“Delilah:” The Furthest Thing From Flowery
Kanehara Hitomi’s “Delilah,” tells the story of a woman’s experience with starting a new job at a bar. In the story, the main character, Yu Kanda, deals with problems in her new workplace because of how she was treated by the men working there. Here are two examples of issues that Kanehara integrates into her story, one of which is much tamer than the other. One of these is Yu Kanda’s work uniform. Kaizu, one of the other workers at the bar, gives the main character a tight skirt to wear, demonstrating some of the hypersexualization of women that takes place in the workplace. This is further exemplified at the end of the story through a graphic scene in which Yu Kanda receives oral sex from Kaizu while her other coworker looks on in a sexual context. The whole scene is jarring with there being very little to no consent from Yu Kanda, leaving the reader with questions about everything that went on in the story.
With such a graphic scene in the story, is it worth reading? My answer is a strong yes. Through my readings of other feminist texts, some of the most impactful are often the ones that are the most graphic. While the scene is certainly off-putting, it makes the reader consider the ways women are treated in the workplace and by men generally. Furthermore, reading the story serves as a strong introduction to Kanehara Hitomi’s works, who is one of the most famous female writers in Japan today through her unabashed usage of sexual and dark themes in her writing. While this story is not suited for children, mature readers should consider reading the story through the ways it insights critical thinking of important feminist themes.