Apr. 19th, 2017

foxinthestars: cute drawing of a fox (Default)
Some discursive ramblings on a whim...

I hear a lot about the role of shame in East Asian cultures, so it strikes me as ironic* that after marinating myself in a bunch of East Asian media and then going back to the American stuff, shame is like the first thing I notice in the American stuff.  American media thinks shame/embarrassment is a great way to teach and a go-to way to be funny.  As someone with an embarrassment squick it trips me up constantly.  (At this very moment I'm pausing my mostly-fun first-ever viewing of Kung Fu Panda for the Xth time to process tripping over vicarious embarrassment again.)  I wonder if this is possibly WHY I'm so drawn to East Asian media --- I mean it's not like it never does it but it feels like it's less?

(*Note this doesn't prove or disprove the broader cultural observation.  It's totally conceivable that a culture where shame is serious business would deal it out less glibly in media [EDIT: or that it is there but not in the forms my own culture has conditioned me to react to/be squicked by].  I'm not qualified to say whether that's the answer but it's possible.)

Looking at shame from another, representation-y angle is how I ended up watching Kung Fu Panda actually.  Y'all might have noticed I'm head over heels for Akatsuki no Yona right now, and I still absolutely adore it, but the thought "could I cosplay this?" gave me a big ol' faceful of body image dysphoria**.  That was where I was earlier today when I got around to sampling Voltron: Legendary Defender on my Netflix trial*** and I was NOT ready for its treatment of Hunk.  ("Okay, if he's stuck in this garbage can, I'm leaving. ...  Okay, so he is stuck and I lied, I'll stick it out to the end of the pilot, but you're on probation, show.")  Between that and throwing in crass "humor" indiscriminately, I rated the pilot "not a keeper."

And then I was like "goddammit, I need something with a fat hero."  (I also may need to re-read the Jes Baker book, having finally bought myself a copy.)   So I started watching Kung Fu Panda.  I'm not to that part quite yet, but it's been credibly promised, and the other heroes have been called out for their fat-shaming and are starting to see the light.  It helps some.  (But even here, to take one detail, Netflix’ summary of the movie refers to Po as “lazy” and I see no actual evidence in the film that he’s lazy.)

(**I did cosplay for Halloween last year --- as Link.  I could slip that one through because Link can be incarnated as anybody.  Not gonna work this time.)
(***BTW, the binge kind of petered out before completing and I'm still working on the new MST3K eps.)


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