In Japan, a grope-free ride. Female commuters get a break from men's feelings.
July 4, 2001 3:54 AM   Subscribe

In Japan, a grope-free ride. Female commuters get a break from men's feelings. With the massive Japan Railways system now taking its first tentative step toward women-only cars, many anticipate segregation of the sexes could become widespread.
posted by matteo (19 comments total)
Aragato! there must be some problem if they must resort to these means. What about transvestites? What are we to do?
posted by Postroad at 5:47 AM on July 4, 2001

I blame Sailor Moon.
posted by dong_resin at 5:49 AM on July 4, 2001

No groping possible? No thanks, in that case, I'll take the SUV to work.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:01 AM on July 4, 2001

"...some Japanese men lack the necessary social skills to relate to women. "

Oh, I'm sure doing this will now give them the necessary social skills, thus ensuring the future of the Japanese people.
posted by benjh at 7:32 AM on July 4, 2001

With any luck, the international attention will shame them into developing the necessary social skills.
posted by frykitty at 7:35 AM on July 4, 2001

hopefully we can get male and female roads from this - of course the male roads will always be clear and free from skidmarks and the female roads will have big blow up crash barriers for the car to bounce off of going all the way down the side :-D
posted by monkeyJuice at 8:07 AM on July 4, 2001

I lived in Tokyo for 6 months back in 1988. I was routinely amazed and disgusted by the pre-adolescent attitudes of Japanese salarymen towards women. Some of the more egregious examples included:

My wife (7 months pregnant at the time) was groped on the subway in Tokyo while on the way to Disneyland.

Some of the men in my office played a computer game called "Lolita" that involved chasing down 12-year old schoolgirls and raping them.

Several of my married cow-orkers openly boasted of the number of mistresses they maintained. When I questioned them about how their wives felt about this the response was, "She has the house, the children, and all of the money she wants. Why should she care?"

Apparently, Japanese wives *did* care, because if you watched the TV soap operas, a recurring theme involved betrayed spouses exacting horrible, painful revenge upon their cheating husbands.
posted by MrBaliHai at 8:08 AM on July 4, 2001

"With any luck, the international attention will shame them into developing the necessary social skills."

bravo. shame. the great motivator.
posted by clavdivs at 8:22 AM on July 4, 2001

Hmm. The darker side of Japan. I wonder how long this has been going on. Since the occupation and installment of a post imperial gov't? Or does it have its roots farther back?
Either way it is pretty immature behavior. Something maybe expected in Jr High.
If I was a woman over there I would get a stun device and give back a little. HEHEHE
That would cut down on it I think. Indiscriminate stunning of everyone around you. Innocent men would be more likely to protect women from scumbags as they would not want to get zapped.

This from the same country that claims to be so angry about women being raped. Or maybe women being raped by someone other than them.
posted by a3matrix at 8:30 AM on July 4, 2001

"bravo. shame. the great motivator."

Well, it's either that or a chart with gold stars for good behaviour and red for randy. And an exceptionally good move will involve a large yellow smiley face that one can wear on one's forehead, showing everyone else how successful one has progressed.
posted by keli at 10:18 AM on July 4, 2001

I blame Sailor Moon.
Actually, the opposite is true. Female characters in Manga are the effect, not the cause, of the Japanese obsession with adolescent, even prepubescent girls.
Very young girls's used panties are wildly popular objects of affection for Japanese men, who are ready to pay large amounts of money for them (it's probably better not to think about what they actually do with those panties).
Is it a nation of rapists and child-abusers? Of course not. But the Japanese have definitely a pretty creepy ideal of female beauty.
In the West we also worship youth, but the Japanese are definitely more extreme.
posted by matteo at 10:59 AM on July 4, 2001

I don't think the US is that far removed from the locker-room workplace. Just like old photographs or movies show us the shocking vision of widespread unconcerned tobacco smoking, a lot of American men used to be pretty sexist when it came to women in the workplace. Cultural marker points are films like 9 to 5, where demeaning lech Dabney Coleman was strung up on a pulley, or Night Court's Dan Fielding character. These wouldn't have been funny if we didn't know people who were a little bit like that, even if they had already learned to mostly keep it under wraps. It wasn't that long ago that Western bars featured a video game called Custer's Last Stand that featured cowboys raping Native American women.

Stories about Japanese youth tell of how young men and young women alike, having access to pornography, casually view videos with rape, torture and pedophilic themes that are largely taboo in America; but then again, American teens are said to be resorting to oral sex parties where the girls service the boys, and any afternoon of MTV's summer beach programming is replete with images of young women shaking their booty, showing off their headlights, and cavorting as sex objects, while the men play spectator and wear unrevealing gangster shorts.
posted by dhartung at 12:34 PM on July 4, 2001

I've heard a couple recent stories of female friends going to Italy and Mexico and experiencing the same treatment on buses and subways, so I doubt it's just a Japanese thing.
posted by mathowie at 12:47 PM on July 4, 2001

a lot of American men used to be pretty sexist when it came to women in the workplace

The key phrase here is "used to be". The average Japanese male is currently stuck at a level of development equivalent to the US in the 1950s. Although I've no doubt that some American men still possess these attitudes, they're at least not culturally acceptable nowadays.
posted by MrBaliHai at 1:01 PM on July 4, 2001

and i still get groped walking around the streets in north america. perhaps not as far out in the open, or as often. but i still get fondled by men i don't know. so what's the difference?
oh... because it's not /as bad/ here, it's obviously fine? i don't buy that.
posted by raedyn at 1:54 PM on July 4, 2001

Oral sex parties?!?!

All we had in school was the A/V club, and although it sucked, it sucked in a completely different (not good) way.
posted by mathowie at 11:49 PM on July 4, 2001

as many as a dozen girls and two or three boys had been engaging in oral sex through most of the school year

And frankly it was distracting the other students.

Mrs Simpkins dropped her chalk she was so surprised.
posted by Grangousier at 12:38 AM on July 5, 2001

That sparks some very strange, long dormant memories for me of a during-university female friend of mine who had, shall we say, an adventurous time of it in high school in the late 70's coupled with a tendency to spin tales of her wild days when in her cups, and who always described oral sex as 'like a handshake', as opposed to full-on intercourse.

I also remember wondering why the hell I hadn't known girls like her when I was actually in high school.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:48 AM on July 5, 2001

Some youths have even seen oral sex as a way to make money. At Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston last year, a seventh-grader whom school officials described as "very bright" attempted to arrange oral sex dates between classmates for money

Ahh, yes. That entrepreneurial spirit is alive in well in the youth of America. Long live capitalism.
posted by fooljay at 4:47 PM on July 5, 2001

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