2020 has seen movements in regards to social causes making some incremental strides in Japan. There have been a growing number of voices raised from minority communities to fight against discrimination, particularly in the LGBTQ community.

Japanese celebrity Ryuchellu, who debuted in 2015 and refers to himself as “genderless man” was a guest on an episode of “Sunday Japon” (TBS), a Japanese TV panel show. The episode aired on November 29th, 2020.

From his debut in 2015 to this day in 2020, Ryuchellu continues to pursue his passion for fashion and makeup, particularly what is called drag-queen style and cabaret club style makeup in Japan, while not being concerned for stereotypical views of men’s looks.

Ryuchellu is also a father of one. One the show, when asked about toys for his child, he shared opinion saying: “Kid’s toys need no gender”, and also made a remarkable comment regarding this topic as below.

“You know, ever since I’ve had my son, I’ve started to pay more attention to TV commercials for kid’s toys. But then, it made me think like, “Hey, why is it always a girl playing with a doll, and a boy in commercials for combat styled toys?

Then, I’ve come to realize that even in kid’s shows like Power Rangers, the Pink ranger always represents a female character.

I think this way of presenting gender stereotypically is pressuring children subconsciously into thinking more restrictively. Like when it comes to gender, it is leading them to think it's “weird” if others are behaving anything but stereotypical ways. And these children eventually grow up to be adults, and create society like today’s-with discrimination and reservation.

This prearranged subconscious value and the “norm” is engraved into people’s minds by small things like TV commercials or cosmetic ads, which with no doubt, also is a female dominant industry.

I don’t see why we have to stick to the norm that the media and society created for us. I think, especially for kid’s toys, it is rather important to be genderless or even age-less, for that matter.”

Ryuchellu made a strong case against genderized imagery in the toy industry and kid’s commercials.

The MC of the show, Hikaru Oota also agreed with Ryuchellu in this regards. He also shared his memories from his own childhood pertaining to the matter:

“I must admit, I felt jealous about “Hina Matsuri” (Girl’s festival day in Japan), I really liked dolls.

Boys only have “Koi Nobori” (A rising Koi fish decoration for Children’s day). But I always wanted the hina matsuri dolls girls had. I envied that as a kid.”

Hina Matsuri is a festival to wish girls a good health and growth, and MC Oota revealed his tender childhood memory of being jealous of girls for it. Perhaps, it is also that he never had sisters either, so his family never had Hina Dolls in the household.

Viewers were touched with Ryuchellu’s opinion on kid’s toys being genderized, and there were many supporting voices towards his stance expressed on social media:

"I totally agree with him. I’m a female, but ever since I was little, I always liked Super Hero series type of toys. I’d even ask my parents for action toys."

"I could not agree enough. My son loves dolls and cute things in general. Although I want to support his preference and things he’s interested in, I’ve had many around me saying that I shouldn’t, because he’d be bullied for being atypical."

"I dream of a day I can simply let my child choose what they want and like regardless of gender, and without having consequences."

"He nailed it. It may be difficult to change the way commercials are made, but we can always start from changing perspectives in parents with small children to make changes for the better."

By - Mugi.