What do you think of this? Female idol forced to shave head for having boyfriend

(40 Posts)
BadLad Wed 06-Feb-13 09:38:23

A quick search for Minegeshi revealed no results on here.

Here is the news article.

www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/music/debate-flares-over-japan-girl-band/story-e6frexl9-1226571220092

The synopsis is that a member of a phenomenally popular Japanese girl-band broke their no-dating rule, and was seen leaving a man's apartment. The no-dating rule is to preserve their image of availability to male fans.

As punishment - supposedly her own idea but I think you would be very naive to think management haven't pressured her to do it - she has shaved her head. She has also been demoted from the frontline band members

Discussing it with female acquaintances here, absolutely none of them seem bothered. When I said how shocking I found it, particularly the pressure on her to shave off her hair, it was implied that I just didn't understand Japanese culture. I have told them I thought women in my country would be outraged. Then it occurred to me that I could ask some women on here.

Any thoughts? What would you say to women who thought there was nothing too bad about it?

To their credit, some of the Japanese fans of both sexes have expressed outrage.

SigmundFraude Wed 06-Feb-13 11:07:13

It may well have been her own idea, who knows. If a woman thought there was nothing too bad about it, why do you leave the outrage to the ones that do? I'm sure there's plenty of them.

I think their video is more shocking than the hair debacle, personally.

SigmundFraude Wed 06-Feb-13 11:07:39

*why don't you, not why do you

AbigailAdams Wed 06-Feb-13 11:33:40

Oh blimey. There is so much wrong with that I don't know where to start.

The whole "availability" for male fans thing is just creepy. What are they sex toys, wank toys. Just yeuch. They are human beings with feelings ffs.

And following on from that the non-dating is just creepy.

The "punishment" is really humiliating. It doesn't matter whether it was her idea or not - pressure came from society if not directly from her management team. It doesn't matter wither it is Japanese culture. Just because it is cultural does not make it right. The fact that it is seen as OK to punish an adult woman for not breaking any laws is pretty bloody sinister too. Policing women's behaviour. In fact she got two punishments - being demoted and shaving her head.

No "punishment" for the male dancer I notice.

The video she made looks really upsetting.

And that other video Sigmund linked to explains a lot.

All in all it really shows how little power women in the entertinment industry have, especially in Japan.

ouryve Wed 06-Feb-13 11:37:58

Hell, that video's like Hentai with real people. It's rather vile.

msrisotto Wed 06-Feb-13 11:38:34

Wow. It just makes me feel really sad. The poor woman. Why should she be humiliated for having a relationship? I mean come on! This is the 21st century.

msrisotto Wed 06-Feb-13 11:39:23

And the Japanese culture of having weird women-sex doll creatures is very disturbing.

BadLad Wed 06-Feb-13 12:57:05

If a woman thought there was nothing too bad about it, why do you leave the outrage to the ones that do?

I was merely expressing my opinion in a discussion of the matter with them.

But anyway, I do find it annoying here that women put up with the sexism that is rampant here. Like when my wife, who can't have children, was asked by a male colleague "No kids yet? Shall I show you how it's done?".

Or the fact that my male colleagues come in and slump at their desks, while the female ones clean up, serve tea and generally spruce the place up for an hour. They even wash the desks of the male colleagues (who lean back in their chairs for a minute while that happens). Not mine, though.

But that is another story - still want opinions on this incident.

Here is the girl apologising for her "misconduct"

www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnvV7GuhGP0

SigmundFraude Wed 06-Feb-13 14:22:56

Well, as it states in the article that shaving your head is a traditional thing to show penitence in Japan, then yes, that is a cultural thing. I personally find it strange, videoing her distressed apology seems unnecessary. It has been stated their 'innocence' (or the need for them to appear innocent) is their selling point, so she's probably panicking that the fans will lose interest and the whole thing will crash down around them. It's not unheard of, the whole 'Britney Spears the Virgin' had huge marketing value for her. Such is the price of fame for some.

Is it right? No. Am I outraged? Not especially.

TeiTetua Wed 06-Feb-13 14:43:19

I think when anyone in the entertainment business does some crazy thing, we should always consider whether it's being done to enhance their image in some way, and is therefore about (ultimately) making more money. Performers perform. They may be pushed along by their managers, but they're doing it voluntarily.

Of course, we can also consider what kind of performance and image is desired by that particular audience. And what they like in Japan can seem very strange to western eyes. We would say, not exactly a feminist paradise there.

Karin1212 Wed 06-Feb-13 18:38:33

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Karin1212 Wed 06-Feb-13 18:44:05

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PretzelTime Wed 06-Feb-13 19:40:14

A reputation for being safe for women? You mean Japan, that one country where they have made separate train cars for women because there is such a giant problem with men groping girls and women?

AbigailAdams Wed 06-Feb-13 19:45:35

Just because it is their "culture" to humiliate women doesn't make it right. This woman was obviously highly upset and ashamed for not actually doing anything wrong. Just what her management team perceived as wrong.

And Japan is hugely misogynistic.

Karin1212 Wed 06-Feb-13 20:27:43

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Karin1212 Wed 06-Feb-13 20:30:23

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PretzelTime Wed 06-Feb-13 20:38:09

Are you trying to defend Japanese culture from being called misogynist? Everyone knows it is.

Karin1212 Wed 06-Feb-13 20:41:50

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BadLad Wed 06-Feb-13 20:47:42

The sex and human trafficking industry is massive here. Every town has a load of "massage parlours".

And while attacks on strangers are uncommon here compared to the west, domestic violence certainly isn't.

Kiriwawa Wed 06-Feb-13 20:49:33

Karin - do you really think actual rape rates have anything to do with reported stats?

AbigailAdams Wed 06-Feb-13 20:54:01

Why are you defending this Karin? This is a horrible incident that wouldn't have happened if it were a man. In fact the man involved didn't get publicly humiliated and punished despite him undoubtedly knowing what 'the rules' were.

TeiTetua Wed 06-Feb-13 21:07:36

Was the man part of the band, and therefore possibly subject to their discipline, or an outsider whom they presumably didn't have any hold over?

One quote from the originally linked article was:

"Was it a witch hunt or a marketing strategy?'' asked Hideomi Tanaka, an economist and AKB fan. ''If the latter, I've had enough of such calculated actions. What we want to see is idols, not bullying.''

So, there are people in Japan saying that maybe it was all a put-up job done for publicity. Even if it wasn't voluntary by the woman involved, it might be part of showbiz.

Japan has a very orderly society, but there seem to be gaps in it, like the women being harassed on commuter trains. And they have what we'd call an incredible tolerance for violent pornography. With disdain for women kept under control in a kind of ritualized way, I wouldn't be surprised if the rate of domestic violence in Japan were very high. What has to be repressed outside the home might break loose inside it.

feministefatale Wed 06-Feb-13 21:07:47

The punishment is vile, but I actually think the no-dating or no getting caught dating thing, is pretty standard for boybands and girlbands..or has been in the past hasn't it?

I am trying to think of individual case, but I am sure some have even gotten married in the past in secret just to avoid ruining their image as available...

BadLad Wed 06-Feb-13 23:38:52

It's a very sad situation where a real, adult relationship is punishable in case it interferes with the unhealthy fantasies of the fans.

If she was a man I'm sure he would have done something equally humiliating. I think it's more a culture thing than a gender thing.

Do you have any examples of males being punished, either in this way or another, for dating?

But anyway, social change in Japan happens very very slowly, and IME the older generations here who grew up in the bubble times are far too set in their conservative ways to consider changing it any time soon. The best hope for change is the younger generation growing up and starting to question it.

So, there are people in Japan saying that maybe it was all a put-up job done for publicity. Even if it wasn't voluntary by the woman involved, it might be part of showbiz.

A woman being coerced into shaving her head for publicity purposes is as bad as a woman being coerced into doing so as punishment.

To answer your question, I don't think the man was part of the band. Certainly he wasn't a performer - it is a girl-band, after all.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Wed 06-Feb-13 23:44:29

Ugh, how horrible.

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