I found the May 10 Timeout feature, “Blurring the boundaries,” very interesting as this is something I’ve been watching over the last several years. It was interesting that the natural question in response to men’s change toward becoming “soushokukei (herbivorous)” was whether women should become “nikushokukei (carnivorous).”
In America, as men become more and more gender-neutral, it seems to be the case that women are trying to match that by coming into the “middle ground” to meet them. In Japan, however, I believe that the women are resistant to this idea of “blurring the boundaries” and are actively fighting against it — but not in the way the feature seems to have focused on. What Japanese women seem to be doing, instead of meeting these more feminine men in the middle, is to respond in the opposite direction and push themselves toward ultra-femininity.
Look at the multitude of subcultures around Japan and see how many of them tend to focus on girls becoming almost like dolls. From Gothic Lolitas to hostesses with over-the-top hairdos, these women are spending countless hours every day in a desperate attempt to keep a balance between themselves and their male counterparts.
In the West it is said that opposites attract, but is it possible that in Japan the tension between men and women is better served when the magnet is flipped? Japanese women are responding to their men, and by their efforts, it seems they’re fighting hard to keep them — regardless of men’s soushokukei.
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