gender non-conformity sure does make for good entertainment for cis people, huh Japan?
i was going to do my usual live-tweet thing where i vent my frustrations with various things i see on Japanese TV on Twitter, but i took too many photo receipts and have too much to say for Twitter, so i’ll just blurb about it here.
warning: long post ahead full of many hastily taken cellphone photos of my tv. mobile users, i am so soooo sorry.
trigger warning: offensive ignorance, transphobia
so, i randomly turned on the TV and came across the typical Japanese team quiz show, this one hosted by members of the popular band SMAP. they were in the middle of a segment titled 「ジェンダーレス男子・女子、境界線は？」 / “Genderless Males/Females, What’s the limit?”.
there were three teams guessing the assigned gender at birth (AGAB) of 7 people based on their looks, interests and ridiculous stuff like how they responded to having a guy take their face into his hand, gaze into their eyes and act as if he was going to kiss them.
yeah. apparently this is a good / amusing way of figuring out what gender someone was assigned at birth. mmhmm.
the “real fun” started when it was time for the teams to cast their votes and then reveal the guests’ AGAB. of course, it being Japanese tv, extra effort was made to make every reaction overly exaggerated and ridiculous for the sake of amusement, but sometimes you have to wonder… is it even really just an exaggeration or are the people on these shows really that ridiculous?
in the above images, one lady was like “i’ve been to Shinjuku Ni Chome* and in that industry people wave their hands like this, but 6-san waved like this so 6-san’s a (’real’) girl?” to which one of her teammates was like “this isn’t a friggin’ Shinjuku Ni Chome quiz!” everyone else: “lulz”
they start with 4-san, who everyone is confident is AFAB. when it’s revealed that 4-san is AMAB…
of course they have to show 4-san’s passport too because, you know, “irrefutable proof” is necessary for shock value.
and then the guy who went around to all of the guests doing the kiss role play who was sooo certain he felt something with 4-san plays(?) disgusted / insulted / offended over this revelation about 4-san being AMAB. “what are you doing, making men be attracted to you??” he says while his guy teammate jokingly holds him back.
of course, when 4-san explains that they** usually do 女装/present as female, the next question was “do you like girls?”
4-san responds that they aren’t interested in men or women. that in fact, they don’t much like people at all. of course everyone’s shocked and amazed by this. in fact, it was mentioned earlier that 4-san has many pet cockroaches and one of the team members comments “so you only like roaches?? LOL”
much lulz were had by everyone on the show.
they move on to 1-san, who some think is AMAB, others think is AFAB.
it’s revealed that 1-san is AFAB, to which many of the female team members respond with “ohh, she’s cool.”, “she’s cute!”, and lots of other positive and supportive responses.
so when an AFAB person does 男装/presents as male it’s “cool” and “cute” according to the women, but when an AMAB person does 女装/presents as female the response is “why are you tricking me/men??”
1-san goes on to say that they do 男装/present as male regularly and one of the male team members asks, “have you ever had a girl confess her love to you?” to which 1-san’s like “yep, lots of times.”
moving on to 2-san, who many people also thought was AFAB but is AMAB.
2-san says that they do 女装/present as female all the time and explains that they really like people not knowing what their gender is at a glance. the teams obviously don’t really get it, but the topic changes to 2-san’s voice.
as is often the case when a trans person or cross dresser is on Japanese tv, they ask 2-san to switch back to their “male” voice so they can compare. and of course, they’re all blown away because 2-san’s awesomeness is beyond their comprehension.
but then one of the team members makes this remark:
“*gasp* it’s the same system as Haruna Ai.” Haruna Ai is one of the most famous trans woman celebs in Japan and i don’t know wtf this guy thinks he’s talking about when he says that, but it really pisses me off for various reasons.
the show continues with more of the same; more passports, more old photos just to rub in the gender fuckery, more gasps, more ridiculously ignorant comments and questions until everyone’s AGAB is revealed and the winners get to bask in the glory of their ignorant, transphobic “awesomeness.”
just your average night watching tv in Japan.
*Shinjuku Ni Chome is an area in Tokyo well known for it’s gay and drag bars/clubs.
**defaulted to using they pronouns for all of the guests since i don’t know their actual gender identity or pronouns.