Project Assistant Professor Hannah DAHLBERG-DODD Publishes Paper in East Asian Journal of Popular Culture
Project Assistant Professor Hannah DAHLBERG-DODD's paper "Commodifying adolescence for performance and profit: Language and gender in Japanese idol music" has been published in East Asian Journal of Popular Culture.
Japanese pop idols occupy an ambiguous position in the broader popular music landscape, straddling a line between fiction and non-fiction, simultaneously characterological yet physically instantiated. As idealized representations of the girl or boy next door, idols serve as both ‘image characters’ who can be used to sell a variety of products, as well as ‘quasi companions’ meant to provide fans with a manufactured sense of intimacy. Using a joint quantitative and qualitative approach, this article analyses the lyrics of female idol groups. Specifically, I demonstrate how the combination of first- and second-person pronouns and sentence-final expressions are utilized to construct both female-coded and male-coded gendered personae, revealing that idol lyrics engage in the process of cross-gender performance. As a result, through their performance of these personae, female idol groups explicitly reinforce a binary imagination of normative gender expressions, allowing such idol groups to capitalize on idealized heterosexual adolescence through affective resonance and nostalgia.
Read the paper (subscription in need) here.