Dr Sally McLaren
Systemic gender inequality continues to be a major issue that is impeding social and economic progress in contemporary Japan. In particular, the scarcity of women in politics at the national level highlights the extent to which gendered hierarchies and patriarchal norms are entrenched in Japanese society. An extreme outcome of this culture of gender inequality, discrimination and sexism is misogyny – the hatred of women. This paper will argue that the role of media and the gendered nature of the media industry itself are connected to the continued exclusion of women from power in Japanese politics, as well as the extremely problematic and unfair ways women politicians are represented in Japanese media. The paper will show how the structure and patterns of this `mediated misogyny’ work to marginalise, trivialise, and stereotype political women. Examples of mainstream Japanese media practices that normalise gender binaries and perpetuate the fear of women with political power will be analysed. The paper will conclude by considering the ramifications of mediated misogyny and the important cultural role the Japanese media plays in sustaining the exclusion of women from political power.
Dr Sally McLaren currently tutors in Asian Studies at UNSW Sydney. Her research takes an interdisciplinary approach, focusing on gender, media and power in Japan. She is co-editor of Keeping the Peace? Feminist Challenges to Militarism, Militarization and Colonialism in Micronesia, Okinawa and Japan (Rowman & Littlefield International , forthcoming).