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Interrupting polarities of gender and sexuality : consumption of same-sex pornography by Japanese women Hirano, Yuki


In Japanese sexual discourses produced by women, a cultural sphere exists in which females express sexual agency through intimacy in fantasy spaces that are homosocial and/or homoerotic. In this paper, I argue that such spaces constructed at the level of fantasy may create an alternative form of women's sexual subjectivity, agency and identity that radically links women in the fantasy sphere of homoeroticism in ways distinct from Euro-North American discourses of sexuality. By examining popular Japanese literature and women's magazines, I interpret some aspects of Japanese women's homosocial and homoerotic culture, addressing the ways that analytical attention to fantasy may invite discussion concerning a diversity of cross-cultural gender and sexual ideologies. My analysis explore Japanese discourses of women's gender and sexuality, queer and/or straight. My research has been conducted through, but not limited to, my original collection of literature, comic books, TV programs, popular women's magazines, counter-cultural newsletters, documentary films and pornographic movies. I analyze contemporary discourses of gender, sexuality and fantasy circulated in women's magazines, newsletters, comic books and pornography in Japanese culture. How do we make sense of conventional images of women's beauty alongside images of sexual practices that disrupt conventional patriarchal heterosexuality, including images of sex between women, or between men, transsexuals, dolls, animation characters or even cyborgs, that are created by and for women? I argue that Japanese women's gender and sexuality are represented and discussed ambiguously, and that rich, multilayered fantasies challenge strict gender and heterosexual norms in ways that may be seen as politicizing and empowering.

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