Musings: Sailor Moon, Feminism and Hangovers

patriarchyI kind of like being hungover. It simplifies things, reduces one’s priorities to a glass of water or a heavily focused food craving (today it was pasties). Goals are more attainable, satisfaction easier to reach. Silver linings.

I was half-conscious, gnawing on said pasty and scrolling through my news feed when a friend’s post told me it was International Sailor Moon Day. Ah! If I’d known I wouldn’t have been up until 4am – drinking, smoking and slopping cider all over my dress – and could be half-way into a Sailor Moon marathon by now. Alas, I’m in true Bridget form.

Fifteen years since the gateway anime came twirling into my life it retains its magic. I still buy sparkly pink keychains depicting the sailor scouts and my cat’s name is Luna. But I found that, in many ways, re-embarking on the journey as an adult was even better than the thrill of my initial awe.

I like to think that a subconscious yearning for diverse representation contributed to my religious following of the series as a child – then again, it was probs all the pink. Either way, it’s easy to see retrospectively that Sailor Moon makes an effort to provide a balanced playing field and promote girl power at the same time.

What I was aware of was that Serena wasn’t a Mary Sue. She had flaws, obvious ones that were performed and put on display. Watching her scoffing down biscuits struck me – aligned with something – gave me my first hint at the uniformity of my then limited and unarticulated stresses about being a girl. Now, 23 and aware, it’s heartening to find so much good stuff in Sailor Moon.

Firstly, the glitz. It’s genius, really. Great long-term feminist propaganda. As well as giving young girls wide eyes, the girlieness of Sailor Moon serves a purpose. Rather than straying from traditional portrayals of the feminine, it embraces them – shoves them in your face. Weaponized femininity reclaims the stereotypes associated with being female, asserting that expressions of femininity can go hand in hand with power.

On top of this, its characters are extremely diverse. Each sailor scout has her own identity, her own place (aside from being a sidekick to Serena and fighting evil by moonlight). Their varying interests and personalities are a constant reminder to young girls that there is no ‘right way’ for them to be, and to embrace each person’s differences. As well as being super amazing heroes, the girls are relatable and real.

If there was any doubt about these themes being deliberate, they should dissipate with the knowledge that in uncut episodes Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune are a lesbian couple, travelling around the universe helping young girls come to terms with their sexualities. Pretty cool, huh? Unfortunately, these episodes were altered in an attempt to make them ‘more palatable’ and never aired in Australia, causing massive criticism to what was considered a key aspect of the show.

Upon inspection, Sailor Moon is laden with feminist quotes and ideals. It feels like a call to arms, like everything has been placed carefully and deliberately to achieve a common goal. Of course it isn’t perfect, but what is? Feminism is diverse, and Sailor Moon goes out of its way to acknowledge and identify with women of varying backgrounds and sexualities. Realizing this made my day.

Moon Prism Power!

Featured Image: Blastr

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22 comments

  1. In the last few days, I’ve come across an influx of people realising child faves — Sailor Moon, Kim Possible, Buffy, even fecking Digimon — were actually feminist as. Pro girl power!

  2. This was a fascinating read, you certainly know how to distill, analyse the work. And also fascinating is that there is a day that they call International sailors moon day. Not only a day for sailor but sailor and the moon also has her place there. Seems to me we have names for each day of the year and for each month. ´
    I´m actually thinking of starting my own following or club and do “Charly´s month” . And it would be……well, all about me. I would actually ask people to insert in every finve sentences they speak or write during that month “love” and, yep, “Charly”. And the procedes would go for, me really. I was going to say for people with low self esteem but no. It´s my month. To me it sounds like a great idea, what do you think? And we can also make a month for your name too.
    Glad you stumbled upon my crazy little blog. Interesting things you have to say, and I´m pretty sure about that since you are a proud feminist. Those post´s should be interesting to read what your thoghts are about and how feminism plays a key role in modern western society.

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I’ve been enjoying reading your poetry. I would certainly embrace Kezia month! Not too sure what it would mean… Lots of wine for a start 😉

  3. Reblogged this on raigamahandiya and commented:
    අද උදේම කියවපු මේ බ්ලොග් සටහන මට ඔබත් සමග බෙදා ගැනීමට සිතුන තව දෙයක්.
    //I kind of like being hungover. It simplifies things, reduces one’s priorities to a glass of water or a heavily focused food craving (today it was pasties). Goals are more attainable, satisfaction easier to reach. Silver linings.//
    ජීවිතය සරල කර ගන්න, එනම් ලඟා වෙන්න හැකි ඉලක්ක ගැන පමණක් සිත යොමු කර ගන්න හැකි නම් කොතරම් හොඳද?

  4. This is a good analysis. I always related to Serena when I was young (and still do at 30). And I like how her flawed, chaotic, fun-loving, and melodramatic personality is juxtaposed with so much responsibility and heroism. It makes me feel like even if I’m flawed and still trying to figure out who I am, I can also be a hero (maybe more for myself and doing my part for the community, then saving the world though). Anyway, this is a delightful blog. I’m a huge feminist.

  5. I absolutely loved sailor moon as a kid. It was a shame that they’d censor Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus’ relationship with each other.Apparently in the 90s borderline incest was better than being lesbian -_-. Have you checked out Sailor Moon Crystal? It follows the manga more closely, it’s amazing, even though the third season (far) is waaaay better than the first two. I don’t think it’s been dubbed yet, and I know that Uranus and Neptune’s relationship will be kept in its full beautiful glory.

    1. I’ve seen the first season of Crystal. A friend of mine said something similar about the later seasons being a lot better, so I’ll definitely make sure to watch them! It’ll be great to see Sailor Moon with the inclusiveness it was always intended to have 🙂

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