[personal profile] laurbits
Here it is! My blood, sweat and tears. Still very much a draft since I haven't included the input from my professors yet. Feel free to let me know what you think! I could certainly use the feedback. Also, if you guys have some idea which journals to submit this to, let me know.

Mutilating the Maidens:
Problematizing the Dismemberment
of Female Bodies in CLAMP's Manga X


Re-uploaded: 03-25-2011. The link shouldn't expire anymore!

Please respect my wishes and do not distribute/use this for any other purpose besides personal reading. Thanks!

x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] manga_talk here.

Date: 2007-06-07 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] retsuko.livejournal.com
This is GREAT. Seriously, this is excellent work. I am so impressed!

Just one nitpicky note before I ask a few questions: I think substituting the word 'mother' for 'mom' will make your work sound more formal. Since it is an important thematic word, the more formal, the better. Also, I do not understand your use of the word "vampirella".

First of all, I am curious as to your perception of the male gaze in conflict with shoujo manga. Is yaoi manga, or homoerotic undertones, the only instance where we see it denied or subverted? Do you think there's a possibility for a "male gaze free" manga product? (I think this sort of speculation could have a place in your conclusion.)

Second of all, your analysis of the dismembered female bodies and the priveleged male bodies is right on. I hadn't even noticed this until you pointed it out--that the male characteres are more likely to die with an arm through the chest than have their bodies dismembered. (It's interesting to contrast this with Hokuto's death in Tokyo Bablyon, then, since she dies in a male fashion in taking her brother's place.) In fact, this seems to be an anime-wide trend. I was noticing this in FullMetal Alchemist recently; although the hero, Edward, has lost two of limbs, his death is caused by an arm through the chest, rather than the loss of any more of his mobility. Female bodies personify chaos, but male bodies hold together.

Finally, the distinction between utsukushii and kawaii is a fascinating one, and one that is particularly interesting with regard to CLAMP's works. It also fits in well with your Claude Levi-Strauss analysis at the beginning of the essay (although you might want to mention that just one more time to strengthen the connection.)

As for places to publish... well, the Journal of Popular Culture was always my holy grail. You might also try some of the Asian Studies journals, possibly ones with an artistic emphasis.

Date: 2007-06-07 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chibicharibdys.livejournal.com
I am very fond of Fullmetal Alchemist, mainly because I do not see the same sort of 'priviliged male bodies'/ male gaze in it, so I'm a little confused by your comment.

Date: 2007-06-10 01:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] retsuko.livejournal.com
Re: FMA, what I mean is that is Edward's body, although it has come apart, never comes apart the way their mother's body does as a Homoculus (the visions of her resurrected form before she becomes a full Homoculus are horrifying) and that the female Homoculi's body are capable of physically reforming themselves in the ways that the male Homoculis' are not. When Edward "dies" in the climatic battle with Envy, he is killed through Envy's arm through his chest (and can I get an EEWWWW here?) rather than losing any more parts of his physical self.

I should say here that I have only seen the anime, so cannot speak for the manga version.

Date: 2007-06-10 11:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chibicharibdys.livejournal.com
Ah, okay; I noticed that a lot of the character's roles seem a bit subverted in the anime; forex. the thief girl not only outruns but also outwits Edward in the manga, whereas in the anime, Edward has to teach her a lesson (or something like that). As a result, I much prefer the manga; the gender roles seem more equal, and there is a very strong sense of the country as a whole, working outside of the limitations of the plot; i.e. ordinary people living (or doing their best to live) ordinary lives despite war. The anime seems to be lacking a lot of what I like in the manga.

Date: 2007-06-08 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychoe.livejournal.com
Mother>mom: ACK! My professor caught that and I forgot to edit it out. Thanks!

I felt Vampirella came out of nowhere too. I should really talk about it a little more.

First of all, I am curious as to your perception of the male gaze in conflict with shoujo manga. Is yaoi manga, or homoerotic undertones, the only instance where we see it denied or subverted? Do you think there's a possibility for a "male gaze free" manga product? (I think this sort of speculation could have a place in your conclusion.)

It probably isn't the only case but for the scope of my paper I guess this is what I focused on. There were some material about shoujo-ai I didn't include because I thought it would deviate too far from my particular emphasis for the paper, but it would probably be great to footnote. Male gaze free manga products? I'm not sure what the ration of male/female artists in Japan but I think given that the most popular stories are shonen- read by both men and women- the dominant view is definitely male. This probably makes "male gaze free products" hard to come by. (I'm just speculating here.)

(It's interesting to contrast this with Hokuto's death in Tokyo Bablyon, then, since she dies in a male fashion in taking her brother's place.)

Bingo! I did notice that too. Hokuto is very masculinized. (If that's even a word. XD) Not only does she have short hair, more outgoing/outspoken than Subaru, she was also paired up with Kakyou who is definitely more feminine. She's still one of my favorite characters despite her ridiculous sense of fashion. XD You are also correct to notice the anime-wide trend, but it also goes far beyond that in the history of representation.

I wasn't allowed to include these notes (since they are far too tangential for the topic) but ever since the Renaissance, the female body was seen as inferior to the male body and has since been represented in a particular way. Drawing from sources like Aristotle and Plato, the female body was designated as cold, moist, unruly (which is why it's "Mother" Nature), and empty/abstract. This is why female bodies are used as signifiers (for example when painting the allegories of Poetry, Liberty etc. etc.) Male bodies couldn't represent these virtues because they were seen as active, concrete subjects instead of objects.


Finally, the distinction between utsukushii and kawaii is a fascinating one, and one that is particularly interesting with regard to CLAMP's works. It also fits in well with your Claude Levi-Strauss analysis at the beginning of the essay (although you might want to mention that just one more time to strengthen the connection.)

I was pretty happy to come across this distinction fairly late in the process but it did certainly apply. I hadn't even realized how differentiated the women were until I read my source material. My purpose for actually quoting Levi-Strauss was to implicate myself in my research so I'm not sure I understand what you mean here. (Etic-emic being the insider-outsider discussion referring to myself as both an anime/manga fan and an art historian/scholar)

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll check these out.

Date: 2007-06-10 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] retsuko.livejournal.com
Finally, I can reply to this! Our internet went on vacation for a few days. >:\

Male gaze free manga products? I'm not sure what the ration of male/female artists in Japan but I think given that the most popular stories are shonen- read by both men and women- the dominant view is definitely male. This probably makes "male gaze free products" hard to come by. (I'm just speculating here.)

I wish there were some commercial figures to give context here. It would aslo be interesting to see who has the ownership of both shonen and shoujo manga enterprises. They're both huge cash cows.

Hokuto is very masculinized. (If that's even a word. XD) Not only does she have short hair, more outgoing/outspoken than Subaru, she was also paired up with Kakyou who is definitely more feminine.

Yes! Her fashion sense notwithstanding (although it is outrageous and CLAMP-tastic), the pairing with Kakyo is a fascinating one; he exhibits all the characteristics of a female character (even in the dream world where they can talk freely) and she is definitely a masculine one, particularly in her view of her place in the world and her role in deciding her own destiny.

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