Never-Ending Gender/Sexual Cannibalism? Transformation of Female Idolisation in Japan
Inspired by an innovative class named “The (underground) Idol as a Transcendent Existence,” this paper concentrates on the psychological and economic relationship between young female human idols, the aidoru, and their devoted male fans, the idol otaku. The first section of the paper uncovers the exploitation of female human idols by their male fans. While the concept of “idol as image” imposed by idol producers fosters the fetishisation and objectification of female human bodies, the consuming act exhibited by the male gaze indicates a metaphorical form of gender/sexual cannibalism. The second part of the paper focuses on the impact of the birth of digital female idols on the issue of female exploitation. With the development of computer and artificial intelligence technologies, female virtual idols have been replacing female human idols, as they offer more space and freedom of manipulation. With computer technologies, each idol otaku can construct a more intimate relationship than is possible with female human idols through designing feminine characteristics of female virtual idols according to his personal needs and fantasies. However, from a feminist perspective, this transformation of female idolisation or more specifically, the digitalisation of female human bodies, could ultimately lead toward a world of feminist dystopia due to the further manipulation of female selves and bodies by their male producers and consumers.
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