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HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#1 | Back to Top12-13-2008 04:27:36 AM

dartxni
Saionji Slapper
Registered: 12-13-2008
Posts: 24

Gender in SKU TV series and Movie

I see things from my own genderqueer perspective, which means I am constantly noticing how gender is expressed in media.

At 14, as a teen and watching Utena for the first time, it struck me as the making a lot of sense that Utena wanted to be a prince and not a princess.  It reminded me of how me and my female friends all used to pretend to be boys when we were young (5-12.) Somehow, we had gotten the impression that boys had more fun, and therefore the only way to have real adventures was to pretend to be boys. When my little sister tried to tag along, we said she was the princess and sent her to the tower (treehouse) to wait to be rescued and forgot all about her as we pretended to be mages and knights battling trolls and such.

In the TV show, Utena's reasoning for being boyish struck me as being more like that. She was a prince so that she didn't have to be a princess and wait to be saved. In the movie, the transformation was more complete. She looked so boyish that she was occasionally mistaken for one. But when she fought, her hair lengthened and curled around her, as if she didn't have to pretend to be a boy when she was fighting, or perhaps to show that she was being her real self when she was fighting.

I don't know, what do you think? What is the significance of her hair going from short to long?

She's not the only person with an interesting take on gender in the series. Kozue, Shiori, Juri, Nanami and Anthy, as well as Akio, Touga, Saionji and Miki all embody fascinatingly different stereotypes.

Meh, I'm too sleepy to think of anything particularly intelligent. *yawn*

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#2 | Back to Top12-13-2008 01:21:12 PM

Esmenet
Tenjou Tilter
From: Illinois
Registered: 12-04-2008
Posts: 83

Re: Gender in SKU TV series and Movie

'Letting your hair down' is an expression that means relaxing, letting you be yourself. So yes, I think movie-Utena was letting down her guard about other aspects of herself when she was fighting. She wasn't focusing on being a student or interacting with others; she was focusing on not letting that rose get knocked off her chest.

(Apologies if this post is a bit weird; I'm not that coherent right now.)


The bird is struggling out of the egg. The egg is the world. Whoever wants to be born must first destroy a world. [The bird is flying to God. The name of the God is called Abraxas.]

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#3 | Back to Top12-13-2008 03:29:49 PM

dartxni
Saionji Slapper
Registered: 12-13-2008
Posts: 24

Re: Gender in SKU TV series and Movie

Ooh, that makes sense! More sense that I did.

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#4 | Back to Top12-14-2008 09:23:41 AM

Stephanie
Yasha Assassin #1
From: Philippines
Registered: 10-01-2007
Posts: 615
Website

Re: Gender in SKU TV series and Movie

Hmm, personally, I think for me, I view it as one of her transformations to changing the look of being a prince.

It wasn't only her hair, but her pants also became shorts.

After she said goodbye to her supposed death prince Touga, she went to Himemiya, in the thoughts of there already are no prince in this world, but she still has that long hair and short shorts on.

She still had the long hair at the end, while she and Anthy run away naked.. While they are stripped off everything, and roles are diminished..

So, I'm thinking the long hair doesn't only stay when she is prince.. Though now I don't really know what it symbolizes emot-confused Subconciously, I felt it was embracing more of her girl self, though I don't know why..

Hehe, I think everyone had moments like that, where they want to be the rescuer instead of the one being rescued.. You feel stronger that way, than pale ol' little miss helpless..


Gender and gender roles in SKU are of a very thin line.. We see "implications" of Yaoi, incest almost everywhere, though in one part, Touga told Nanami that "Men and women are suppose to be for each other" while Nanami was holding her egg, which makes it all the more confusing with what he is doing with Akio/Saionji (implication speaking)

For me, I think people view roles are stuck in gender.. Even when I was 11 to 12, to be honest, for a whole year, I forgotten I was a girl and thought I was a boy, even if I do take a damn shower everyday.. I was inlove with a girly person, and so I think subconciously, I have to do the opposite role.. I think it's the reason sometimes people want to change their genders too..

Men = Macho
Girls = Fragile, sensitive

Though roles was just implied by society, and gender should never be a big issue in doing what you want, that's how I came to love my own gender and accept it fully.


http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i262/Chosen_entity/Etcetera/621ed118do3-1.jpg
"..No matter how hard we want to close our eyes, there's a whole world out there
Bigger than ourselves and our dreams.."
~FMA

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#5 | Back to Top12-21-2010 04:42:14 PM

Azure
High Tripper
From: South Kackalacky
Registered: 12-18-2010
Posts: 259
Website

Re: Gender in SKU TV series and Movie

Going back on the whole age-related gender dysphoria, I think that is a good reasoning to Utena's gender identity.

Many girls agree, myself included, that when we were younger, playing pretend we preferred to slip into more masculine roles. To me, it always seemed more fun to possess a masculine role. Even when I grew older and got into middle school and online roleplaying I still stuck to male characters. I was always very tomboyish anyway, but now I think of myself as very feminine at heart.

We have to remember that Utena and Anthy aren't "adults", no matter how their ordeals might affect our opinions of their ages. In fact, they're junior high students. Even the majority of the student council members (Touga, Saionji, Juri) are in the high school section of Ohtori and are at least a few years older than Utena. By these members she is still initially viewed as a child. She's a young adolescent girl, and one of the major themes in Utena is that of coming-of-age. In the end, Utena wasn't really a prince because she had by then realized her own femininity and her vulnerability. And as we all know, it defies logic for a girl to be a prince, doesn't it?

Utena initially wanted to be a prince, due to her impression of the heroic and strong Dios. She didn't want to be the princess she was born to be, to have to wait idly by for her prince to come for her. So she decided what any young ambitious child would do and chose the proactive approach of being a Prince. However once she came to Ohtori and got involved in the duels, she began to realize just what being a noble prince would require of her. She still wanted to stick it though, but with factors like Touga and Akio, she began to realize her feminine side. And by the time she had realized it, she was reluctant to give it up, which led to her failure as a prince. The princess she was born to be was interfering with the prince she desired to be. In other words, she was having to grow up into a young woman when all she really wanted to do was continue her childhood games of being a prince.


Indefinite. Empty. Mythos & Eternity

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#6 | Back to Top12-22-2010 07:57:30 AM

CoffinBreaker
Rose Bride
From: Here and Now
Registered: 10-28-2010
Posts: 117

Re: Gender in SKU TV series and Movie

Ah, finally, a thread on a subject I'm well versed in! emot-dance

On the subject of gender relating to childhood fantasies/games, it must be noted that most children are incredibly sexually confused; it's just a part of the child's mindset. Especially us queer ones emot-gonk

Even if a girl is perfectly straight, goes on to live a "normal" female existence, and has no tendencies towards being masculine or lesbian, it's still quite common for them to pretend to be boys during play-like pretending to be knights or princes or the like, since the princess never gets to do anything. It's rare, however, for boys to pretend to be girls unless they grow up to be metrosexual or gay.


In the interests of curbing redundancy, I'll move on to the next point: movie!Utena.

http://ohtori.nu/galerie/v/movie/charde … 4.png.html

Utena's masculinity is more heavily emphasized in the movie, and it would seem she goes through a lot of trouble to look that masculine-binding her chest and *apparently* ^ her hair. When she turns into her prince/duelist-mode she's definitely just letting herself be without pretense or restraint. And the outfit is sort of a compromise between her masculinity and femininity, as is Utena.


You don't need to understand Revolutionary Girl Utena to understand it.

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#7 | Back to Top07-16-2012 03:25:24 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Gender in SKU TV series and Movie

CoffinBreaker wrote:

It's rare, however, for boys to pretend to be girls unless they grow up to be metrosexual or gay.

I think you just showed us the prevailing common conception that kept young straight boys - most of whom wanted to be accepted as normal by others - from pretending to be girls while playing.

Pre-school, many little boys, when given the chance, will experiment with their mother's high heels and scarfs and play acted in them since children do whatever they think is fun; that, and it is within human nature that one would want to "gloom" and beautify themselves, and feminine attires just give ample opportunities for such experimentation.

Once at school, boys who pretend to be girls will immediately get ridiculed and bullied by boys and girls alike, most of whom having already been taught by the world (parents, older siblings, teachers, media) how boys who resemble girls are "sissies" - which, like "sluts" and "gays", are the human equivalent of bugs that deserved to be played with and/or outright destroyed.  What friends they had will stop associating with them, least they got similarly branded as well; their own parents will berate them for their being weak enough to get bullied, and will try actively "manning" them up to stop them from "degenerating" into the stigmatized sissies.

I've once known this good-looking kid who got bullied at school for his blond locks; when his parents caught wind of it, did they call up the teachers to discuss the problems with school bullies?  No, they made their son get a crew cut instead, and forced him to join the sports team that the bullies were members of.

Any boy found being anything similar a girl will get skewered faster than Anthy by OUR WORLD's swords of hate.  Even if straight boys wanna try flirt with the idea of playing as girls, most of them will find the colossal social risk involved is just not worth it. 

Thus why girls play as boys and boys play as boys, and all is well in their coffins.


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#8 | Back to Top07-16-2012 03:56:21 PM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: Gender in SKU TV series and Movie

In Utena, unbound hair is a powerful symbol of emotional and spiritual freedom. In the series, it is Anthy's hair that is bound up, symbolizing her self-imposed imprisonment, and it is she that walks away from Ohtori with her hair freed.

In the movie, the situations are reversed. It is Utena that is caged, bound by painful memories of the past, and it is through her interaction with Anthy that she overcomes that pain and transforms into the free individual she was meant to be.

Needless to say, gender is a heavily played with theme of the franchise, but in this particular case, I feel it is more symbolic of their emotional states than anything else.

Last edited by Aelanie (07-16-2012 04:21:14 PM)

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#9 | Back to Top07-16-2012 04:23:06 PM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: Gender in SKU TV series and Movie

gorgeousshutin wrote:

CoffinBreaker wrote:

It's rare, however, for boys to pretend to be girls unless they grow up to be metrosexual or gay.

I think you just showed us the prevailing common conception that kept young straight boys - most of whom wanted to be accepted as normal by others - from pretending to be girls while playing.

Goes to show that femininity still is looked down upon, that guys should avoid it at all costs less they lose their status. It's pretty sad. I remember my best friend's younger brother wanting to wear a dress to school, but his dad was worried his son would get bullied if he did that.

But as far as the long hair in SKU and the movie goes, while it makes for a nice metaphor, I think part of it is for the sake of looking cool/pretty.
(With hair like that, who would want to cut it all off? :V)

Lol, whenever I played a male role as a kid, it was mostly because my friend insisted on being the female role. I usually preferred female roles though (whether they were princesses or witches). In that sense I was pretty girly.

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#10 | Back to Top07-16-2012 05:58:07 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Gender in SKU TV series and Movie

Lurv wrote

Goes to show that femininity still is looked down upon, that guys should avoid it at all costs less they lose their status.

The horrific thing is that guys are not just at risk of losing their status as men - they risk losing their status as human beings in the eyes of the vast majority from their school AND beyond; that they'd become game for bullying and lynching and people would say it's their fault for not fitting society's prison-like gender roles.  This really is an issue that speaks volumes about the true intolerance of our so called modern, open-minded world.


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#11 | Back to Top07-16-2012 06:56:31 PM

MikoGalatea
Rose Bride
From: England, UK
Registered: 02-25-2012
Posts: 115
Website

Re: Gender in SKU TV series and Movie

Lurv wrote:

Goes to show that femininity still is looked down upon, that guys should avoid it at all costs less they lose their status. It's pretty sad.

What I find completely depressing is that feminity is still so looked down upon, full stop. Guys who aren't totally traditionally masculine get sneered at, women who are traditionally feminine in any way get accused of being "anti-feminist" and other shit like that, there's all the terrible things many women go through just for being women, and then you have to think of how much worse still things must be for trans* people.

In other words, misogyny hurts just about everyone to one degree or another, and the sooner it dies in a fire, the better.

Bringing this back to SKU... I don't really have anything more to add to the topic of movie!Utena's hair going from short to long, but I'll put another tangently-related observation out there instead: Movie!Utena, when we first see her, has short hair that's part of her trying to be her own prince, when really a good part of it is about her trying to deal with her pain; in contrast, movie!Touga, her male childhood sweetheart, has very long hair, and that too is linked to his own painful past experiences. Sorry if that's mostly stating the obvious, but at least I thought it was kind of interesting?

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#12 | Back to Top07-16-2012 06:56:37 PM

Honey Bear
Sunlit Gardener (Prelude)
From: England
Registered: 08-01-2011
Posts: 173
Website

Re: Gender in SKU TV series and Movie

Aelanie wrote:

In Utena, unbound hair is a powerful symbol of emotional and spiritual freedom. In the series, it is Anthy's hair that is bound up, symbolizing her self-imposed imprisonment, and it is she that walks away from Ohtori with her hair freed.

In the movie, the situations are reversed. It is Utena that is caged, bound by painful memories of the past, and it is through her interaction with Anthy that she overcomes that pain and transforms into the free individual she was meant to be.

Needless to say, gender is a heavily played with theme of the franchise, but in this particular case, I feel it is more symbolic of their emotional states than anything else.

Ooh, this is an interesting idea. Thinking back on the series, it was moments when she unbound her hair, like when she went to sleep with Utena, that she was able to be a little bit honest.

Another random thought: at first during the movie I thought the transformation into her long hair and short shorts was her 'true self' coming through, but at the same time it's still a costume to play the prince... I don't think we see Utena's true self until she and Anthy emerge butt naked at the end, because they've lost the prince and princess roles and are simply themselves.

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#13 | Back to Top07-16-2012 07:16:23 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Gender in SKU TV series and Movie

Honey Bear wrote:

I don't think we see Utena's true self until she and Anthy emerge butt naked at the end, because they've lost the prince and princess roles and are simply themselves.

Lots of anime use nakedness to represent the naked true self (Penguindrum being one), so I guess naked and hair unbound would be naked true self unbound in SKU movie.


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#14 | Back to Top07-10-2014 12:58:04 AM

dlaire
A Whole Orange
From: Poland
Registered: 04-08-2007
Posts: 2322

Re: Gender in SKU TV series and Movie

When it comes to Utena´s short hair, I thought the main reason for having her hair short is to show her grief. I might be wrong but I´ve read somewhere that cutting your hair means you experience loss. When she fights, her hair grow because she´s no longer focused on her trauma and that´s why her hair are longer during the dancing scene and are the longest at the end of the show.

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