • I think it works a lot better on your site, because you do review everything you read, for a couple of reasons. 1. It’s obvious that’s what you do, so people would expect it. 2. You review a lot more than I do, so things scroll off the front page a lot faster.

  5. Ed Sizemore says:

    Well, I don’t think you’re the Hollywood stereotype of a girl. I think only a few poor women fall into that vapid existence.

    If you’re currently reading a lot of romance, that’s fine. I know you’ll come back to reviewing FMA, Pluto, Inu Yasha, etc.

    The balance is found in looking at your entire blog not just the front page. The front page is simply a snapshot of this moment. This blog is the picture book that tells a complete story.

    I think you make an important point about how what you rebel against can define you as much as what you believe in, if you’re careful. Kierkegaard said to follow the crowd is to be inauthentic, to accentuate you’re difference from the crowd is to be inauthentic. Either lifestyle is defined by the crowd and is always watching the crowd for reactions. To be authentic simply be. So simply be.

    But thanks for sharing your unedited thoughts on this. I appreciate the honesty.

    • I like that Kierkegaard quote. I’ve known quite a few geek fans who’ve made it a special point to be rudely negative about stuff that everyone else likes. It’s one thing if you just don’t like it, but if you are very vocal about being sure that we know that you don’t like this particular thing, then yes, you’re being inauthentic.

    • But thanks for sharing your unedited thoughts on this. I appreciate the honesty.

      Hee, I’m glad you appreciate this, because I think it tends to be one of my greatest flaws. :D

      If you’re currently reading a lot of romance, that’s fine. I know you’ll come back to reviewing FMA, Pluto, Inu Yasha, etc.

      And thank you for your faith! :)

  6. Andrea Krause says:

    Well obviously when it comes to content we aren’t the same. But I share many of these same insecurities in my life, not even fannishly really. I always feel insecure about how people are perceiving me and try to force ways to throw information out that proves to them I am more than what they think. It’s sometimes unconscious but it is pervasive.

    We in our heads KNOW our breadth and complexity. It’s hard to be confident that somebody only seeing a piece of us can discern that. Why should we care? Well maybe deep inside there *is* a bit of snobbery attached…not wanting to be one of “those people” who can’t appreciate the wealth of whatever there is out there. But I don’t think it’s the malicious snobbery, just the kind that comes with trying all your life to be smart or interesting or be special in some way.

    I’m not expressing myself well, I know. All I’m expressing is that this resonated with me even though I have absolutely nothing to do with your current interests or really most fannish stuff at all. It’s just something very fragile and human in both of us that would be nice to jettison. :)

    Also I’m not sure why the first commenter reacted so strongly. I’m sure there are myriad reasons specific to them and how they read it. I just would like to say I personally read it very differently and I think you expressed yourself fine. How people interpret what’s expressed via their own unique set of whatevers is part of the writer-reader process and you can’t always, as a writer, control that.

    Lookit me talking like I actually know what I’m saying. Hahah.

    • I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me that this resonated with you, maybe especially because our content differs so much.

      It’s just something very fragile and human in both of us that would be nice to jettison.

      YES.

      Well maybe deep inside there *is* a bit of snobbery attached…not wanting to be one of “those people” who can’t appreciate the wealth of whatever there is out there.

      And yes, I worry about this! I don’t want to be a snob. I get so pissed off when I think people are being snobby with me. Am I just doing the same thing?

      Lookit me talking like I actually know what I’m saying.

      I think maybe because you do. :)

      • Andrea Krause says:

        Well I think any snobbery in this instance is not so much towards others but towards yourself, if that makes any sense. Like you don’t want to be perceived a certain way even though you wouldn’t really have the same judgement if you perceived someone else the same way? Like I am very critical of my own weight and feel the need to let people know I know I’m fat and I’m working on it and I HAVE lost weight and all that. But I don’t feel the same hypercritical feelings towards other people struggling with their weight. It’s a snobbery I’m applying mostly to myself.

        • Hee, yes that makes sense. I mean, I think it makes no sense, but I think it’s true. Heh. I read a ton of shojo-centric blogs and love them and would never consider that there was anything wrong or lesser about those blogs compared to others. Nor would I ever imagine the women who write them as falling into some (truly odd) stereotype of women who would go to Comic-Con just to ogle male celebrities. So wtf? :)

  7. Well, to answer your question about how your front page looks to me … even now it looks pretty eclectic. Hana Yori Dango and Gestalt aren’t exactly peas from the same pod. The recent recs are a bit more slanted, and overall I would have the impression that it was a bit shojo heavy, but if you hadn’t pointed it out to me in this post, it wouldn’t have occurred to me that it was heavy on romance.

    As for my attitudes about myself … there was a period when I felt shojo was silly. Then I read a shojo I really liked, and in the beginning I was ashamed. That lasted maybe two days. Since then I have never felt bad again about a manga because it was girly, and I don’t care if somebody thinks I only read girly stuff.

    Of course, I don’t think shojo=romance either.

    There are a lot of things which make me love or hate a character. However, all other things being equal (which they NEVER are), this is my order of preference.

    1. Heterosexual/Bisexual males.

    2. Females, any sexual orientation.

    3. Characters who can neither identify as male or female (they are usually very interesting because of their problems, but when placed in a society where being intersex is normal, this is where they stand).

    4. Homosexual males. Why check out a guy who has no interest in checking me out?

    I have no shame in saying that, all other things being equal, I am more interested by hot heterosexual/bisexual guys than any other kind of character. To me, this just shows that I am a heterosexual female, which I am.

    Of course, I think what bugs you is the idea that girls are *only* interested because hot guys are involved, rather than things like subtlety, wit, enlightenment, etc. However, I have never had the impression that you are like this, and I know that I am not like this.

    I hope there is something in this comment that is helpful to you.

    • I realize that when I listed subtlety, wit, enlightenment, I was just listing things we’re supposed to like in literature. So I’ll add some less prestigious qualities to that list : blood, gore, violence, crude humor, angst, absolute silliness

    • Your category #3 is intriguing, but I don’t think I understand. There’s a full range of gender expressions beyond male vs. female, so I’m not sure I’m clear on what you’re referring to. More specifically, what do you mean when you use the term “intersex”? I’m more familiar with it as a clinical and activist term.

      I am more interested by hot heterosexual/bisexual guys than any other kind of character. To me, this just shows that I am a heterosexual female, which I am.
      I never thought of sexual identity as having any kind of part to play in the characters and character types we like.

      • I never thought of sexual identity as having any kind of part to play in the characters and character types we like.

        It’s not how it works for me, but I do think it’s fairly common. A lot of people self-insert when they read and/or fantasise about favorite characters/actors, so even if they know that they don’t really have a chance with this guy (whether because he’s fictional or because he’s a celebrity), they still find it interferes with their fantasy if he’s gay.

        • I guess in retrospect maybe this will help me make sense of certain things? But it still seems very odd to me to approach fictional characters primarily as objects of *desire* when there are almost countless other modes for relationships, identifications, and the like.

          One of my all-time favorite characters is Shindou Hikaru. I…don’t want to get with him, you know? REALLY NOT. Nor Captain America. :P

          • It seems really weird to me, too! But I know plenty of people who refuse to read or write fic unless it has a character they think is hot, and even those who don’t always require that still tend to write and read about characters they’re attracted to (at least when it comes to fics that have sex scenes in them).

            • Well, as I said, it’s only if all other things are equal – the characters are equally witty, equally important to the plot, equally quirky, etc – which never happens (unless the writing is so poor that the characters are completely flat). It’s far from being the most important consideration in how I feel about a character. And I don’t want to *get* with fictional characters either. One of my friends is more into that than I am, and asks me “So, which character would you want to marry” and I didn’t really have an answer, which was no fun for her. I feel it’s more of a subconscious thing than anything else. On the other hand, even if it’s subconscious, I wouldn’t be honest with myself if I didn’t admit that it affects me in a small, subtle way.

              • Well, you said “Homosexual males. Why check out a guy who has no interest in checking me out?”, which to me implied that there was some degree of fantasising going on. Otherwise, why would his reciprocation or lack thereof matter?

    • Thank you for your comments, and particularly what you said about my front page! That makes me feel a little better.

      I had some of the same questions Gloss did about your reasons for liking certain characters over others… I think it’s been pretty thoroughly discussed between the rest of you already, but I too had never thought about liking characters more (or less) based on *my* sexuality.

  8. I can feel for the fact that you – having come to comics/manga as an adult if I understood your background correctly – are still wrestling with defining your tastes and reflecting on what the peer group might see.

    For myself I started collecting comics when I was around 14, and even then I was the only girl to do so, not to mention collecting the German versions of US superhero comics and then changing to the original English (if boys in my town collected anything comicwise it was Spanish or French comics and not superheroes, which is why the German line of DC and Marvel translations died out for a time in the early 80s.

    I was always the bookworm who read fantasy/scifi/romance anyway, so I went through the whole finding and defining myself and dealing with the expectations of family or the crowd then. I am very thankful I did ^^, and I never had to go back and explain to anyone when my tastes changed and I went into manga and mostly female-based comic artists of the Western persuasion.

    On the other hand these days I surprise my students’ expectations when I talk about comics or anime or games.

    • I think if anything, I just kind of wanted to call myself out with this post, because I was feeling like my worries were based on all the wrong things. But yes, you’re right, I have just come to comics in the past year or so.

  9. Etrangere says:

    This is a great post. As a female fen of SFF, manga, and Tabletop RPG I also very much know the feeling of wanting to disclaim my interest in the girliest aspects of it, or to emphasize more how I liked those which are seen as manlier. Doesn’t that say a lot about ho much everything that’s associated with women’s tastes are devalued? And that we should feel ashamed when we conform to that (even though we might not conform to a lot of female stereotypes). It’s very annoying. So, yeah, great post, I sympathise a lot.

    It kinda made me want to say something in defense of slash, though. Because a lot of women writing slash are not heterosexual but quite often bisexual or lesbian – and some of them were men! -; and because it’s not all pretty boys (or at least I’ve been in circles where we were shipping the middle aged, kind of ugly men just as enthusiastically as we were shipping the pretty boys); and because I’ve read a lot of fics addressing gay issues in a way redeeming at least a little the exploitative accept there is to women sexually objectifying a minority for their own entertainment.

    Back to your front page… I started reading this blog only recently, and I think I did so because seeing the stuff reviewed there spoke to me, to my own breadth of interest in manga. I read a lot of shoujo, some seinen and josei and very few shounen. I love stories with adventure, action, fantasy, horror, and science fiction elements to it; and I LOVE when there’s a romance element added to it, although I seldom like a straight forward romance without any other kind of plot to it. I like review that take care not to be offensive, that are concerned about issues of discrimination and problematic narratives that may show up in stories (even in guilty pleasure stories). So yeah, I got the impression I would get this from this blog, I think. So far so good!

    • As a female fen of SFF, manga, and Tabletop RPG I also very much know the feeling of wanting to disclaim my interest in the girliest aspects of it

      It makes me feel better every time someone else admits this too. :) Thank you!

      I do hear you on your defense of slash. I certainly know that it’s not all straight women (most of the closest friends I got out of slash actually are all lesbians) but it’s definitely the *majority*. The things I mentioned that bothered me are not true of everyone either, not by a long shot, but they were things that came up so often it finally really wore me down in terms of feeling like I had to constantly question my own reasons for involvement in it. You make good points, though.

      Thank you, too, for your comments on my front page. I hope you do continue to end up finding things you like to read here!

  10. Thanks for saying what has been going through my mind all the time lately!
    It’s funny how we start feeling constricted just when we are trying to break free of those annoyig stereotypes.
    It took me years to dare and buy pink eyeshadow, for example, because my knee-jerk reaction to pink was “no, I’m not that kind of girly girl”, even though it was recommended to me as a colour that would suit me, and lo and behold, it does suit me much better than the “inoffensive” colour I had been using before.

    I’d love to bring a manga-related example, but cannot think of one right now.

  11. I feel your pain, Melinda! I could have written this blog post a few years ago. I struggled with the same issue–I was really embarrassed by how much I enjoyed shojo manga, especially since it seemed like “serious” manga fans liked Otomo, Koike, and Tatsumi. The real problem, I think, is that most Americans think of comics as a male domain, a medium by and for men. There are some male fans who are quick to put female comic lovers in a box, to dismiss the stuff we like as “chick lit” (or worse) as a strategy for preserving their sacred space. That attitude seems to be changing, thanks to the proliferation of women writing about comics and the growing number of male readers who are discovering the joys of shojo manga.

    BTW, if you don’t own the shojo issue of The Comics Journal, you should buy it–Dirk Deppey’s comments about what differentiates shojo from other comic traditions is terrific and spot-on. You can order it directly through Fantagraphics’ web site. (I think the issue is no. 269, but wouldn’t bet money on it.)

    A great, thought-provoking post!

    • I can’t tell you how much better it makes me feel to hear this from you! :) I think your points are spot on, and I hope that a few years from now all trace of my embarrassment will be gone.

      I will definitely look into ordering that issue of The Comics Journal as well. I generally enjoy Dirk Deppey’s commentary.

      Thank you so much for stopping by to comment!

    • Putting it that way, as a comparison against what “serious” fans like, reminds me a lot of my years as a piano major. There were so many around me who could whistle the primary theme of every Mozart sonata’s first movement, or talk volubly about the differences in recordings of Chopin Nocturnes. I really felt like I didn’t measure up because I couldn’t do the same.

      But the thing is… I just didn’t *feel* it. I could’ve forced myself to learn to keep up, but I wouldn’t have felt any joy in it. I loved The Beatles, Harry Nilsson, and The Kinks, and the sooner I accepted that and decided that I was just as valid a person even if I didn’t meet their hifalutin standards, the happier I’d be.

      Still, it took me a long time to get over a sense of insecurity and inferiority.

  12. As someone of multiracial descent, I’ve always been hyper-aware of how I presented myself to people and how I’m perceived. Not because I want to prove a certain point about myself (such as “Oh, look at me, I’m so different!”), but more so because of my own need to represent my varied life experience. I don’t want to deny any single part of myself. So, I try not to act too Filipino, too Mexican or too American. Of course, none of this means anything to anyone but me. In a way, I think you’re doing the same; you don’t want to come off as any single genre, lest you deny the action-loving shonen reader or the romance-seeking shojo lover in you.

    As far as comics go, I’ve been reading them since I was a kid and have been attending Comic-Con for a decade. I’ve always been one of the lone comic-reading girls, although more women are attending these days. While I was a little offended by the LA Times slideshow, too, I can’t say I’m surprised. When we’re presented as squeeing fangirls by the media this way, that’s exactly what will happen — a stereotype. But, sadly, there’s truth in most every stereotype and it’s not relegated to just the girls — the LA Times Hero Complex had a guest blog yesterday on the inherent stereotyping in the term, “fanboy.” So, it goes both ways.

    Regardless, I think you’ve done a good job representing all the different genres you like. Sure, this week looks shojo heavy, but last week was shonen heavy. The smart reader will follow the content and figure it all out for themselves.

    Besides, out of all the manga I’ve reviewed on my blog this past month, the only one you commented on was Fullmetal Alchemist. And there was plenty of girly, shojo stuff reviewed, too.

    If nothing else, you reminded me that I haven’t reviewed any josei lately…

    • I apologize for taking so long to respond to this. Things have been a little nuts around here. I was so appreciative of this comment, though. I really think you understand perfectly where I was coming from with this. :)

      But, sadly, there’s truth in most every stereotype and it’s not relegated to just the girls — the LA Times Hero Complex had a guest blog yesterday on the inherent stereotyping in the term, “fanboy.” So, it goes both ways.

      You are so right on with this.

      I’ve only just started reading your blog regularly, but I look forward to more of it! Especially if you’ve got some josei to talk about! :D



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  1. [...] Beasi has some interesting thoughts on being a female manga fan at her own blog, and she files her Anime Boston con report at Manga [...]



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