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From Phyllida's Desk

Making It Look Easy

Men who openly read explicit pornography in public transportation areas are not as severely condemned as women who apply foundation, lipstick, and blush outside their homes.
Women's bodies are openly on view on trains and subways, not only smiling up from the pornographic images in newspapers and manga being read by male passengers, but also hanging from the rafters in advertisements featuring nude models. Perhaps there is unease about women's public beauty work because it exposes the degree to which gender performance is culturally achieved behavior, one that requires ongoing effort and shoring up. There is an expectation that a truly feminine woman never reveals the cost and energy that contribute to her gender performance, a view that surfaces in many comics and drawings.

From: "Behavior that offends : comics and other images of incivility" by Laura Miller. (Chapter 11 of: Manners and mischief : gender, power and etiquette in Japan, edited by Jan Bardsley and Laura Miller. Berkeley : University of California Press, c2011. p. 230.


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