Don’t we all adapt to society, if it doesn’t adapt to us instead?
Hello friendos. Back after a break from OWLS and I dunno if it made any difference, but I guess there’s no point mulling over it anymore. As usual, this is Aria (that’s my pseudonym) and we – OWLS – promote acceptance of individuals, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability. This month is about adapting:
Right now, we all have lost something or gained something in return during this dark time. Our lives have been completely altered due to coronavirus. For this month, we will be talking about anime series and other pop culture media where we have characters having to adjust to changes in their environment. Whether it’s adjusting to a new school or heading towards an isekai fantasy world, we will be discussing characters that had to make changes within themselves in order to adapt to the circumstances they are in. This will also give us an opportunity to express our own personal lives as we try to adjust to a “new normal.”
I’ve been watching Wandering Son (Hourou Musuko) for #AniTwitWatches. It’s about transgender people, namely male-to-female Shuichi (Nitori) and female-to-male (Yoshino) Takatsuki, so saying they want to change is a given, but how others react to what they do and how they act to what those others do is the awkward stuff.
Important note: This is probably insensitive, but I will refer to Nitori as a boy and Takatsuki as a girl. This was a big headscratcher for me – how to use pronouns in a respectful way – and so I didn’t become inconsistent or get confused, I had to take the insensitive route (using “they” for both would make things worse). My sincerest apologies to anyone who wants them referred another way, but I don’t know the manga ending to say anything authoritative for a sensitive version and don’t want to risk spoiling myself.
Most of the focus of the series lies on Nitori and his ability to convincingly dress like a girl. Although this is encouraged by Doi and Mako(to), his classmates, and the support of fellow trans person (Hiro)yuki, Doi’s reactions after Nitori musters up the courage to come to school as a girl are particularly hard to read. Meanwhile Mako berates himself for not being “as cute” as Nitori is near the end of the anime, threatening to create a rift between the two. Nitori is told multiple times he is cute, even by people he thinks are cute such as Anna, but has to adjust when he presents as female due to the blowback and eventually puberty. Adapting to circumstances means reacting to those around you as well as yourself, both the good and the bad.
Meanwhile, Takatsuki, inspired by a (non-trans) girl called Sarashina who inexplicably shows up in a male uniform on the first day of school one year in order to provoke people regarding uniform rules, gains praise for male presentation. This is one of my main observations of the anime – the double standard makes male-to-female transitions harder, but they’re the more common perspective in media awareness of trans people because of the higher amount of drama and change involved. It’s not just school rules or a single person who encourages people to be open about this stuff – society as a whole and the way humanity declared, over thousands of years, a “correct” way to be a certain gender creates conflict with people who cross or nullify the boundaries of gender or sexuality itself (essentially the entire LGBTIQ+ group). It’s just people coming to terms with themselves, whether gradually or suddenly, that allows them to be the way they are, LGBTIQ+ or not.
As stated in my #AniTwitWatches notes, Wandering Son cuts quite close to home. Not only did I know someone who was trans, the fact I’ve been stuck in an employment rut for a good while now (the feelings of hopelessness on this front are only exacerbated by competition in this COVID-19 situation) makes me wonder if a male version of myself would be successfully employed or what that version of me would even look like. A long think about my gender identity always tells me that’s a big what-if, but some of my more non-binary tendencies –
if you believe Wikipedia, even “Aria” is a gender-neutral name, although that wasn’t intended – do make me wonder at times…
As for how I’m faring under quarantine, most of my life hasn’t changed because I don’t commit to much anyway. The biggest hits were volunteering and going to the library…so I ended up using the spare time from that to play some gacha games and invest in my fandoms instead…
It’s all at the cost of not exercising much, but I’m no athlete anyway.