Sommerland, Ylva: Tecknad Tomboy. Kalejdoskopiskt kön i manga för tonåringar. (Gothenburg Studies in Art and Architecture, 34.) Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 2012. (254 S.)
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|Resource type: Book
ID no. (ISBN etc.): 978-91-7346-720-9
BibTeX citation key: Sommerland2012
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Keywords: Body, Butler. Judith, Children’s and young adults’ comics, Gender, Japan, Manga
Publisher: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis (Göteborg)
The main purpose of this study, The Tomboy in Manga for Teens – Kaleidoscopic Bodily Styles (Tecknad tomboy – kalejdoskopiskt kön i manga för tonåringar), has been to discuss gender as made manifest through visible identities in manga for teens. The problem area investigated deals with how visible gender identities are formed through bodily stylesand how the tomboy motif in manga materializes the concept queer as a process. The hypothesis put forward is that in manga for teens, visible gender identities can be described as kaleidoscopic, even when recognizing the binary pair of femininity and masculinity as convention suits.
The concept kaleidoscopic bodily style is developed from the feminist philosopher Iris Marion Young’s phenomenological approach to how women’s bodies are socialized into a female style of comportment, motility and spatiality and from Judith Butler’s description of subversive bodily acts and gender constitutions as parodic acts. This is discussed in relation to amultiplication of gender, where gender identities are argued to be done by repeated performative acts. Female and male binary differences are acknowledged as visible identities, but it is argued that this binary structure furthermore holds kaleidoscopic possibilities of doing gender through playing with new understandings of gender that result when the binary factors or convention suits of femininities and masculinities are combined. The result has shown that situation and costume vary in a way that in addition to the kaleidoscopic can be described as diffraction patterns, where the warrior princess, battling beauties, inverted superheroes and gender as hyper images are lifted forward as examples of kaleidoscopic bodily styles alongside the tomboy motif. In the analyses the kaleidoscopic bodily styles are formed through signs of situation in a queer zone, signs of a queer body and through signs of clothes, attributes and adornments described as queer costumes.
Another part of the purpose has been to study how the history of manga has been written in an English language discourse which focuses on how the origins of manga have been traced in a continuity and discontinuity in the art history of Japan, but also in a broader history of the visual culture of Japan. This is described in the thesis as the visual zones of manga. A closer analysis is also being done here where examples from medieval picture scrolls, commonly lifted forward in the English history surveys on manga are being compared to examples of manga considered as classical manga. The starting point for this part of the study has been a formalist method of using gender as a formal factor in studying Japanese art, developed by art historian Chino Kaori. The result of this part of the analysis is to suggest that manga, as a visual style, could be described as kaleidoscopic, with both feminine and masculine combinations of formal gender aspects.
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