TV, infantilism, Shirley Yamaguchi

Birgit Kellner kellner
Sun Aug 9 10:31:02 EDT 1998

Aaron Gerow wrote:
> It is thus possible to see the assumption of a childlike image as a form
> of resistance.  More extreme forms of infantalism, like the wearing of
> baby-like clothes that was in a few years ago, or more eccentic modes of
> childlike behavior, best epitomized by Shinohara Tomoe, actually have
> very few fans among men.  Assuming such an image can thus serve both as
> escape from adulthood and as a barrier against masculine, heterosexual
> sexuality.  > 
> Other forms of infantilism (the "cuter" forms) are more likely to mold
> the self in the image desired by the male gaze.  One can then aslo ask
> why the childlike woman is desirable in contemporary Japan.

Just a few questions from the fringes - 

It would perhaps be useful to first ask what precisely is perceived as
infantilistic, childish, "girlish" or "cute", and in particular, where
the line is drawn between representations of femininity (demure
demeanour, grace, elegance) and representations of "childlike" women. In
terms of TV, where is the difference between childlike idols and
anchorwomen in newsrooms whose main function is to be decorative and
express nothing short of a hundred-percent astonishment at the words of
wisdom delivered by the (usually) male expert they are, ahem,
interviewing? Where's the difference between baby clothes and pink
office suits? 

Bearing that in mind, if childlike behaviour is viewed as resistance,
what precisely is it a resistance to? "Growing up" to mature femininity,
whatever that may be? Both David and Aaron mentioned heterosexual
sexuality as something that female infantilism is a barrier against. Is
this supposed to imply (I sure hope not) that female homosexuality is
equally "infantile" and is also a mere symptom of resistance against
"adult" heterosexuality? 

birgit kellner
department for indian philosophy
hiroshima university

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