145: It's A Yaoi Thing

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It's A Yaoi Thing

"Mika Sadahiro's Under Grand Hotel features a Japanese man who goes to prison for murder. He rooms with an African-American man named Sword who rapes him regularly. The two form an unusually deep bond with each other as they deal with the other prisoners and corrupt prison guards. It's an unusually grim tale, but rape and coercion are common in most types of yaoi."

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Rather fascinating article. I approve! Its weird how in our society, its perfectly normal for guys to oggle images of women having sex (though we're not all that interested in the relationship aspect.), but its utterly alien for women to enjoy male homosexual pairings...and even looked down upon, for it.

beoweasel:
Rather fascinating article. I approve! Its weird how in our society, its perfectly normal for guys to oggle images of women having sex (though we're not all that interested in the relationship aspect.), but its utterly alien for women to enjoy male homosexual pairings...and even looked down upon, for it.

I once was suprised to find that my female cousin found gay guys going at it hot, in response she said "well dont you like it when girls do it?". That shut me up.

sammyfreak:
I once was surprised to find that my female cousin found gay guys going at it hot, in response she said "well dont you like it when girls do it?". That shut me up.

Yeah, my mother is the same way. While she's primarily a romance writer that does heterosexual pairings, she's written several stories of gay-men.

There's nothing like yaoi? Then I guess yiff and tentacle rape are green light? Hell, those japs are real scary, thinking that a man rape is realy nothing, but if you bone a woman against ther will (she didn't knew she wanted it, but she clearly did) it's now gruesome and you're suddently are worse than Hitler and Rosie O'Donnel.

There's an easy formula to this.

Men like women : Men love holes : Men want more women and holes (AKA Lesbian porn)

Women like Men : Women love twigs : Women want more men and twigs (AKA Gay porn)

It's not crazy if you think about it, some women love men and there twig and berries so much, they would love to see a few men "cross swords". It's the same as loving Lesbian porn.

I know a girl who like Yaoi ... but she doesn't like all Yaoi, just one particular one ... maybe there are even sub-genres within this genre.

But this article is as close as I will probably get to knowing anything about Yaoi.

Although, it is good to hear about the differences in life that you would never really know.

I notice the girls who like yaoi is because the guys that are in it usually look "pretty" (though the romance is really... beyond all cheesyness) or they like asians. For some reason, hardcore buttsmex isn't as popular as many might think. No wonder Yuri is so ignored (WANT MORE CANDY*BOY)... ):

I'm not surprised really. Men like to look at attractive women wearing and doing things they find hot. It's only logical women would like the same thing. Overall, good article.

I liked the style and tone of this article, it's an interesting topic too. In my Japanese class (mainly high-school students), many of the girls really enjoyed reading the less explicit Yaoi - though one girl really enjoyed drawing hardcore gay porn in her spare time, or during class. I don't find the phenomena at all surprising, however, I was particularly interested in the point made regarding women harbouring rape fantasies. Particularly the use of statistics. If you don't mind, where did you find that statistic and does it represent the results of a Japanese survey, a US survey, a global survey, etc.

Not that, again, I find it hard to believe but it struck me rather a strong point in the article that I'd like some clarification on.

"50 percent of women harbor rape fantasies"

bullshit. I know a lot of women that have been raped. They didn't like it.

This is interesting and all, but the real question is: why would women start to find fascination in this only in Yoai? Their aren't a lot of girls out there that like to see REAL men do it. Or maybe...I should have a survey at my college...:)

General Ma Chao:
I'm not surprised really. Men like to look at attractive women wearing and doing things they find hot. It's only logical women would like the same thing. Overall, good article.

Generalizing much?

As a homosexual male I'm always severely disappointed to pick up a piece of gay fiction only to discover that it's geared towards women. Not all men like lesbians-- and gay men such as myself don't like the feminine bishounen. Where are the choices for those of us who want a more realistic spin on gay fiction, with masculine characters?

And here's an even more interesting question: Is it more acceptable for a girl to read gay fiction than for a gay male to read it? Probably.

Also important to consider is how the yaoi movement has skewed womens' views of gay men. Girls flock to me to be their best friend expecting me to live up to some feminine stereotype they've gained and be some wonder solution to all their girlish needs. I've actually had girls refer to me as "girlfriend". And these fangirls seemingly always complain that the males in my artwork are masculine. Males shouldn't be masculine?

I find it all pretty offensive. It's even more annoying when other homosexuals perpetuate the stereotypes intentionally.

Pseudonym2:
"50 percent of women harbor rape fantasies"

bullshit. I know a lot of women that have been raped. They didn't like it.

It doesn't say that raped women like it. It's more subtle then that. Women don't like rape, they wouldn't ever want to be victim of that. But many women have fantasies in where they are more submissive, so to say. I can attest to that it isn't bullshit.

It's an interesting read by the way. Also funny- I started a topic a week ago about fanfiction and also Yaoi and slashfics were mentioned.

As for the gay people- yes, it's annoying when people see you as a stereotype. Hell, I know a lot of gay men get to hear the question 'so who's the 'female'' at least once in their lives. I guess if gay people want their own stories, they have to write it for their own target group. After all, it's harder for a hetero sexual to write a fantasy that he doesn't know, about relationships that he doesn't fancy or know.

Pseudonym2:
"50 percent of women harbor rape fantasies"

bullshit. I know a lot of women that have been raped. They didn't like it.

The thing about fantasies is the more far removed from them you are, the more likely you are to have them. Its why some guys, for example, have sexual fantasies about Twi'leks and other humanoid aliens, because they are never going to meet a chick with blue skin.

Likewise, its very rare for people harbor fantasies about things they've experienced. Rape victims are obviously the last people who would harbor fantasies about that sort of thing. Its painful and scarring. But then again, a lot of people also have fantasies about being famous, but you can't open a newspaper these days without hearing about someone having their privacy trampled or going into rehab or something of that sort.

We all realize certain things are simply horrible. However, it doesn't stop us from wanting things we do not have, and to some extent only makes it more enticing.

And while I agree that even then that percentage is quite high, I don't find it hard to believe that say, a stay-at-home mother in the suburbs who hasn't seen any action lately might have certain fantasies because she is so far removed from a situation where that would ever happen.
I mean, for someone who feels to some extent 'removed' from it, the word rape almost becomes a synonym of rough sex. Much like with "Gay" or "Fag" the mindset is "these words don't affect me, I'll use them how I please." Its just how people are.

So the statistic doesn't really say much at all. Just that girls like it rough once in a while. Nothing new really

Excellent article, and I wholeheartedly agree with SykoSilver. I'm fine with female fans of yaoi, I think it's awesome that people are so broad-minded. But I really think that it's at least a teeny bit obvious that gay men are going to read them as well, so it's pretty stupid to gear it only towards the female fans.

Then again, a lot of the stuff that is geared to women doesn't bother me, because I am an absolute sucker for Hurt/Comfort, Fluff and Romance fics with lots of warm, fuzzy, lovey-dovey dialogue. Although, a bit of PWP is quite nice, too.

For those of you that do like Yaoi, what mangas do you read/recommend? I've read a couple online, although I can't remember the names, and I'm more of a Slash fan.

SykoSilver:

Generalizing much?

As a homosexual male I'm always severely disappointed to pick up a piece of gay fiction only to discover that it's geared towards women. Not all men like lesbians-- and gay men such as myself don't like the feminine bishounen. Where are the choices for those of us who want a more realistic spin on gay fiction, with masculine characters?

Hey SykoSilver, Im a heterosexual guy, so I guess that changes things a little, but I have to still agree with a large portion of what you have said. I dont hanker after two women being together. It really doesnt do much for me, so I want to thank you for pointing out that not all guys lust after lesbians 24/7 (Im sure its also insulting for lesbians who have received hatred for who they are to hear that said too).

Another point I liked is about the "hyper-feminine" appearance of some of these characters. Okay, Im no expert on this stuff, but I have to say sometimes I find the extremely feminine appearance of some of those Japanese characters to be annoying and perhaps even a little offensive. Mainly just because it doesnt fit with my experience as a guy, and all the other guys I know. I understand its a cultural thing, but this entire "only feminine = beautiful" pisses me off. I have never seen a guy look so much like a women unless they were specifically trying to do so.

This comparison is not quite the same thing I know, but if women get pissed off about unrealistic physical depictions of women (freakishly large breasts, chainmail bikinis, etc.), surely its okay for me to get pissed off about these unrealistically feminine looking guys. Guys who have (from what I have seen, so I know its not the definitive) no facial or body hair, soft facial features, and skinny bodies devoid of any bulk or muscle. I think its great some women have found an outlet that gives them pleasure, but Id like to think Im doing a similar thing to when other women object to an unrealistic ideal of female beauty. (Though to be fair, I understand that unrealistic depictions of women and what they should be like is far, far more widespread than this Yaoi business).

And since I forgot, good article. Interesting, and it got to me to rant about something thats been annoying me for some time.

Voodoo Child:
Excellent article, and I wholeheartedly agree with SykoSilver. I'm fine with female fans of yaoi, I think it's awesome that people are so broad-minded. But I really think that it's at least a teeny bit obvious that gay men are going to read them as well, so it's pretty stupid to gear it only towards the female fans.

Then again, a lot of the stuff that is geared to women doesn't bother me, because I am an absolute sucker for Hurt/Comfort, Fluff and Romance fics with lots of warm, fuzzy, lovey-dovey dialogue. Although, a bit of PWP is quite nice, too.

For those of you that do like Yaoi, what mangas do you read/recommend? I've read a couple online, although I can't remember the names, and I'm more of a Slash fan.

Unfortunately, it seems that Yaoi manga in Japan is geared specifically toward girls; I guess people don't consider boys as a potential audience because, well, gay males have gay porn :)
I agree with you, though: I'm a girl, and I'd like to see something a bit more realistic once in a while too. I'm deeply dissatisfied with the current yaoi scene, too many standard seme-uke PWPs.
Right now, the only yaoi series I'm reading is Kizuna. It doesn't feature particularly good drawing or a realistic plot (and presents the deprecable "rape is acceptable with men!" concept), but its lighthearted tone is good when you don't feel like using your brain too much.

Not a big fan of yaoi, but good work on the article!

Not really a fan either, but for some reason lots of the anime series I watch seem to become popular with yaoi fans, so I come across it often. And the thing that I catch most often that people seem to like isn't overt sexual interaction -- it looks to me like a big part of yaoi's draw is to see the undertones and the subtlety of the male relationships.

I do know some people who like yaoi and they don't like sex scenes -- they just want to see well-drawn, beloved male characters as if they were getting a glimpse into that man's most private life. Men are rarely emotionally intimate with each other in our society in front of girls -- we girls don't get a chance to see men expressing close emotional feelings to other men very often. So maybe by being able to see favorite media characters doing this, it makes girls feel closer to them?

Excellent article, well-written. However, I must ask, where did you get the "as many as 50 percent of women harbor rape fantasies" statistic from? I'm not suggesting it's incorrect, I just haven't heard anything of the sort mentioned, and you'd think it would be pretty big news.

Xaositect:

Another point I liked is about the "hyper-feminine" appearance of some of these characters. Okay, Im no expert on this stuff, but I have to say sometimes I find the extremely feminine appearance of some of those Japanese characters to be annoying and perhaps even a little offensive. Mainly just because it doesnt fit with my experience as a guy, and all the other guys I know. I understand its a cultural thing, but this entire "only feminine = beautiful" pisses me off. I have never seen a guy look so much like a women unless they were specifically trying to do so.

This comparison is not quite the same thing I know, but if women get pissed off about unrealistic physical depictions of women (freakishly large breasts, chainmail bikinis, etc.), surely its okay for me to get pissed off about these unrealistically feminine looking guys. Guys who have (from what I have seen, so I know its not the definitive) no facial or body hair, soft facial features, and skinny bodies devoid of any bulk or muscle. I think its great some women have found an outlet that gives them pleasure, but Id like to think Im doing a similar thing to when other women object to an unrealistic ideal of female beauty. (Though to be fair, I understand that unrealistic depictions of women and what they should be like is far, far more widespread than this Yaoi business).

Umm, have you ever been to Japan? I just moved back to the US after living there for a year and I've never seen so many beautiful men in my life. Generally, Japanese men are slender and feminine looking from a western point of view. Plus, it's part of their society for the men to look like that. Believe me, the guy with the best hair, thinnest body and whatnot is getting the most action. And since most yaoi is Japanese, that's why they look like that. For them, and a lot of western women who like Japanese guys, it's a hot look. Plus, aren't you being a little ethnocentric since your definition of masculine is western? Come on!

You can be pissed off all you like. Sure, they women are unrealistic (though it doesn't piss me off), but I saw a lot of guys in Japan that looked like they jumped off of the page of a manga. Just to let you know. . . .

Voodoo Child:
Excellent article, and I wholeheartedly agree with SykoSilver. I'm fine with female fans of yaoi, I think it's awesome that people are so broad-minded. But I really think that it's at least a teeny bit obvious that gay men are going to read them as well, so it's pretty stupid to gear it only towards the female fans.

I guess my question is, it's pretty stupid of *who* to gear it only towards female fans? These all started out as underground media, sexual material produced by women for women. The fact that it is now commercially available doesn't change that, just like the fact that actual lesbians might watch "girl-on-girl" porn doesn't change the fact that it was really never intended for them. Personally, I'd love to see actual gay guys writing slash and drawing doujinshi for each other (not to show the women "how to do it properly.") After all, gay men would be the experts on what gay men want, not straight women.

Perhaps you think it's stupid that publishers don't publish "real gay" yaoi. Perhaps, I don't really have any idea what the market for that would be. What I do know that ever since there were mimeograph machines, photocopiers, and then the internet, the slash writers and doujinshi artist didn't wait for the publishing companies to start signing them. The publishers just managed to carve out a bit paying market out of a long-standing not-for-profit circulation network. If you want a network like that for gay guys, gay guys are going to have to build it. If I want lesbian porn for lesbians, lesbians are going to have to make it. It's absolutely a DIY phenomenon at heart.

Then again, a lot of the stuff that is geared to women doesn't bother me, because I am an absolute sucker for Hurt/Comfort, Fluff and Romance fics with lots of warm, fuzzy, lovey-dovey dialogue. Although, a bit of PWP is quite nice, too.

For those of you that do like Yaoi, what mangas do you read/recommend? I've read a couple online, although I can't remember the names, and I'm more of a Slash fan.

You might really like Saika Kunieda, whose work is readily available in scanlation on a number of sites and is finally being licensed and released in the U.S. You might also like Satosumi Takaguchi, whose work is heavy on angst and shmoop. Homerun Ken can also be quite good though the protagonists tend to be a bit youngish.

It's always interesting to read other's opinions about yaoi, especially those who can articulate themselves well. But for the record, I'd like to say that Underground Hotel is not the standard when it comes to that genre; that book freaked me out when I picked it up.

And I have to agree with Akatsuki_slave on the beautiful men part. I used to live there too, and the Japanese artists certainly didn't make that up. Sure, some men are drawn with very feminine features (something I don't like myself), but Japanese men are really...pretty. It's better to be metrosexual over there, and that's how you show your masculinity. I prefer my rough and gruff men better, but they do make nice eye candy.

And I have no problem with yaoi being for women, by women. Though now that it's commercialized, you do keep seeing the same thing over and over again. I don't think the American companies are always bringing over the best material, like the books that break the mold. But I also don't think that yaoi is supposed to be any more than a fantasy, just like shoujo manga or shounen manga. Everyone would like to date the coolest guy in school or be able to beat up bad guys with a cool sword, but it's just a fantasy. Even romance manga is the same; when was the last time you had three guys (or three girls) lined up for your affections? It's not supposed to be realistic. I'm against that rape theme in yaoi manga, but I do like the sweet themes.

Voodoo Child:
For those of you that do like Yaoi, what mangas do you read/recommend? I've read a couple online, although I can't remember the names, and I'm more of a Slash fan.

My biggest suggestion is Fake by Sanami Matoh. It's just a good series in general, about two NY policemen who fall in love. Paradise on the Hill by Momoko Tenzen is another good one for fluff. I like cracky, crazy titles myself, but those are just what I've thought of myself.

As for the 50% rape statistic, I think there's a big difference between a rape fantasy and wanting to be ravished. Rape is about power and domination, not about sex or pleasure. Ravishing is more like a man taking control to pleasure a woman. I'm sure there are women out there who want a man to be a bit more forceful in pleasuring them, but I can't think of a woman who would actually want to be raped.

Leigh Alexander:
Not really a fan either, but for some reason lots of the anime series I watch seem to become popular with yaoi fans, so I come across it often. And the thing that I catch most often that people seem to like isn't overt sexual interaction -- it looks to me like a big part of yaoi's draw is to see the undertones and the subtlety of the male relationships.

I do know some people who like yaoi and they don't like sex scenes -- they just want to see well-drawn, beloved male characters as if they were getting a glimpse into that man's most private life. Men are rarely emotionally intimate with each other in our society in front of girls -- we girls don't get a chance to see men expressing close emotional feelings to other men very often. So maybe by being able to see favorite media characters doing this, it makes girls feel closer to them?

That's quite an interesting thought. I haven't read any yaoi (more of an anime fan myself), but if a portion of them focus on more subtly, and hinted romances, instead of blatent sex (or 'rape', which seems to be drawing quite a discussion here), then I suppose it allows for women to cater to their 'I wanna see a man emotionally vent' thing.

On this topic on rape mentioned in this article, I'll offer my 2 cents. Yes, there is rape, where a man forcefully fucks (sorry, I can't think of another word; my vocabulary's poor) a woman (painful for the woman). This is not for sex, per se, but for the perpetrator (yes, man can be raped as well) to get an ego boost; it's dominance/power thing. But I think the 'rape' that is spoken of in this article is one where the man/whoever takes control of the 'situation', but the party being subdued wilfully submits, and actually enjoys the aggressiveness of the dominant party. So, this rape is where, while initially one party may struggle, or even refuse, but in the end, both parties enjoy the experience. If you want something closer to actual rape, try the 'love scene' in The Fountainhead. Ayn Rand likes her sex violent.

- A procrastinator

I might actually check those suggestions out :)

I also know some gay people in Real life and I know they are nothing like the books. Hell, one of them makes more dirty jokes then any heterosexual I know, not exactly the soft, tender and metero sexual type. Msaybe i should give him one of those books to joke back.

Oh and, I know there is man-man porn for gays out there. And not even little. There are also romance stories (on film) of man-man couples out there, they just aren't main stream, but they are there.

First and foremost, for the record: Yes, I am a yaoi-fangirl, and now for my two cents.
Both the article and everyone's comments here seem to mostly focus on professional works of yaoi and gloss over the literal tonne of fanbased projects on the internet. The characters we choose aren't always the willowy fragile types, and although I admit we often gravitate to the more conventionally good looking characters, that can be said to be true of anyone writing of any sexual preference.
It can also be complained that a yaoi writer's portrayal of a gay relationship isn't accurate. True. (This can also definitly be said of girlxgirl porn that exists out there for mainly male viewers) However, anyone who complains of this should also read a couple volumes of a heterosexual romance also written by women for women. It's not very realistic either, is it? These are stories for a reason, they highten the drama, provide tension and challenges, and are usually overcome by the end so that there can be a romantic conclusion that wraps things up nicely. This is true of both yaoi and any heterosexual fiction.
So you want a realistic portrayal? My best friend is gay. Do I really want to read about his realistic life as a gay guy? Hell no. It's boring. He does the exact same thing as any of my friends and leads a regular life as is his right. His life, like my own admittedly, would make for a very boring story. I read fiction as an escape from reality, I want fantastic situations, challenging obstacles, emotional confessions, all that high drama stuff.
And just as a final point: Straight guys don't usually go around complaining that Bodice-rippers and other heterosexual romance stories are portraying their type of relationship inaccurately, so why complain about gay fiction written intentionally to be marketed to women? There are plenty of sources that cater to the tastes of guys both straight and gay, and yeah, they're usually made by guys for guys. There's plenty for everyone out there.

I'm enjoying how people are talking about the differences between "yaoi written for women" and "yaoi written for men", when I happen to be a guy that rather enjoys the former. Not a gay guy, admittedly, but the point still stands.

As Silver said, the fact that most yaoi stars are extremely feminine isn't something to do with who it's being marketed to. In anime or manga, if a guy is good looking, he could win a beauty pagent if he put on a skirt and kept his mouth shut. Well, I say "could". It's actually a fairly common situation. It's just a culture where "hot" and "manly" are polar opposites. If a butch guy exists, he's mostly for comic relief.

JcDent:
There's nothing like yaoi? Then I guess yiff and tentacle rape are green light? Hell, those japs are real scary, thinking that a man rape is realy nothing, but if you bone a woman against ther will (she didn't knew she wanted it, but she clearly did) it's now gruesome and you're suddently are worse than Hitler and Rosie O'Donnel.

Interesting sentiment with the rape thing and the "japs" being scary. Im going to assume that your being satirical (kinda a "Modest Proposal" type thing) rather than the alternative.

And i believe the bit about 50% of women and rape fantasies. I've known a few.

Silver, I first ran into the term Yaoi through fan based stories. Some of them were written well and could fit into a professional magazine even. as for the non-masculine types in Yaoi...The only fanfictions i ever read were from DragonballZ. There is no non-masculine in that series :p I think it doesn't really make a difference for me.

As others have pointed out the 50% rape thing for women is a bit unbelievable for me but who knows ... moving on. Overall the article for me was well written and had good content and some intrusting points on how and why yaoi is so popular. As a gay guy who likes yaoi I can see why most gay males would be put off by its overly feminine guys when put in a romantic setting then again most yaoi is written by women for women like the article stated so I cant argue that point any way yaoi is a great form of manga and should be more widely praised.

Oh one more thing do characters from games say like Kingdome hearts, if there put into a yaoi setting dos it become a yaoi or something ells?

Aussiboy:
Oh one more thing do characters from games say like Kingdome hearts, if there put into a yaoi setting dos it become a yaoi or something ells?

...*glances over at her Roxas avatar* Yes, pretty much. Since you're playing around with other characters though you have to keep in mind that it's just your interpretation of their relationship. One of the reason yaoi fangirls annoy many people is that they often act as though their way of seeing a couple, like Axel and Roxas from KH2 for example, is the only way to see it and is obviously what their creator intended. When you use characters created by someone else it's fine to envision them in yaoi situations and spend hours online reading or writing fanfiction about them etc, just realize that it's perfectly as valid from the storyline of the game to accept Roxas and Namine as a couple. Yaoi fangirls often forget this.
So basically, yeah if you're putting two guys from Japanese source material together as a couple, it's yaoi (or one of the related terms like shonen-ai or BL) If they come from Western English speaking source material, it's called slash. It's all the same thing though, it refers to two fictional guys in a romantic relationship. You just have to remember the difference between canon yaoi (in which the creator has expressly stated or communicated through their medium that his/her characters are gay) and fanon yaoi, in which the couple is never stated to be gay, but is assumed to be so or desired to be so by the fans and put into a fan created setting in which they are given this opportunity.

Girlysprite:
Silver, I first ran into the term Yaoi through fan based stories. Some of them were written well and could fit into a professional magazine even. as for the non-masculine types in Yaoi...The only fanfictions i ever read were from DragonballZ. There is no non-masculine in that series :p I think it doesn't really make a difference for me.

To be honest the looks don't matter much to me either, it's the personalities of the characters that are most important. I first stumbled across yaoi randomly online through fanfiction, and yes, many are well written enough to seem professional. I'm very thankful to the internet because it has given many talented people the opportunity to show off their work that would otherwise never be seen. It's just an oddity ofthe internet fandom universe these days that yaoi or slash fiction seems to vastly outnumber straight fics for a lot of different series'.

Silverookami:
One of the reason yaoi fangirls annoy many people is that they often act as though their way of seeing a couple, like Axel and Roxas from KH2 for example, is the only way to see it and is obviously what their creator intended.

All shippers do that, no matter the particular combination of genders they have alighted upon. I still think the worst are the Harry/Hermione crowd in the Potter fandom, as they are known to exclaim that the author got it wrong when their chosen ship didn't set sail.

Maybe it's just me, being rather Au-Fait with Yaoi and the like, but aside from being a rough guide to this subgenre, was there anything else you were trying to get across?

A good read, I'll admit, but not a whole lot else.

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