How do governmental, medical, legal, educational, and social structures unequally distribute life chances to different populations in the United States of America? What can we do to end
gender violence and other interrelated forms of systematic violence that are sustained by American administrative practices? For those of us who label ourselves as non-transgender or cisgender, how
does our choice to perform and maintain non-transgender identities require complicity with supporting administrative violence? How is assigning genders and enforcing these gender assignments (and by
extension a (binary) gender system) an inherently violent administrative practice? How do racism, ableism, transphobia, classism, xenophobia, and heterosexism co-constitute administrative and social
practices of constructing and reading gender? How can we practice being undefensively critical of ourselves and the structures of our community organizations and government institutions? These are
the questions that Dean Spade’s book Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law (2015) asks us – no, begs
us – to critically confront, reflect on in our hearts and minds, and address with action in our communities.
Spade begins Normal Life by describing how the deadly maldistribution of life chances in America is normalized through hegemonic administrative practices that rely on the creation and reproduction of categories that mark some populations for exclusion (e.g. trans people, people of color, trans people of color, etc.) and some populations for inclusion. Spade turns a critical eye towards contemporary lesbian and gay activist groups and observes that the approaches that they have been using have primarily focused on a single issue (e.g. sexual orientation) and/or on making changes to the American legal system (e.g. revising current anti-discrimination laws or creating new laws). Spade argues that both of these approaches are ineffectual for resolving the maldistribution of life chances because they misunderstand and fail to address the root cause of systemic inequality in America.
Skip Beat! is a manga series that has been stealing the hearts of readers since the early 2000s. Its popularity is reflected in the anime (2008-2009) and live action (2010-2011) adaptations it spawned. The manga devotes its pages to following Kyoko as she navigates the entertainment industry in Japan and builds a name for herself as an actress. As a result, most of the “acts” in the manga are told from the perspective of Kyoko (who, as of Volume 38, has yet to graduate high school).
By primarily telling events from Kyoko’s point of view, Skip Beat! has often conformed to the pattern of telling a “single story” (a potentially damaging narrative style, as Chimamanda Adichie has discussed). This has been perhaps most obvious where Saena, Kyoko’s mom, is concerned. However, in Volumes 37 and 38, the manga’s perspective shifts in a big way, giving readers an unexpected glimpse of Saena through her own eyes. Author Yoshiki Nakamura threw these narrative curve balls so beautifully that I stood in awe and looked forward to their delicious thumps! striking against vulnerable parts of my soul; in doing so, they catapulted me into a river of memories and feelings.
This post contains SPOILERS.
Sakura Quest can be watched here on Crunchyroll:
"근데 정말 딱 보면 알 수 있어?"
"But can you really tell just by looking?"*
Kim, Hyun-young Kwon, and John (Song Pae) Cho. "The Korean Gay and Lesbian Movement 1993-2008: From ‘Identity’ and ‘Community’ to ‘Human Rights'." South Korean Social Movements: From Democracy to Civil Society, edited by Gi-Wook Shin and Paul Y. Chang, Routledge, 2011, 206-23.
Already familiar with this article? Then, skip the summary and go straight to the section titled “Questions” below to learn about my thoughts on the article. And don’t forget to share your thoughts, reactions, and questions in the comment section so that we can get a discussion going!
***Disclaimer: All translation errors are my own.
MBC's PD수첩 (PD's Notebook) is a current events style (시사) program that has been airing in South Korea for over 25 years. On May 30th, 2017 an episode of PD'S Notebook titled "성소수자 인권, 나중은 없다" ("The Rights of Sexual Minorities, We Don't Have Time to Wait for Tomorrow") was aired in South Korea. When I heard about the episode and read its title I did the internet-web-surfing equivalent of a double take and eagerly anticipated seeing it.
This is me/Michaela Coel laughing at those of you who think that the end of the semester is
going to be a breezy, fun experience. Kyaahahaha.