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Cute Girls, Tough Boys

Performing Gender in Algerian Manga

Alexandra Gueydan-Turek

This article explores the way in which masculinity and femininity are constructed in Algerian manga, an emerging, understudied sub-genre within the field of Algerian graphic art. Through the exploration of youth-oriented publications of shōjo and shōnen manga, I will demonstrate how these new local works offer a privileged form of expression for and platform to address disaffected Algerian youths. The primary focus of this investigation will be the differences (or lack thereof) between ideals of gender performances as expressed in Algerian manga and ideals of gender identity in society at large. This article will demonstrate that, while some differences manifest a desire for change on the part of both artists and readers, they certainly do not constitute radical revisions of the popular Algerian notions of masculinity and femininity. Ultimately, this study will demonstrate the limits of manga as an imported genre within an Arab-Islamic context, oscillating between the promulgation of alternative social ideals and the reinforcement of social norms.

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Crossdressing Dansō

Negotiating between Stereotypical Femininity and Self-expression in Patriarchal Japan

Marta Fanasca

In this article, I focus on the childhood and adolescent life experiences of dansō (female-to-male crossdressers) who work as escorts in contemporary Japan, and on the process that led to their presentation of self as gendered masculine in their private and working lives. During their childhood and adolescence, dansō have to negotiate their identity and self-presentation to adhere to the gendered pressures of Japanese society. Through an analysis of interviews undertaken with 14 dansō informants, I explore dansō’s construction of a male identity before adulthood, highlighting the societal impositions they experienced and the coping strategies to which they resorted in order to create and maintain a space in which to express their queer selves.