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Posts Tagged ‘masculinized women

I’m proud to be the first on the internet to introduce the  emerging trend of new type of guys, the girly guys. Otomen (オトメン/乙男) is a pun made of the Japanese word otome (乙女), meaning “young lady” or “mistress”, and the English word “men”. Like the Soshokukei Danshi (Grass-eating boys), the description of Otomen is really very close to what you would imagine to be gay. Otomen is type of guys who like cute sweet things traditionally thought to be girls’ taste. Pastel colors, flowers, sweets, chocolates and cakes, teddy bears and bunny rabbits, to cooking, sewing, and all the lovely things. However, they are straight in their sexual preference. Otomen is a straight man with feminine taste and sensitive mind.

Originally, the word Otomen was first popularized by a comic book Otomen. It became such a hit that they even made a TV show on the life of Otomen, Asuka Masamune. Here goes the story: Asuka is a badass. He is a tough, cool, 2nd year high school guy who is also a master at kendo. He exudes an aura of manliness that is difficult to deny. .. at least that’s what everyone thinks.  But for Asuka, life is torture, because he can never show the REAL Asuka to the world. While he is phenomenal at kendo, and looks very cool, Asuka’s manly lifestyle is a lie to hide his real self. He actually prefers much more girly things: knitting, cooking, sewing, staffed animals, shoujo manga (girls romance comic), plushies, cute things – he loves them all. When he was a child, this worried his mother very much, as Asuka’s father abandoned the family after declaring he wanted to be a woman. The shock made his mother so ill that Asuka swore to become a more manly man… or at least act like one. So he falls in love, with his classmate, a manly girl who is tough and strong. The rest is a romantic comedy of the couple struggling to get along with gender roles and expectation and with the approval of their classmates and family. (see more on Otomen official page)

However, the trend of otomen did not stop with comic books and TV drama. Well, it actually started from the real phenomenon of guys who are becoming more and more girly in their tastes, hobbies, and action. And since the word Otomen became popularized by the media, it seems the trend of girly men are spreading out the media into the society.

As women are becoming stronger and tougher, men are going the other way around, becoming weaker and softer. With the emergency of strong women to lead the men, men no longer need to lead the society. They can relax and enjoy their life, decorating their apartment, indulging tasty sweets and herbal tea, reading books and day dreaming. The emergence of Otomen is actually welcomed by most women, according to a study conducted by Ozmall. 75% of respondents approved Otomen and would consider Otomen as their potential life partner, mostly because of their expectation for Otomen to support them with their femine side – to take on the traditional female role of cooking, cleaning, and laundry. And they expect to enjoy spend time together with men who can share feminine taste.

What about you? How do you like see your boyfriend wearing a pink sweet PJ cuddling a fluffy teddy bear?

OZmall, a Web-based magazine for women in the 20’s conducted a survey on Tokyo’s working women on the level of their manliness in love life. “Have you felt your manliness you’re your love life? If so, when and how?” 42% of the respondents answered “Yes” and provided some insights in their growing masculinity in love life.

When do you feel that you are becoming masculinized?

  • “I no longer play hard to get”
  • “I don’t sleep in his arms, he sleeps in my arms
  • “I can’t be bothered to send sms to guys”
  • “I no longer feel shame”
  • “I prioritize work to celebrating our anniversary or birthdays”
  • “He says he’s lonely because I’m too busy
  • “When we got in a fight, I confronted him and he started crying
  • “My bf wanted to have a Romantic Christmas together, so I planned the whole day – the restaurant, romantic bar, present, and romantic suite in hotel. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”
  • “I ask the guy for number and plan for next date.”
  • “I ask the guys to come home with me
  • “I get frustrated when he can’t decide what to do on our date so I plan for our date. When we go for drive, I print out the map and driving route. I would even chain the tires”
  • “We started dating because I jumped on him
  • “When I spot a cute guy in town, I go up and talk to him”

What are the strategy to approach… or hunt the guys you like?

  • “I invite him out to something that he’s interested in, be it a movie, auto-show, or museum, and when we are alone, I tell him my worries so he gets the idea that he’s someone special for me”
  • “I know I look pretty and outgoing. So I show him my other side – that I can cook” “it depends, but the final blow is definitely… my body”
  • “I make him think that I can’t do anything without him… but I can
  • “My sms are very sweet and cute, contrary to my cool personality”
  • “Pretend to be naïve and virgin. ‘never had a bf!’ I tell the guys to excite them”

Research summary

40% of respondents reported they feel their manliness in their behavior in love life. Manly women actively approach the men of their interest and make him theirs. The research shows 2 types of manly-woman: 1) she has decision making power in the relationship and plans out what to do on dates and hold him in her arms 2) successful career and busy worklife, she concentrates on her life than love life, leaving him lonely. Either way, they are leading their life and relationship with their manliness but on the other hand, what this trend really shows is how men in Tokyo is becoming weaker. The most common strategy to “hunt him” was 1) find out his interest and ask him out on a date, and 2) sleep with him and make him your bf. At times their aggressiveness may scare the men, but may worths it to masculinize yourself a bit to do well in Konkatsu – Ozmall

Masculinization as an insult

I guess ‘masculinize’ is the word the media likes, but can these women be really described with ‘masculinity’? I wonder, if “masculinization of women” is just a necessary move towards gender equality in Japanese society, for women to have more decision making power, in her life, career, and love. Even though Tokyo is quite modern city, this is a society where the traditions and conservative values still exist. Although women are increasingly becoming independent and successful, there is still social pressure on women to be feminine, ultimately get married and have children. At the moment, we haven’t reached real gender equality, real sense of liberation from traditional gender roles yet. But women are in fact, becoming more and more independent, financially stronger, and successful in career. Hence the criticism of  such power women as “masculinized.” ‘Masculinization’ .,.. such an insult! No women in the world wants to be described ‘masculine’ I think this term is not just a joke, it’s actually a criticism of increasing power and independence of women by the Japanese society, mainly lead by weak timid men.

The New buzz word: masuclinized women and girly men

It’s been a bout a year since I first wrote News alart! Increasing population of ‘grass-eating boys’!? Since then, the concept of ‘Soshokukei Danshi’ (grass-eating boys) and Nikushokukei Joshi (meet-eating girls) have spread around Japanese society, in the media, on graphic t-shirts, and all over magazines and daily conversations, the trend for identifying whether one is herbivory or carnivorous has died down.

Now, the new concept for 2010 is Osu-ka: masculinization of women and Joshi-ka: feminization of men.  As the populationg of ‘grass-eating boys’ increases, and as women need to become carnivorous and aggressive, women are increasingly becoming masculinized, explains the media. On the other hand, the ever-so peaceful and timid grass-eating boys enjoy staying at home and decorating their apartment and practice cooking and banking, they are increasingly becoming girly. This gender switch is not only seen in personal life style, but also in the work life and career plans.

As women are increasingly entering the workforce, and gain success in the field of banking, law, consulting, and medicine climbing, the ladder of success, rather than getting married and having kids, women leading life style of traditional single bachelor – or “salary man.” With so much work and responsibility at the office, women these days do not cook at home, they would spend their nights in a pub drinking beer with their female friends or eating delivery pizza, drinking a canned beer in front of TV…. Women are becoming masculinized! (and I’m the first person to report this in English!)

Ramen-noodle, alcohol and house wife

According to an article on “masculinization of Tokyo women” published by Jcast News in December 2009,  60% of working women in the 20’s – 30’s feel they have become masculinized. “I drink alcohol at home alone, don’t mind going for quick dinner at ramen noodle shop alone,  my priority is work before going on dates!” To my horror, 1 in 10 of these women have discovered their facial hair has darkened/increased since the entrance in the workforce.  Hormone imbalance caused by stress is, in deed, masculinizaing working women’s body.

When do you feel ‘masculinized’? – When I sneeze like a middle aged man, When I say ‘That’s why I don’t wanna work with women,’ When I think ‘I want a wife to take care of me,’ I don’t consider myself office lady, I’m a businessman… they say. It also seems ramen and alcohol, for these women are just as basic necessity as they are for Japanese bachelors. Masculinized women have less interest in men and more for ‘wife’: 27% of respondents prioritize work to dating and 1 in 3 respondents identified their wish to have a housewife to take care of her.

How far are we masculinized?

But the masculinization is not just for a laughing a matter. The hormone imbalance caused by stress is actually causing physical masuclinization for some women. It appears 10% of working women aged 25 – 35 are suffering from increased facial hair, especially beard. Even more widely experienced is menstrual disorder and irregular periods. Working women are having more and more physical problems such as backaches and mesntrual disorder, sleeping problems and eating disorder. How to feminize your body to avoid these problems?

A doctor from womens’ clinic says “Get involved in feminine activities. Take flower arrangement classes, bake some cake, dress yourself up, go on dates, cook at home, and feel feminine to stimulate female hormone.” However, despite such severe effects of masculinization, it seems the word “osu-ka” and “joshi-ka” are going to be hot-words of the year.


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From the Western perspective, what goes on in the Japanese dating scene is really different and interesting! In this shy nation of Japan, meeting new people is almost institutionalized, dating and romance is littered with conventions that protect people from social awkwardness. What are dating conventions and rules in Japan? How do the shy Japanese people meet new people, develop affection, and express their passion? As I research and answer these question, I will write a real time report of what's going on in the Tokyo dating scene, or the "Tokyo Meet Market" here in this blog. I hope you enjoy my blog and a trip around Tokyo Meet Market with me!

Cherie’s tweets

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