Lazard, L., Crafter, S., Callaghan, J. and Maunder, R. (2010) My fantasy boyfriend would be...? Explorations of web-based 'teen' quizzes which use Japanese art. Paper presented to: British Psychological Society Psychology of Women Section (POWS) Annual Conference 2010, Windsor, England, 14-16 July 2010.
Lazard, L., Crafter, S., Callaghan, J. and Maunder, R.
Manga (Graphitised novels or ‘comics’) and anime (animation) are closely related mediums of a particular protean Japanese art form. Within Japanese culture, manga and anime are popular forms of entertainment intended for and tailored to diverse audiences varying along a number of fault lines such as gender and age. Given the breath of the target audience, it is perhaps unsurprising that a broad range of genres have been played out through these artistic expressions. Predominant story designations in such graphical representations include sci-fi, romance and fantasy. As pictorial story-telling devices, both anime and manga have become increasingly popular exports to the West. This paper explores representations of a small number of these Japanese art forms depicted on the website ‘Quizilla’ – a forum primarily designed for and used by (Western) adolescent girls. Drawing on insights from visual methodological work and Foucauldian theorisations, we present a reading of a corpus of anime/manga images of adolescent boys and girls used in ‘teen’ quizzes. We focus on how such images play with depictions of femininities, masculinities and sexual agency. More specifically, we articulate – from our positioning as Western researchers – the ways in which these depictions appear to mark out alternative spaces to ‘do’ particular aspects of (heterosexualised) masculinities and femininities whilst simultaneously revealing and negotiating tensions around contemporary masculinised and feminised identities in Western contexts. Alongside consideration of the images themselves, we will also discuss possible implications that such anime/manga images have for western audiences.
Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Manga; Japanese art; visual methods; Foucault; adolescence; masculinity; femininity