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 The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon

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Addelyn
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PostSubject: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    18th March 2016, 6:27 pm

I was talking to Brit about this last night so I decided to make a topic about it so more people can discuss. We know that Sailor Moon is very female positive. We have strong female leads that came during the 90s, a time when there weren't really any. What I find interesting though is how Sailor Moon handles different genders and sexuality. I'm mostly going from the Manga and 90s Anime, but if you know any examples that can be brought forward from PGSM or any of the musicals, I would love to hear them. 

Before I start, I think that it's a good idea to set forth several definitions of words I'm going to be using so we're all on the same page.

Note: Sexuality and gender constructs are incredibly complicated as there are so many. and not everyone agrees about definitions. I've done my best to try and find the most agreed upon definitions.

nonbinary.org wrote:

Gender Identity: an internal sense of being a gender, regardless of physical characteristics (sex), intentional appearance and behavior (gender expression), or sexual orientation. Most people identify as the gender that they were assigned at birth, which is called being cisgender. Transgender people don't identify as the genders they were assigned at birth.

Gender Fluid: Genderfluid individuals have different gender identities at different times. A genderfluid individual's gender identity could be multiple genders at once, and then switch to none at all, or move between single gender identities. For some genderfluid people, these changes happen as often as several times a day, and for others, monthly, or less often. Some genderfluid people regularly move between only a few specific genders, perhaps as few as two (which is one of the meanings of the label bigender), whereas other genderfluid people never know what they'll feel like next.

Sexual Orientation: an enduring personal quality that inclines people to feel sexual attraction to certain kinds of people. Sometimes sexual orientation is also used to include romantic orientation, the tendency to feel romantic attraction to certain kinds of people. Words for orientations involving nonbinary people are, at this time in history, not satisfactorily developed or agreed upon. Orientations tend to be named and categorized in a way that involves one's own gender identity. For example, "lesbian" indicates not only that one is attracted to women, but also that one identifies as a woman. Some words for sexual orientations make reference to one's own gender: heterosexuality and homosexuality, gay and lesbian.

Heterosexuality: Heterosexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person tends to feel sexual attraction only to people of a different gender identity than their own. For example, women who usually feel attracted only to men. This is heterosexuality even if one or both of the people are transgender, because this is based on gender identity rather than sex. Heterosexuality is often defined as attraction between persons of opposite gender. However, the idea "opposite gender" only makes sense within the gender binary, which sees all people as being either of only two genders, and that those two genders are supposedly opposites to each other. What "heterosexuality" means when nonbinary identities are taken into account is not agreed upon. By its etymology, it could imply "other" or "different" gender. In that case, a heterosexual nonbinary person could mean one who feels attraction to one gender other than nonbinary, to both binary genders, or to all genders other than their exact own. Nevertheless, heterosexuality is often assumed to refer to attraction between men and women only, even when nonbinary identities are acknowledged. This can cause distress to nonbinary people in a relationship and their partners as they struggle to find a labels for themselves. The question of whether a nonbinary person can identify as heterosexual-- and how exactly that person defines their heterosexuality-- is up to that individual person.

Homosexuality: Homosexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person feels sexual attraction only to people of the same gender as one's self.[10] Nonbinary people who are only attracted to other nonbinary people can call themselves homosexual.

Gay
People who identify as gay men have a male gender identity, and are attracted only to men. This word is applicable regardless of whether one or both people involved are cisgender men or transgender men.

Lesbian
People who identify as lesbians have a female gender identity, and are attracted only to women. This word is applicable regardless of whether one or both people involved are cisgender women or transgender women.

Bisexuality: Bisexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person feels sexual attraction to more than one gender of people. Some define this as attraction to women as well as men. Others define bisexuality as attraction to two genders of people: the same as one's own gender, and different than one's own gender. Others define bisexuality as attraction to people of any gender. What "bisexuality" means when nonbinary identities are taken into account is a matter of debate. Many people feel that "bi-" reinforces the gender binary, and erases nonbinary identities, preferring pansexual or polysexual. Others argue that "bisexual" was originally coined to describe a sexuality which included aspects of both heterosexuality and homosexuality, and that in a nonbinary context heterosexuality should be interpreted as inclusive of attraction to all other genders or sexes.

Pansexuality: Pansexuality is a sexual orientation that involves sexual attraction to people of all genders. Pansexuals are attracted to all types of people. They are gender-blind, asserting that gender is insignificant or irrelevant in determining whether they will be sexually attracted to others. Some people prefer to call themselves 'pansexual' rather than bisexual because of the latter term's binary implications.

Polysexuality: Polysexuality is a sexual orientation with sexual attraction to several genders of people. Polysexuals are attracted towards two or more genders, but not all (as in pansexuality) and not just both binary genders (as in some understandings of bisexuality).Not to be confused with polyamory, which is about having more than one partner at the same time.

Haruka

Upon first appearance it looks as if Haruka and Michiru are lesbians, I mean they're together, they're lovers, that makes them lesbians as they're both women, right? Well, I would say that you're wrong. Hold on, here me out. I propose that Haruka while her physical sex may be female, her gender is gender fluid. So if we go back to the definition for a moment;

nonbinary.org wrote:
Gender Fluid: Genderfluid individuals have different gender identities at different times. A genderfluid individual's gender identity could be multiple genders at once, and then switch to none at all, or move between single gender identities. For some genderfluid people, these changes happen as often as several times a day, and for others, monthly, or less often. Some genderfluid people regularly move between only a few specific genders, perhaps as few as two (which is one of the meanings of the label bigender), whereas other gender fluid people never know what they'll feel like next.

As Sailor Uranus  she is presented to be very feminine, the short skirt, the highlights the sailor suit makes of her breasts, and you can see the curves at her hips. When she is transformed, she feels female and thus presents as female.



But Addy, all the Senshi look feminine in their outfits. Okay, I hear you, so let me give you some more proof. Most of why I think Haruka is gender fluid comes from when she is a civilian.

I believe that as a civilian, Haruka tends to feels male most of the time. Here are some examples of how she dresses to appear more male;

In this image she is wearing the male uniform for Mugen Academy. Note how her shoulders appear wide, a physical male characteristic. 

She wears male suits to parties

 
Wears loose shirts to hide her breasts with male sports jackets.

She races cars (a generally male activity), she acts tough, and she flirts openly with women. In Japanese society, women (and the men too) tend to be very shy and if there is flirting behavior, is usually the male that does it.  

However, there are times that she feels more feminine and will dress accordingly, 


Depending on what she feels, her gender presentation changes between male and female. Specifically as we only see her move between these two genders, an argument can be made that she is bigendered. The question of her sexuality is a bit more difficult, as gender fluidity falls under a non-binary category (that being that they aren't exactly male or female, but kind of both or more than 2) it's kind of hard to figure out her sexuality. We know that she is the lover to Michiru, who is sexed as female and presents her gender as female. We see Haruka flirt with other women, mainly being Usagi, who again, is female sexed and female gendered. There isn't any evidence at least that I'm aware of, that she is attracted to males. So she falls somewhere between heterosexuality and homosexuality I guess depending on what she presents at the time. This brings in the question of sexual fluidity, but as there is still debate of whether sexuality can change or be malleable, I'm going to leave that one alone for now. 

Michiru 


As already discussed, Michiru is of the female sex and presents her gender as female. As with Haruka there is no evidence to see her flirting with a male (besides Mamoru I believe in the manga but that was for a very specific purpose so I don't think I'll count that). As she is attracted to someone who is gender fluid, and I believe that Haruka is bigendered, it can be argued that Michiru is either bisexual or polysexual, depending on if you believe that bisexual only is attracted to the two binary genders (male and female). As Haruka is obviously non-binary being gender fluid, I personally am leaning more towards her being either polysexual or just Haruka-sexual. 

Closing remarks 


So there are many, many more examples,but I want to leave some for you guys to discuss. I think that by presenting alternative genders and sexuality in Sailor Moon and making it a normal part of life (None of the Sailor Scouts question Haruka, after they figure out that she is female and not male, they simply accept it and still look up to Haruka and Michiru) and handled in a positive manner, it creates a basis for people to be able to say, hey, I fell or act like this and its okay. I think that showing diversity in a show such as this and it being so positive and so normal helps society break down its barriers and phobias. 

I would love to hear what you guys think about this thread and what other examples you have. 
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    18th March 2016, 9:01 pm

Sailor Moon covers this issue with dignity and respect, I'm aware Haruka and Michiru are a couple, and Haruka appears somewhat male/masculine at times. I also want to note Makoto/Jupiter and Ami/Mercury combines both theoretic masculine and feminine traits. Makoto is viewed a "tomboy" while she identifies as female and plans to settle down as a wife to the man she loves. Ami may be androgynous in appearance and attitude, but she's portrayed a female. Rei/Mars is seen to have strong powers and more masculine compared to Minako/Venus' themes are about feminine beauty and fashion.

As a person who identifies as male AND female (genderfluid), I understood people like myself has different ways they view themselves in the realm of gender and sexuality. I'm straight as a male by biological sex and married to a woman who's also cis-gendered (a person who identifies both by their biological sex and inner identification). I grew up aware of who I am in terms of gender and biological sex, has childhood memories pretending to be a woman character from a cartoon show and even had some dreams I'm a woman instead of a man, so this can be about my soul has two genders or should I say bi-gender.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    18th March 2016, 9:20 pm

I wouldn't really say Haruka is genderfluid. That would imply that dressing outside of your gender's specific clothing made you not your gender. I'm very feminine, and sometimes I want to wear pants or basketball shorts, traditionally masculine clothes. That doesn't mean I'm genderfluid, it just means I wear what I want.

In the manga, she dresses in women's clothes much more often. 







And when she and Michiru return to finish school, she wears the girls' uniform.



Also, we need to consider the time Sailor Moon was created. In the 90s in Japan, they wouldn't have touched anything like genderfluidity, mostly because it's a new concept. 

Plus, Naoko said that only women can be Sailor Senshi. Haruka has never stated that she wants to be a man or feels like a man. She just tends to dress in a way that says "Screw you, I do what I want. *wheelies into the sunset*"

That's just my two cents on the matter.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    18th March 2016, 10:35 pm

Actually, I'm surprised no one has pulled up this panel yet. This is the hardest canon evidence that Haruka may be genderfluid.



There was also an instance where someone asks if Haruka is male or female in the manga (Usagi I think) and she replies, "Does it matter?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    18th March 2016, 10:41 pm

I understood that as she has the strengths of both genders, not that she identifies as both. Like, she's strong and gallant like a man, and romantic and sensitive as a woman. Again, only women can be Sailor Senshi.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    18th March 2016, 10:42 pm

I don't see how that plays any factor in it. You can be a woman physically and identifies as a man. In that case you'd still have the physical body of a woman, which is the only requirement to be a Senshi.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    18th March 2016, 10:45 pm

But she never says she identifies as a man.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    18th March 2016, 10:53 pm

For me, not everything has to be spelled out literally. Haruka has always been vague when asked whether she's a girl or a boy (as I mentioned in that one instance). If she identifies as a girl why not just say so? Using that logic, she has never said she identifies as a girl either.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    18th March 2016, 10:54 pm

I just think it's taking away from the whole "lesbian couple" bit.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    18th March 2016, 11:01 pm

It's definitely a complicated issue, and I think it's up for everyone's personal interpretation on what feels most right to them. I generally choose to view their respective sexualities as only interested in the other specifically and no one else, instead of any of the specific labels.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    18th March 2016, 11:03 pm

Quote :
I generally choose to view their respective sexualities as only interested in the other specifically and no one else, instead of any of the specific labels.


I can agree with that.

Haruka has shown interest in Usagi, though.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    18th March 2016, 11:19 pm

That was one part of the manga that I didn't like or agree with. I view Haruka's flirtations to other women as her playful nature and meaningless, but the manga went so far to have her kiss Usagi and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I like her devotion to Usagi, but IMO that shouldn't have included romantic feelings because it feels disrespectful to Michiru.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    18th March 2016, 11:20 pm

Or she's canonically gay

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    19th March 2016, 4:27 am

That has nothing to do with my issue >.> It was about not staying faithful to her relationship.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    19th March 2016, 7:36 am

StarlightSlayer wrote:
I wouldn't really say Haruka is genderfluid. That would imply that dressing outside of your gender's specific clothing made you not your gender. I'm very feminine, and sometimes I want to wear pants or basketball shorts, traditionally masculine clothes. That doesn't mean I'm genderfluid, it just means I wear what I want.

In the manga, she dresses in women's clothes much more often. 

Also, we need to consider the time Sailor Moon was created. In the 90s in Japan, they wouldn't have touched anything like genderfluidity, mostly because it's a new concept. 

Plus, Naoko said that only women can be Sailor Senshi. Haruka has never stated that she wants to be a man or feels like a man. She just tends to dress in a way that says "Screw you, I do what I want. *wheelies into the sunset*"

That's just my two cents on the matter.

Your right, dressing in clothing doesn't always make you gender fluid. Also, just because it was the 90s in Japan doesnt' mean the idea of gender fluidity didn't exist until recently. There may not be a specific label for it but people can feel things. 

@Sailor Mercury wrote:
Actually, I'm surprised no one has pulled up this panel yet. This is the hardest canon evidence that Haruka may be genderfluid.



There was also an instance where someone asks if Haruka is male or female in the manga (Usagi I think) and she replies, "Does it matter?"

! I was looking for this last night but I had so many tabs open trying to find pictures and definitions I think I missed this. Thank you! Although this panel could also mean that she's androgynous but xD Hey, it's hard to tell when we get so little information about them to begin with. 


StarlightSlayer wrote:
I understood that as she has the strengths of both genders, not that she identifies as both. Like, she's strong and gallant like a man, and romantic and sensitive as a woman. Again, only women can be Sailor Senshi.

@Sailor Mercury wrote:
I don't see how that plays any factor in it. You can be a woman physically and identifies as a man. In that case you'd still have the physical body of a woman, which is the only requirement to be a Senshi.

I agree with Mercury. Haruka is biologically female. She has both primary and secondary female sex characteristics. That makes her biologically female, which would qualify her as a senshi. Her gender is something else all together. Many people's gender do not match their biological sex, think transgendered people. 

StarlightSlayer wrote:
I just think it's taking away from the whole "lesbian couple" bit.

I don't see how it detracts from the lesbian couple bit. I mean even if she is gender fluid, they are an alternative to the heterosexual model, so its still different. 

@Sailor Mercury wrote:
It's definitely a complicated issue, and I think it's up for everyone's personal interpretation on what feels most right to them. I generally choose to view their respective sexualities as only interested in the other specifically and no one else, instead of any of the specific labels.

Michi's Haruka-sexual xD 

@Sailor Mercury wrote:
That was one part of the manga that I didn't like or agree with. I view Haruka's flirtations to other women as her playful nature and meaningless, but the manga went so far to have her kiss Usagi and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I like her devotion to Usagi, but IMO that shouldn't have included romantic feelings because it feels disrespectful to Michiru.

See I disagree here. I agree with the part that Haruka is a giant flirt, it's part of her nature, one that Michiru accepts. But the part I disagree with is that her kiss with Usagi was cheating on Michiru. But I guess it really depends on how you are defining cheating. Are we talking sexually or romantically?

I don't think all kisses need to be sexual. I think that they can just be a way to communicate love, whether romantic, platonic, or devotion to their Princess like I believe Haruka was meaning it. Because of that, I don't believe that Haruka was cheating on Michiru romantically either because the love that she has for both women is so different.
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    19th March 2016, 7:43 am

Sure, it's up to everyone's own interpretation I guess. For me I always interpret a kiss on the lips (that's not just a quick greeting-style kiss) as romantic, so I viewed it as cheating. But of course everyone has their own take on it.

I just prefer the relationship of Haruka and Michiru that was depicted in the anime, because I felt the manga was lacking in showing their bond in general. Someone once pointed out to me that we got very little proof in the manga that those two are in fact together.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    19th March 2016, 7:56 am

@Sailor Mercury wrote:
Sure, it's up to everyone's own interpretation I guess. For me I always interpret a kiss on the lips (that's not just a quick greeting-style kiss) as romantic, so I viewed it as cheating. But of course everyone has their own take on it.

I just prefer the relationship of Haruka and Michiru that was depicted in the anime, because I felt the manga was lacking in showing their bond in general. Someone once pointed out to me that we got very little proof in the manga that those two are in fact together.

I personally got a very good sense that they were together in the manga. Sure, it wasn't as in your face as the anime, but I felt it was fine.


So I was thinking after I made the initial post about other possible expressions of different genders and sexualities in Sailor Moon. 

New Definitions:


nonbinary.org wrote:

Asexuality: a sexual orientation characterized by lack of sexual attraction. This is often accompanied by low or absent interest in sexual activity. Asexuality is distinct from abstention from sexual activity and from celibacy, which are behavioral and generally motivated by factors such as an individual's personal or religious beliefs. Asexuals may have attraction sometimes but is not performed practically. Though asexuals lack in sexual attraction to any gender, may engage in romantic relationships. Some asexuals identify as MOGII. This can be because they feel that the category is appropriate because they experience discrimination for their sexuality like lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, because they experience romantic attraction to the same gender, or both.

Aromantic: A romantic orientation in which a person doesn't feel romantic attraction to people of any gender


Rei 


There is a possibility that Rei is asexual. Putting aside for a moment that Anime Rei was extremely boy crazy, if we examine Rei in the manga, especially in her dream arc where she wonders why everyone else has a boyfriend, and she doesn't see the point.


This panel shows Rei being against getting married but tempted not for the fact of having a companion, but for the free labour help around the shrine. I disagree with Minako about Rei hating men, I just don't think she knows what to do with them in terms of a partner/husband/boyfriend, doesn't really see the point.


She's confused as to why everyone else wants a boyfriend. Now, this could just be due to her age that she is only around like what, 15 here? But I think that the senshi already know what they want and go after it. We are seeing their true selves.

This leads me to believe that Rei is possibly asexual and aromantic. She has little interest in those activities and would rather concentrate on becoming the Priestess of her Shrine and protecting her Princess.
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    19th March 2016, 11:07 am

Rei just always struck me as the more serious of the Senshi. I think to her, having a boyfriend or getting married would detract from her responsibilities as a guardian and shrine maiden. She also seems to be the most no-nonsense, so getting a boyfriend in middle school probably seems a bit flippant to her. Also, Shrine Maidens cannot remain Shrine Maidens if they marry. She's very dedicated to being one, so I'm sure she wouldn't want to give that up.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    19th March 2016, 11:21 am

Actually, Shinto priestesses can be married without losing their position, so staying single would just be Rei's preference
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    19th March 2016, 7:57 pm

If we are talking manga Rei, you need to read Casablanca Memories which sort of sets the tone for her "hatred" towards men. She's pretty much experienced love before her days as a Senshi and it hurt her a lot so she decided to swear off men.  Rei essentially becomes like Minako and the other soldiers and becomes dedicated to her duty towards the Princess and as a Soldier. She finds more pride in that and I think that panel of her considering hte marriage for free labour as more of a comedic thing than anything actually serious to be taken into account of what she would actually do.

As far as Haruka and Michiru, I think Haruka in the beginning is shown as gender fluid but after her initial introduction and they get past the Infinity arc, she becomes more feminine. So she's sort of gender fluid (i always loved the "does it matter?" line) but it seems to kind of disappear as the series goes on. For their sexuality, I always kinda felt Michiru is actually most likely heterosexual but specifically loves Haruka, thus making her specifically "Haruka-sexual" as I like to put it. xD

To touch on Haruka and Michiru more, most fans know that they were inspired directly from Takarazuka Revue and Haruka is essentially the "Yuuga Yamato" type (the lady that plays Tuxedo Mask in the new musicals, who is from Takarazuka Revue and usually plays cool men). Haruka is legit her type of actress. So a lot of it isn't so much Naoko trying to break ground on gender issues but like "oh this is cool and I like Takarazuka, lets make them like that. Thats popular with women, yes." xD I don't really think Naoko was out there to do all this ground breaking stuff but it sort of just happened. Remember, she did have editors (men) and other supervisors/advisers (most likely also men as anime/manga was a very male dominated industry) that were saying "yes good, no do it over" to her.

To touch on the "are they actually in a relationship issue beause its never outright stated", the only evidence we have is an early panel in the Infinity Arc of some random people gossiping about Haruka saying essentially "Omg is that Haruka? And shes with Michiru the violinist? I heard they were together!" I think thats the only actual evidence we get. Obviously it was the anime (male dominated btw) that expanded that to them clearly being by using the whole rose petal motif every time they are on screen as thats a general symbolism in anime to suggest homosexuality. I think there is a note in one of the art books or something that says that she did intend them to be a couple (and if i'm wrong please correct me but i swear i read it some where. If i was on my home computer I'd actually go try and find it xD)


Something extra that sorta has to do with the discussion but not:
 

If anything doesn't make sense i'm sorry ive had to copy and paste this and rewrite a few times cause i'm not used to this laptop. -_-


Edit: Also I'd like to add that I've never seen Ami as androgynous and I don't believe she was ever intended to be viewed in that way whatsoever. Ami is meant to be viewed as the ideal Japanese student. So her lack of caring for some traditionally "feminine" things have more to do with her Japanese good student trope rather than her gender association.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    19th March 2016, 9:09 pm

I agree pretty much completely with Small Lady. Also, as for the Ami thing, why would anyone consider her androgynous? Just because she has short hair and doesn't always go the completely feminine way doesn't mean she is. She acts really girly sometimes. She's just more quiet and reserved.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    20th March 2016, 12:06 am

I understand your point, SS. In western astrology and Greek or Roman folklore, Mercury is a male deity with female traits (the god of flowers and fruits) and he can be perceived by some to represent androgyny. Just a theory of mine about Ami/Mercury and I did say she identifies a female. I'm aware Ami is an academic person well focused on her studies and this is also found in the myth of the god Mercury, about communication and intelligence, and Ami is a speed-reader since Mercury represents speed and flight, and the fast-melting element mercury or quicksilver, can represent the fluid nature of gender identity. The planet Mercury in western astrology is thought to represent homosexuality in natal charts, depending on its position. As far as I know, Ami/Mercury is straight/heterosexual, but she pursues studies more than seeking romance. 

I have to agree Rei/Mars in the manga has little or no romantic desire, thus the term asexual. Like Ami, Rei spends much of her time in study, Rei as a shinto priestess. Asexuality is something not as many people know about, but it's going to take time for society to become totally familiar with. A different contrast from the anime Rei, since the animated series production staff wanted to make Rei much like what Mars in astrology represents: hot, fiery love and sexuality. Mars' symbol is the male gender  and I believed Rei would possess "male" traits, then behaviors both men and women have are just labels society invented, just like gender roles are artificial social constructs.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    20th March 2016, 12:16 am

I think the Mercury stuff is a bit of a reach.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    20th March 2016, 10:20 am

@Solipsi Rai,  you have a good point there if you are looking that deeply into the Greek/Roman mythology, which is fine considering how much was taken from Western mythologies into Sailor Moon. It is logical to consider that with her character. However, I think it is important to remember the context this series is created in. It is created by a Japanese woman for a Japanese audience (which again, while homosexuality is sort of accepted in an off beat roundabout way, at the same time it really isn't. This is a country that has only truly been influenced by Western civilization only sort of recently in their history, mostly after WWII).

While she did derive a lot of her inspiration from Western (mostly Roman/Greek) mythology and philosophy, she also takes from Eastern mythology and philosophies. Sailor Moon is a blend of the two (look at Jupiter, shes a good blend of both East and West). However, at the end, it is still a Japanese manga and should be read/watched in that context as best as possible. I believe Naoko only took from Roman/Greek myth from a somewhat basic level (mainly cause of the planets and their powers). I don't think it is as far as to determine their gender associations. I very seriously doubt that is what Naoko had in mind when she was coming up with the characters.

Naoko was also creating a girls Sentai Team story, so she had to come up with a characters for each color that is usually represented in those shows (Mercury being the "blue" one). So I feel with that in mind, she wasn't looking that deeply into Roman/Greek mythology. I think it was enough to come up with some powers, personality and a few other quirks about each character, but that is about it.

That said, it is perfectly ok to believe what you want about each character's gender/sexuality because it is up for interpretation to some extent. I just think its important to remember the context of the source material, which is why I wanted to point it out. There's nothing wrong with viewing it from a Western point of view because, unless you've lived and intensively studied other cultures, how else are you going to view it? Of course we will read it and add in our own context from our culture into it. Thankfully even though Sailor Moon is hella Japanese, it can still work outside of Japan (thus its worldwide popularity).


Also Id like to reword what I said in my spoiler above to say that what my friend described to me may actually be more fitting to Japanese culture than all southeast Asian cultures, as a lot of Asian cultures are still very strict and against homosexuality (and with that, trans and other gender/sexual stuff) and it is even banned in some countries.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    20th March 2016, 11:20 am

That was much more eloquent than I could've put that at two in the morning. Thank you, Small Lady.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    2nd April 2016, 6:53 am

Small Lady has a great way of putting things xD

I recently heard of a theory that Usagi is pansexual. There is evidence to suggest that she does have small crushes on her inner senshi at one point or another in the anime or manga. What do you guys think?
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    2nd April 2016, 2:35 pm

I think that has more to do on the emphasis on Japanese culture. In anime, it is often shown other girls admiring heir seniors (or even their peers!) and often blushing at how cool or nice or wonderful they are. This is more of a reflection of how Japanese girls tend to react around each other, their friends and seniors.  Usagi isn't really blushing because of a romantic interest, it is due to her admiration of how cool/beautiful/hardworking/etc. their friend/other girl/senpai/etc. is. In the manga, Rei's stereotype is the cool, put together, beautiful girl. From appearance, she exemplifies admirable beauty, grace and what it means to be a lady.  Usagi, just like many of Rei's peers, admire this and see it.  Anime takes it as far as sometimes girls having fan clubs around their "cool classmates" and so on.

Usagi is too much of a typical Japanese school girl when it comes to her ideals and sexual preferences. Her dream is stated at one point to become a bride and be a wonderful wife to someone (which becomes Mamoru).  In the manga, it is also noted in the beginning that she has a crush on Motoki.  Socially and culturally I don't see Usagi as being pansexual.

That said, I, however, totally love the idea of Usagi having a love for her friends by the end of everything that is so deep it is beyond normal friendship. Mamoru will always be her true "miracle romance" but she has a strong love for everyone that well... the theory of "USAGI MARRIES THEM ALL" could be humorously plausible. xD She most certainly would never think of that in a sexual sense though. I think she is too pure in her thoughts (and centric on Mamoru for making the moves) for that.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    2nd April 2016, 8:07 pm

Agreed. Usagi always just seemed to love to fawn over her friends. "LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL BUFF BABE, WATCH HER BENCH PRESS TWENTY MEN AND MAKE TASTY MUFFINS." "OH, MY PRECIOUS WATERY CHILD, MY GENIUS BFF." "MINAKO, MY HEART, LET ME BORROW YOUR CLOTHES WHILE WE TALK ABOUT BOYS AND HOW AWFUL OUR CATS ARE." "REI YOU BEAUTIFUL TROPICAL FISH (chibi *cough*) I HATE YOU BUT I LOVE YOU."

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    2nd April 2016, 8:42 pm

This reminds me of how Naoko drew that sensual drawing of Usagi and Minako. I do think that Mamoru is Usagi's one true love, but in many ways, Usagi is the personification of love herself. Her heart literally loves everyone, so it depends on how you see it. I like to think she loves a lot of people, maybe not in a sexual way, but love nonetheless.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    2nd April 2016, 8:47 pm

To me those images aren't meant to be taken as canon but Naoko liking to draw sexy females (in the Mixx version of hte manga they translate her notes and she mentions just wanting to draw a sexy heroine...) but I'm not disagreeing with what you are saying cause I think you are right on the money.

I think they do a good job of showing it in the original anime because not only does she show that love to her Senshi but she extends it to the villains as well and is able to redeem many of them because of that love.

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