Tea With Chris: Isn’t Not

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: “In this light, the selfie isn’t about empowerment. But it also isn’t not about empowerment. Empowerment, or lack thereof, is not part of the picture. Neither is narcissism, as either a personal or a cultural moral failure. And the selfie isn’t about the male gaze. The selfie, in the end is about the gendered labour of young girls under capitalism.”

There is a certain virtue in directness, and the new (very, very not-safe-for-work) blog Gay Manga! makes a point of it, punctuation and all. The Tumblr partly serves to preview The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame, an unprecedented English-language collection of work by the eponymous XXX manga master, forthcoming from art-comics publisher Picturebox in May. But it’s full of explicit selections by like-minded cartoonists as well, and there’s historical/theoretical background material to contextualize the smut. (I came across the blog while doing some research on Tagame himself.)

Here, for example, is Tagame explaining his preference for burly Tom of Finland figures: “It is easy for heterosexuals – who never experience anything that is homosexual – to understand if gays are attracted to men who are ‘as beautiful as women’ or ‘with beauty beyond sexual differences.’ I have no intention to deny it, but it is merely the result of viewing homosexuals or gays from the outside, or the result of surmising abstractly. However, the reality of gay sexuality is far more diverse.” And Gay Manga! abounds with body hair and male bulk, if either of those happen to be your things.

One might assume that macho aesthetic places these comics at an opposite extreme from yaoi, the genre of male-male romance manga more familiar in the West, which is drawn primarily by women for women and whose protagonists stereotypically look somewhat androgynous, even feminine. But as the blog’s programmer Graham Kolbeins notes, the two traditions are hardly alien to each other, with artists and readers increasingly venturing between genres. If literary taxonomy isn’t the subject that immediately fascinates you here, though, he also posted this jingoistic poster from the Russo-Japanese War, employing a propaganda technique I can’t say I’ve ever seen before.

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Filed under carl wilson, chris randle, linkblogging, margaux williamson

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