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 The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon

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Addelyn
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    3rd April 2016, 6:29 am

Panromantic then? xD
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    3rd April 2016, 9:32 am

Love doesn't have to be romantic.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    3rd April 2016, 10:48 am

I"m aware of that, I was joking.
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    3rd April 2016, 1:52 pm

Ohhhh. Gotcha. My b. I missed it. 


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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    3rd April 2016, 2:57 pm

Did they ever come out and say weather or not haruka was either nonbinary but didn't care about pronouns or bigender? It's kinda hard to tell, considering haruka stated to usagi that gender wasn't important when it came to love-but then neptune said that she had the personalities of both genders.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    3rd April 2016, 3:00 pm

As far as I know in the anime or manga nothing has ever explicitly been stated which is kind of sad.
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    3rd April 2016, 3:55 pm

Well we do know one thing, she doesn't mind female pronouns regardless. You think we'll get any hints this upcoming season of sailor moon crystal?

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    3rd April 2016, 3:59 pm

Doubt it since it doesn't seem to deviate much from the manga, but who knows.
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    3rd April 2016, 5:26 pm

Also in the japanese language i think emphasis of pronouns sometimes works differently and can often be ambiguous.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    3rd April 2016, 5:30 pm

Does it? *honestly doesn't know*
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    3rd April 2016, 5:34 pm

Yeah, we had an ask on Seaofserenity about pronoun usage in the Myus and she explained sometimes it is ambiguous. I'm not so sure if that applies to day to day conversations though but it seems in media its done. I notice it in lyrics too.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    3rd April 2016, 5:37 pm

Where's a Japanese person when you need one to explain this? (or someone who knows a lot about the language!)
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    3rd April 2016, 8:33 pm

As far as I know they don't say "he" or "she" often because there are no words for it. Usually they say people's names or words that literally mean "that girl" like "kanojo" (which can also mean girlfriend so even that is ambiguous) or "that boy" which sounds kind of rude hence not used a lot xD So free of pronouns usually and then confuse translators about who they're even speaking about.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    4th April 2016, 12:45 am

I never knew that! So do you know which japanese pronoun that doesn't exist in english they used? That might solve the is haruka bigender or agender mystery!

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    4th April 2016, 10:09 am

I just want to say that rather than gender fluid, maybe Haruka is agender? Rather than being male or female and switching back and forth (gender fluid) this is someone who does not identify with any gender. That sounds most like Haruka to me.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    4th April 2016, 10:13 am

That is a good possibility as well Henshinyo. However, I don't think agender really has both masculine and feminine qualities which is something Neptune states that Uranus has, rather it's more of a lack of those.
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    4th April 2016, 10:38 am

I agree with Addelyn here.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    5th April 2016, 10:05 am

Sailor Moon has a place in the hearts of a LGBTQ fan following when it aired in the 1990s/early 2000s. Young LGBTQ fans turned to Sailor Moon for inspiration and the anime's themes like a lesbian couple (the original Japanese version) when it wasn't common to find same-sex couples on animation nor was it widely accessible to North American fans at the time.


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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    5th April 2016, 8:12 pm

This is turning out to be an interesting thread. Although everyone has a different opinion, I think it's great to see everyone present why they think a certain way.

I personally haven't sat down and thought intensely over the gender and the sexual orientation of Michiru/Neptune or Haruka/Uranus, which is why I find this thread to be interesting. Just as a preface, I'd like to say that I'm basing my opinions solely on the anime and its music. As Brit (Small Lady) has so eloquently written, I think that there are a lot of factors that have to be taken into consideration when talking about gender and sexuality in this series. For one, I wholeheartedly agree with Brit that context is very important when discussing this topic. I'd like to present my view of Michiru's/Neptune's and Haruka's/Uranus’ sexuality and gender (to a lesser extent) as someone that’s knowledgeable about LGBTQ culture in Japan. I'd also like to say that specifically focusing on the decades in which these characters were presented, the 90’s, is also important. Although I'm not Japanese, I've studied the language and culture for about 10 years now and I've lived in Japan as a gay male, albeit as a foreigner.

First, I'd like to say that there should be a differentiation between Michiru and her counterpart Neptune and between Haruka and Uranus. Neptune and Uranus, I believe, are their own individuals while the same could be said for Michiru and Haruka. The main reason why I say this is because as individuals Michiru/Neptune and Haruka/Uranus have/had different goals in life. The goal of Neptune and Uranus in the past was to protect the Silver Millenium from any outside intruders. In this life, the goal of Michiru was to be a violinist and Haruki’s was to become an F1 driver. At the same time though, one can say that Neptune and Michiru and Haruka and Uranus are interconnected. The reincarnation aspect makes it even more complicated. To my point though, it’s hard to define the sexual orientation of these two, both in their previous lives and their present lives, since we have no background to what their lives were like before meeting each other. Had the anime expanded a bit further on Michiru’s and Haruka’s past, especially when it came to past relationships (if they had any before they met each other), we could more concretely define their sexual orientation. All we can base our opinions on are their past/awakened selves. This obviously, adds another level of complexity to the equation. (Any physics majors in the forum that would like to talk about time? LOL)

Regarding being LGBTQ in Japan during the 90’s, I myself was born in ’92 so I personally can’t speak for the time but I’ve seen how Japan’s current attitudes to the Japanese LGBTQ community and concepts of gender and sexuality have developed just by seeing and reading various things throughout the years. The LGBTQ community, although more visible today in Japan, thanks to many things (a more accepting younger generation, globalization, the internet, etc.), was less visible in the 90’s. As far as I’m aware, Naoko hasn’t explicitly described Michiru and Haruka as lesbians. Which brings me to the point of labeling a person’s sexuality. Historically, the concepts of gender and sexuality in Japan have been more fluid and less defined than in the West. It wasn’t until the West “forced" their beliefs of gender and sexuality on the Japanese people that they began to label gender and sexuality in the way that Westerners do. Which brings me back to Naoko. If she were to have specifically labeled Michiru’s/Neptune’s and Haruka’s/Uranus’ relationship as lesbian, I honestly don’t know how a Japanese person in the 90’s would react. On the one hand, I think that the Japanese public wouldn’t have an issue with the label since ultimately we’re talking about fictional characters. On the other hand, since they are fictional characters some people might have asked themselves why Naoko would bring such a “real” topic into a fictional world when most people’s intention is to escape reality.

I honestly could go on about Japan and it’s LGBTQ community and their perception of gender and sexuality and how it relates to these two but I’d like to end by adding that I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that words like “fate” and “destiny” are used when talking about these two. Such words, like this couple, ultimately transcend labels, space, and time.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    5th April 2016, 10:38 pm

Wow, another really good and eloquent point. Thanks, Roro

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    6th April 2016, 5:49 am

When I talk about the girls sexuality, I'm talking about them in their modern incarnations, because as far as I know, Uranus and Neptune never met until the destruction of the Silver Millennium. I do agree with your point that Uranus/Neptune and Haruka/Michiru have different dreams and goals in life. However, I think that with their reincarnations and with all the girls really, those goals overlap and become interconnected, so it's really a balancing game. 

I think given the little context available in all the Sailor Moon media, speculating about someone's sexuality, and putting a label on it, can be very difficult. Ultimately, I don't think that Haruka or any of the girls can be put into one neat little box and defined as this sexuality over another. Reading everyone's responses, I can see that many of the girls do fit in multiple boxes. Sexuality and defining it, is hard to begin with as there is much overlap. While we all accept Haruka and Michiru for who they are, sometimes its just fun to speculate. 

Even in the 90s in North American, gay culture still really wasn't accepted, hence why they changed Haruka and Michiru to be cousins in the American Dub. However, I still believe that 90s Japan was much more accepting of the LGBTQ community than the west was at the time. For Japan its more of a quiet acceptance as in, don't make a spectacle of yourself and draw attention to yourself and we'll just pretend that what you are doing isn't happening.
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    6th April 2016, 10:45 am

I agree that it's hard to make an arugrment when we're just given these characters without much of a background. If only Naoko had incorporated this into her work then she'd probably answer a lot of questions. I also agree that defining gender and sexuality is hard to do and adding other factors like cultures further complicates this. 

I'm kind of conflicted on whether or not Japan was more "accepting" of gay culture. There's honeslty various ways to make the point that Japan was more accepting or less accepting than the West.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    26th April 2016, 1:47 pm

Just gonna put this here.



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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    26th April 2016, 2:08 pm

I think she was talking about gender at birth, which we already know only girls can be senshi, so there's no question about that. Gender identity is a separate thing, but it's all up for interpretation.

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    11th May 2016, 2:15 pm

I don't  have the time or desire to read all these posts. I'll just say that Haruka could be genderfluid, but since she has a female body, she and Michiru are still a lesbian couple.
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    18th November 2016, 7:41 pm

I'm happy to see something like this here. LGBTQ+ things and such are very important to me. I myself have always seen Haruka as genderfluid. For example, when they raced and such, translations would always show he. Manga and anime alike. Which that could simply be to make it more of a mystery as to who Sailor Uranus is. But I always took it literally. They're going by he/him pronouns. Everyone knows them as 'hot racer dude Haruka'. They easily could've been like 'nah man use she/her pronouns' but they didn't. One of my favorite lines in Sailor Moon is the part where Michiru states that Haruka is both man and woman. Some people see it as strengths. I see it gender wise. Haruka bears a strong resemblance to my dear friend who goes by any pronouns. While not genderfluid, in my friend I see traits that are like Haruka. That probably makes me a bit biased towards this standing point. And you know, if Haruka's simply uses she/her pronouns that's still a win for the community! A healthy lesbian couple shown as heros! That's the kind of thing we need to see more of. I think it's important to discuss this and I'm glad to see it already happening!

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    10th January 2017, 8:18 pm

Interesting conversation!

A bit about Haruka: while I think she today could be considered genderfluid, bigender, or the like, I believe she was definitely intended to be seen as female, however as a masculine female. In interviews, Naoko likened this to Japanese takarazuka (as that was what Haruka and Michiru were originally based off of), but in western terms, I think Haruka could be seen as a butch lesbian or a tomboy. Butches, while not necessarily feminine, are still definitely female, and sometimes very adamant about this fact. Haruka obviously has more of a "gender doesn't matter" view of things (sometimes I wonder how much of that thought is in general, and how much is in reference to love...), so I think while she might not mind others seeing and identifying her as male (therefore, you could say she "goes by any pronouns," for example), she views herself as female. 

Also, in the original run of the manga, Haruka and Uranus' gender was ambiguous not only to Usagi & co., but to the reader as well (in reprints, her skirt is clearly so, but originally her cape hid her senshi outfit), which is likely the reason for her specifically vague (lol) gendering in places. I feel like Un Noveau Voyage did this as well (though I might be remembering wrong, or it could just be the subs I used), where Haruka's gender was kept vague at first, but once it was revealed, people (including Haruka) referred to her as a girl (as much as gender is specified, that is). Also worth noting: at least in the original anime, and I think in other forms as well, Haruka refers to herself using "boku" which is a traditionally male pronoun for "I", however, in the context of anime, is often used by tomboys as well.

One thing I was surprised nobody has pointed out is the Kappa Magazine interview in which Naoko explicitly refers to Haruka and Michiru's love as "a homosexual love, in this case between two girls." While this is a translation and I don't know the exact words used originally, I believe it is pretty clear from this that the two are both intended to be females in a relationship. 

In any case, it is interesting seeing different gender/sexuality headcanons and theories for all the senshi!

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    23rd January 2017, 7:21 pm

Wow this thread was actually better than I expected! I’ve been jaded by years of attending Sailor Moon panels at anime cons during the early-mid 2000s. They would inevitably bring up this topic only to start a long gripe-fest about how Zoisite was cast as a woman by DiC and how Haruka & Michiru were originally localized here as cousins. There was no real discussion. It was exhausting. So this thread is really refreshing to say the least!!

A lot has been said already about HaruMichi but I really appreciated these articles on how their relationship was viewed in Japan and Haruka’s gender that I recently read by Tuxedo Unmasked.

In that Uranus’ strength panel (Act 32 p16 of the Shinsouban), I wonder if there's any nuance to the original word used for strength that might shine any further light on the matter? I’ve posed the question to Miss Dream via Twitter so we’ll see what she says Wink.

I love this semi-joke that Michiru is strictly Haruka-sexual XD. Michiru flirts with Mamo  and again with Seiya in Stars (anime) - but flirting as a social skill like the way she uses it really doesn't tell us much about her sexuality. Especially since I don't think there were any opportunities for her to flirt with homosexual girls in the same way. (My line of thinking is that if she were NOT homosexual but strictly Haruka-sexual, perhaps she wouldn't be able to or wouldn't think to flirt with girls that may desire her other than Haruka - whether for intel/strategic purposes or not.)

Btw, I only remember the kiss that Haruka gives Usagi *in Usagi's dream*. Was there another one?

As for the inners, I’ve always seen all four of them as definitely female in gender presentation (even Ami) and also definitely heterosexual (even Rei). As for their sexuality though, I agree with Addy when it comes to manga-Rei that her age is a factor in her thoughts about men. To be more precise, I think Rei's experience with her absent father and the Casablanca Memories story is more influential on her than her age per se. Just that her age makes those things difficult to process at the moment. Even by the end of Stars, she's only 16! Still very young! She will go through a lot of other experiences post-Stars and into Crystal Tokyo time that will help her to solidify “what to do with men” and resolve those early experiences.

I have a question now! Since Naoko went and made the Shitennou x Senshi thing super blatant in Crystal (and therefore basically manga-canon), should we assume that Mars’ Earth-reincarnation is bound to have the same sexual preference as she did in the Silver Millennium?

I’ve seen fans use this part in Act 52 (p32) to argue that Rei and Minako have become or are becoming homosexual. I don't think that this interpretation is correct. I think it's more that they have grown to recognize their independence and that their Princess is more important to their life purpose than finding a mate. That doesn't mean that they're suddenly unattracted to men.

In fact, people’s sexuality typically doesn't change after puberty, barring extreme events such as rape. (So says Dr. Drew Pinsky anyways - a celebrity psychologist but still legit given his experience imo.) Since they all present as heterosexual, they likely will remain that way even after many years of devoting themselves to their Princess.

Wow OK, I was actually intending to look into another character but instead I just added my two cents to the ones already mentioned ^^;;. Hopefully it made some sense at least XD.

We have yet to cover:

  • Zoisite and Kunzite (anime)
  • Fisheye (anime)
  • Sailor Star Fighter
  • Any characters in the musicals? Sorry I’m not very familiar with them ^^;;

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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    23rd January 2017, 9:35 pm

@Diagnosed wrote:

As for the inners, I’ve always seen all four of them as definitely female in gender presentation (even Ami) and also definitely heterosexual (even Rei). As for their sexuality though, I agree with Addy when it comes to manga-Rei that her age is a factor in her thoughts about men. To be more precise, I think Rei's experience with her absent father and the Casablanca Memories story is more influential on her than her age per se. Just that her age makes those things difficult to process at the moment. Even by the end of Stars, she's only 16! Still very young! She will go through a lot of other experiences post-Stars and into Crystal Tokyo time that will help her to solidify “what to do with men” and resolve those early experiences.

I have a question now! Since Naoko went and made the Shitennou x Senshi thing super blatant in Crystal (and therefore basically manga-canon), should we assume that Mars’ Earth-reincarnation is bound to have the same sexual preference as she did in the Silver Millennium?

I’ve seen fans use this part in Act 52 (p32) to argue that Rei and Minako have become or are becoming homosexual. I don't think that this interpretation is correct. I think it's more that they have grown to recognize their independence and that their Princess is more important to their life purpose than finding a mate. That doesn't mean that they're suddenly unattractive to men.

In fact, people’s sexuality typically doesn't change after puberty, barring extreme events such as rape. (So says Dr. Drew Pinsky anyways - a celebrity psychologist but still legit given his experience imo.) Since they all present as heterosexual, they likely will remain that way even after many years of devoting themselves to their Princess.

Actually, it's not strange for many people in middle/high school ages to either not realize their own sexuality, or be so unconsciously pressured by society and expectations around them that they may present as heterosexual. Sexuality is much more fluid than people think at first, and there's plenty of examples of people who only realize they're gay/bi/pansexual when they have the chance to really think about it or explore themselves. I've personally only thought about my sexuality after high school ended, and I identify as Bi.

It seems too easy to pigeonhole someone as straight canonically with the little evidence we're given to work with, combined with the time period that Sailor Moon was originally published in. Rei may not "hate" men later in life, but that doesn't mean she'll suddenly be attracted to them. She could be asexual, or even decide she is fine with men or women. 

And as for the Silver Millennium, it seems like an okay assumption to me to say that the senshi do not have to fall in line with their past incarnations in terms of preference. They are different people with different experiences now, and even if SenshiXShitennou is canon in the past, that does not make them undeniably straight.
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PostSubject: Re: The Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Sailor Moon    23rd January 2017, 11:46 pm

@Diagnosed wrote:
(My line of thinking is that if she were NOT homosexual but strictly Haruka-sexual, perhaps she wouldn't be able to or wouldn't think to flirt with girls that may desire her other than Haruka - whether for intel/strategic purposes or not.)

I kind of don't agree, you can still flirt with someone even when you're not attracted to them. It's not dependent on your feelings towards them. Especially if it's to gain intel - it's a strategy often employed by characters not just Michiru. And Michiru is a very calculating character despite what she may appear to be. I don't know about the manga because I find Haruka and Michiru's characterization in the manga weak and a bit all over the place, but she definitely flirted with Seiya in the anime as an info-gathering technique and/or just to mess with her (and Haruka), as Michiru is wont to do.

@Diagnosed wrote:
Btw, I only remember the kiss that Haruka gives Usagi *in Usagi's dream*. Was there another one?

Yes, here. It was also in Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3 episode 3.

@Diagnosed wrote:
As for the inners, I’ve always seen all four of them as definitely female in gender presentation (even Ami) and also definitely heterosexual (even Rei). As for their sexuality though, I agree with Addy when it comes to manga-Rei that her age is a factor in her thoughts about men. To be more precise, I think Rei's experience with her absent father and the Casablanca Memories story is more influential on her than her age per se. Just that her age makes those things difficult to process at the moment. Even by the end of Stars, she's only 16! Still very young! She will go through a lot of other experiences post-Stars and into Crystal Tokyo time that will help her to solidify “what to do with men” and resolve those early experiences.

That may be, but I find it difficult to imagine manga Rei ever truly be interested in men no matter what age she is. Just because she's young doesn't necessarily mean she will change her mind about it later. That's just my take on it, though.

@Diagnosed wrote:
I have a question now! Since Naoko went and made the Shitennou x Senshi thing super blatant in Crystal (and therefore basically manga-canon), should we assume that Mars’ Earth-reincarnation is bound to have the same sexual preference as she did in the Silver Millennium?

First, we should not consider Naoko to have that much of an influence on SMC, because we don't know that for sure. We know she picked the voice actors, but I don't believe she has much influence on the storyline itself. So I kind of doubt it was her doing, especially given how sloppy it was done. I don't really consider SMC strictly canon since it contradicts itself in many ways (i.e. Rei claiming she doesn't trust men but suddenly being in love with Jadeite??)

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