In Defense of Fujoshi

Content warning for discussion of rape fantasies, illustrations of penises, and strong irony regarding sensitive topics.

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I’m really serious about the content warning.
This essay is potentially triggering and extremely NSFW.

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At the Toronto Comic Arts Festival last weekend, Picturebox announced their plan to publish a bara manga anthology titled Massive. This news has been met with congratulations from all corners of English-language manga fandom, which is fantastic, because congratulations are in order.

What this excitement has occasionally been accompanied by, however, are snide comments about BL manga. To summarize and simplify these comments:

Male sexuality is BEAUTIFUL.
Female sexuality is GROSS.

Pornography drawn by men is ART.
Pornography drawn by women is TRASH.

Male sexual fetishes are EXCITING AND REVOLUTIONARY.
Female sexual fetishes are DESTROYING FEMINISM AND/OR LGBT RIGHTS FOREVER.

In other words:

Bara manga is GOOD.
BL manga is BAD.

This sort of mentality is often accompanied by essentializing statements such as:

All bara manga is AUTHENTIC.
All BL manga is HOMOPHOBIC.

The idea behind the above sentiment seems to be that, while all bara manga is always, by its very nature, an accurate depiction of the realities of the gay male lifestyle (note that there is apparently only one gay male lifestyle), BL manga, because it is always drawn by straight women, cannot accurately depict the concerns of gay men.

Okay, so if bara manga is always an accurate depiction of the gay male lifestyle…

Tagame Gengoroh - Standing Ovations

…then Tagame Gengorō’s one-shot manga “Standing Ovations” (pictured above), which is about a boxer who is drugged and forced to become a slave and repeatedly raped in front of a live audience, is apparently an accurate representation of the reality of what it means to be a gay man.

In another of Tagame’s stories…

Tagame Gengoroh - Arena

…titled “Arena” (pictured above), a boxer is drugged and forced to become a slave and repeatedly raped in front of a live audience. Except he’s eventually chemically lobotomized, and he ends up loving the rape, so it’s not really rape anymore!

Wow. I had no idea that all gay men everywhere in the world are either attending or participating in these sorts of rape battles.

This makes me wonder about bisexual men, or straight men who participate in group sex. Do those guys have their own separate rape battles, or are they just not invited to the rape battles? What about transgender men? Do they still get to go to the rape battles? And what about the gay men who aren’t interested in rape battles? Do they still get to be gay? Or am I just being a silly vagina-head by assuming that all gay men are not all totally alike?

But wait! It turns out that Tagame also wrote stories that were published in BL magazines like June, as well as magazines that have a balanced male/female readership, such as Kinniku otoko:

“I wrote ‘Hairy Oracle’ knowing that half of the readers were going to be women, so I tried to include some elements of romance and lightheartedness,” explains Tagame. “When I write for gay men’s magazines, it’s primarily about the hero’s initiative and interiority. When I know that women are also going to be reading it… they’re more interested in seeing actual relationships and coupling. So that’s a big difference when I go for writing for one or the other.”

Wait… So Tagame Gengorō has written BL manga… And BL manga is not authentic, because it’s all written by straight women… Which means that Tagame Gengorō is a straight woman?

My head just exploded.

Anyway, let’s consider the sick fantasies women have about gay men…

Kagurazaka Hanko - Hitotsu yane

…like gay men in monogamous relationships raising children.

SO GROSS.

The really terrible thing about these twisted women is that they’re not content with stand-alone BL manga; they also have to get their dirty lady cooties on mainstream media as well. For example, Azuma Kiyohiko’s series Yotsuba to, which manga critic Kamiya Kōsetsu has called an “eternal summer vacation” meant to provide adult men with an escape from the real world, is a huge hit with adult women, who are attracted to the role-reversal of a single father raising a child and the strong friendships between the female characters. When these women get their filthy lady hands on the manga…

Ookina hanayasan

…they write dōjinshi fanzines that turn the escapist fantasy of the original manga into a serious exploration of adult male gay relationships and the social constraints against two men raising a child in Japan.

HOW DISGUSTING.

I am one hundred percent certain that it’s entirely possible to use different examples and thereby demonstrate how bara manga is not all about bondage and rape fetishes (it totally isn’t) and how some BL manga is nothing more than shallow, disposable pornography that conflates homosexuality with sexual deviance (some of it totally is). There is a great deal of porn in the world, and there is more than enough to go around. The point I’m trying to make here is that there is a wide variation in both bara and BL manga, and it’s useless to make absolute statements about the people who read and write manga belonging to either category.

According to Dan Savage, author of The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family, gay men can be kinky and enjoy porn and raise children in stable families. In other words, gay men can have sexual fantasies and still be “normal” people; it’s not an issue of either/or.

So what about fujoshi, the women who read and write BL manga?

Here is a common conception of fujoshi:

Fujoshi Stereotype

The above image may seem like a caricature, but many critics have extremely uncharitable opinions of women who read manga.

In his Neo review of the BL manga periodical Dear+, Jonathan Clements mocks the magazine’s readers, saying, “one imagines an audience of shelf-stackers, burger-flippers and NEETS, smiling dreamily at the thought of a world where everyone can wear, and afford, posh clothes, and gets to sit in an office all day thinking of ways to sell perfume to people like them.” In other words, the women who read Dear+ are useless, lazy slackers who can’t get real jobs but like to fantasize about what a high-powered professional life in the creative industry is like through the bodies of the men who have these jobs in the real world. Right. Let’s put aside the realities of the professional world in Japan, where men do in fact hold jobs women are strongly discouraged from attaining, and assume that the glass ceiling exists because women are too wrapped up in the fantasies of BL manga to be functional adults. Obviously.

Clements concludes his essay with the argument that BL contains elements of homophobia:

Dear Plus follows a format familiar to us from other magazines in the boys’-love genre, running the gamut of possible relationships in a single issue from chaste adoration to hardcore sex. But as noted in earlier Manga Snapshot columns on boys’ love, sometimes one detects that oddest of undertones, an arguably anti-gay assertion that all of this man-on-man action is merely a phase, and that what these lonely boys are really waiting for is the right girl to come along. In other words, these men are only snogging each other because the Reader hasn’t met them yet.

This is, we might say, another appropriation from the mainstream world, where myriads of lonely manga boys have suddenly received the girl of their dreams by some fiat of the fates, in which she drops out of the sky, appears in his wardrobe, or otherwise manifests through deeply unlikely means. In denying, however subtly, the desire of men who truly love men, Dear Plus suggests its true colors as a publication that is really aimed at lonely, heterosexual girls.

To summarize, all of these BL manga readers are terribly lonely (maybe because they’re such losers), and all they really want is a man of their very own. That sounds like an extreme projection of male heterosexuality to me, but it’s not as if Clements is the first man in the world to state that girls just wanna have cock.

In any case, it’s bizarre to me that Clements would identify fujoshi as man-hungry, lonely women, especially since the vast majority of scholarship on these women identifies them as participating in highly active homosocial communities. For example, in her monograph Fujoshika suru sekai, Sugiura Yumiko argues that the reason Ikebukuro became a fujoshi paradise (as opposed to somewhere like Nakano or Kichijōji) is because it’s a centrally located area that’s a convenient place for women to meet each other. In Ikebukuro, women can shop for both clothes and dōjinshi and then meet up with friends afterwards to have coffee in the cute and trendy cafes that dot the neighborhood. These women were early adapters to social networking sites like Mixi and Twitter, which they use to organize casual meetups. In fact, there’s a trend of fujoshi using Skype and Google Hangouts to talk to one another while and immediately after their favorite shows air live in the evening. It’s not that these women don’t have husbands and boyfriends, but rather that they also have female friends with whom they share their interests and hobbies.

Slash and BL fan communities in the West are highly social as well, with friends often forming offline clubs and art circles to share and promote their hobbies. In the vast majority of these communities, straight and gay men are totally welcome; and, in the artist alleys of American (and Canadian! and British! and French!) anime conventions, one is just as likely to see boys both in front of and behind the tables of artist collectives selling homegrown BL manga and fanzines. In some of the more commercially successful Western BL comics, such as the erotic comedy Teahouse, one can even spot the mention of the artists’ husbands (and partners) on the acknowledgements pages.

I am not saying that everyone who reads and writes BL manga is female, straight, and cisgender. That’s a common assumption, but it’s not true. Even if it were true, however, it would not be an excuse for the misogyny that pervades opinions about manga not explicitly targeted at men.

So seriously guys? Cut that shit out.

People who read bara manga are okay.
People who read BL manga are okay.

Maybe you personally prefer one over the other. That’s okay too.

Non-normative sexualities are okay, and other people’s fantasies are okay, and there doesn’t need to be some sort of weird war on the internet over whose gender is the most “authentic.” Everyone is perfectly free to mock the ridiculousness of both bara tropes and BL tropes until global warming renders such trivialities inconsequential, but please take a moment to consider whether writing homophobic and misogynistic things about people who read comics is really the most productive exercise of social justice before you waste your time trying to convince women that girls are yucky.

21 thoughts on “In Defense of Fujoshi

  1. Kathryn says:

    By the way, I don’t intend for this essay to be a personal attack against Jonathan Clements. Jonathan Clements is awesome, and his Manga Snapshot column in Neo magazine is always entertaining, and everything he writes is totally worth reading. It’s just that, in this particular case, Clements articulates a very common sentiment extraordinarily well, and the particular passages I quoted were too good not to use. I think Clements was coming from a good place – homophobia is bad – but I also think that it’s important to consider the larger contexts in which BL manga operates both in Japan and in the West.

    If you want to read the entirety of the essay I quoted from, it’s in Neo issue #107, pages 32-35.

    Also, I should mention that the Tagame Gengorō images were scanned from The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame. The first image is from page 210, and the second image is from page 110. The quote is from page 29. Graham Kolbeins’s essay at the end of the book is also very useful and interesting. For the record, the book is not all about rape battles. There’s a great story about a country doctor in there, as well as two wonderful stories about police detectives. Or maybe some people prefer the rape battles? To each his/her own.

    If you’re interested in the Yotsuba dōjinshi I referenced, the circle’s website is:

    http://www.geocities.jp/mican_02/mican/

    Oda Mario is another great artist who draws socially focused Yotsuba dōjinshi:

    http://odamario.ojaru.jp/

    As a side note, there are all manner of adult yuri manga written by female creators about women engaging in dubiously consensual sex and raising children together, as well as a long tradition of yuri artists appropriating sexualized female characters from male-authored media, but almost no one is concerned with whether the women who read and write yuri manga are “actually” gay, or whether the characters in yuri manga are gay, or whether the fictions and fantasies expressed in yuri manga accurately reflect queer female lifestyles. Not too many people care about women when there are no men involved, I guess.

    • “Not too many people care about women when there are no men involved.” Oh sigh. This is the saddest comment I have read with regard to yuri, and you’re probably right.

      Also, thanks for posting on this! It’s something I see a lot as I peer deeper into the depths of BL and the research around it, and it’s always bugged me the way some people write BL off as inauthentic. Because there often is that element of misogyny in it. Like you said, male sexuality is perceived as a powerful, good thing, while female sexuality is generally only considered from a passive perspective, as in she is acted upon and not the actor in the scene. And BL happens to involve a whole lot of women acting on their sexuality and creating their own sexual worlds, even if those women are using a world full of men to do so. But you know, god forbid a woman should have sexual (or any other kind of) agency!

  2. Kathryn says:

    I mentioned Dan Savage’s The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family briefly, and I’d like to quote from the book regarding the argument that BL manga promotes negative stereotypes of gay men, since Savage writes about negative stereotypes of gay men at length:

    “Children will suffer the most [if gay marriage is legalized],” says James Dobson, the conservative Christian leader who unmasked deep-cover homosexual operative SpongeBob SquarePants. “Homosexuals are rarely monogamous” Dobson has warned, and children, “who by their nature are naturally conservative creatures, will be traumatized by the ever-changing sexual partners of their parents and the instability of home life. Foster care and homelessness among children will rise.” (127)

    Dobson paints a scary portrait of gay parents, one that’s shaped by stereotypes about gay men, monogamy, and promiscuity. In Dobson’s world, a gay man is either a one-guy-kinda-guy (and a one-in-a-zillion rarity), or one-thousand-guy-kinda-guy, and there’s no in between. (128)

    I don’t know where people like James Dobson are getting their information regarding gay men, but I sincerely doubt they’re reading BL manga, which tends to romanticize monogamous romantic relationships between men with the goal of eventually building a nuclear family to be integrated into a larger extended family. (There is a lot of plot-what-plot pornographic BL manga out there too, but I doubt Dobson is reading that either. Or maybe he is! That would be fantastic.)

    Concerning the idea that seme/uke-style gay sex is heteronormative, this is what Dan Savage has to say:

    Gay sex, unlike ballroom dancing, is not a parody of straight sex. Two men having sex look like two men having sex; contrary to popular misconception, neither one is playing the woman’s role. There is no role for women in gay male sex. It’s two guys. Fucking. (144)

    I understand where the “BL is heteronormative” argument is coming from, but men having sex with other men is still gay sex. On a scale of totally gay to totally straight, I imagine that there are way more heteronormative things out there than two guys fucking.

    In conclusion, I don’t think BL narratives are unproblematic, but I also don’t think they’re as homophobic as some people make them out to be. Moreover, even though something being less homophobic than the American Religious Right does not make it okay, I also get the feeling that there are scarier fish in the political pond than the extremely diverse and queer-friendly communities of women and men who enjoy slash and BL stories.

  3. Andrew C. says:

    Thank you very much for this post. You’ve given me a lot to grapple with and have made me question some of my unexamined biases.

    As a gay man my relationship to BL and bara has always been extremely complicated. Like in everything, there are very good examples, and very bad examples of each, though what is problematic about each genre tends to take very different forms. I won’t lie—I have felt consistently alienated throughout my life by BL, and I certainly have given bara much more of a free pass. You’re right in that there’s probably a core of unchecked misogyny there on my part.

    As horrifying as Gengoro Tagame’s work can be, I was thrilled to hear about its publication—the vast dominance of BL manga in translation with not a single example of official bara translation, in my kneejerk reaction, seemed to be complicit in a silencing of the voices of real-life gay Japanese men and their artistic productions (a sexual minority which rarely gets talked about or even mentioned in a Western context, despite so much attention paid to cultural products centred around relationships between gay Japanese men!). Again, though, there’s some bullshit I’ve been assuming in taking this position uncomplicatedly—positioning bara as “authentic” to the experiences of gay men and BL as divorced from that reality. As you have so well argued, that is indeed bullshit.

    This is a horrendously knotty issue and I’m completely unsettled now, so thank you again for that.

    • Kathryn says:

      My position on BL has been influenced a great deal by Nadine Strossen’s Defending Pornography, in which the author argues that many of the arguments against pornography are extremely misogynistic and that obscenity censorship laws and practices have hurt more women and sexual minorities than they have helped. I didn’t start off agreeing with her, but she has so many examples of the same shit over and over and over again that it’s difficult to pass her off as intellectualizing the issues.

      I see a lot of what Strossen is talking about in the treatment of BL. On one hand, it’s censored because it portrays homosexual relationships (on the Kindle store, on the Apple store, and so on). On the other hand, the women who read it are generally vilified for expressing their sexualities in ways that don’t align with certain religious and political agendas (women who read books like Twilight and Fifty Shades get the same treatment by both conservatives and feminists).

      I have lots of thoughts and feelings (and thoughts about feelings) concerning positionality, intersectionality, and separating the text from the reader, and so on, but I’m still doing my background reading…

      …and there is a lot of background reading.

      Sigh. This issue has too many issues.

    • I think a big reason we don’t get a chance to hear the voices of gay Japanese men in the West (in terms of manga at least) is the fact that their voices are very marginalized in Japan as well. You can still be fired from your job for being gay, and the whole thing is very much don’t-ask-don’t-tell. You often see portrayals of stereotyped gay men in the media (Hard Gay comes to mind), but realistic depictions are still hard to come by.

      So to me, it’s no surprise that something like BL, which is seen as “fake” gay by mainstream society and a silly hobby for girls (akin to romance novels as mentioned), will get major shelf space in pretty much every book store you go to, while bara is mostly relegated to gay shops and online ordering. And if the books aren’t on the shelves in Japan, they’re clearly not in a position to get noticed and licensed by North American publishers. I mean, the Tagame book came about essentially because Chip Kidd happened across Tagame’s work over ten years ago and became his personal champion in North America.

  4. Hmm, what is the title of that “gay men in monogamous relationships raising children” manga? Because that looks amazingly adorable and exactly like the kind of BL I like to read. XD

    • Kathryn says:

      The title is Hitsotsu yane, which might be translated as “Under one roof.”

      There are a number of manga about men raising kids together, and many of them are surprisingly political, but I like this one because it’s relatively lighthearted and angst-free. Sometimes it’s good to get angry that men can’t get married and have trouble adopting children, but sometimes it’s also good to indulge in a fantasy where gay child rearing is completely normalized and supported by the larger community.

      • bradallard says:

        What are some titles would you recommend for the more political ones? Or any other titles that deal with this topic aside from Hitotsu Yane? Thanks!

        -Brad

  5. AnotherFujoshi says:

    Amen. So tired of reading that yaoi/BL is less valid than bara as a genre since it’s “less realistic.” Like bara is at all realistic or that realism is necessary to fiction or fantasy in the first place? It’s just another example of the clucking and tsking men have been doing about women reading since the beginning of time; women should only be reading instructive/educational texts instead of getting silly notions in our pretty little heads from reading fiction/novels/romance.

    Another good one is “but it fetishizes gay men.” Um, 1) no, and 2) so what? It fetishizes male characters. They might have sex together, but their sexuality is not necessarily the point. Some of them might even be gay but they remain CHARACTERS, emphasis on THEY ARE NOT REAL THEY ARE CHARACTERS I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. I certainly credit Tagame and his readers with knowing the difference and I would appreciate the same understanding.

    Look I get that guys, whether straight or gay, don’t necessarily enjoy romance stories the way girls and women do, and most yaoi/BL is basically romance. Also most yaoi/BL is aimed at a younger female demographic, and there is little respect in this world for what girls like — boy bands, YA novels, etc. But defending distaste for a genre aimed at girls by claiming the superiority of a genre aimed at men certainly does come off as misogynistic.

    Maybe it’s my age (old) but I find a lot to like in yaoi/BL AND bara. And I’ve come across several (younger) men who enjoy yaoi/BL. I’m excited to see that bara is getting published in english, and I hope it opens the door for some of the more mature and challenging yaoi/BL that’s out there too. And like you I really hope that people who think and write about these genres consider a little bit more carefully where they’re coming from with their contempt regarding yaoi/BL (and by association, its writers and readers).

  6. Leah says:

    Brilliant! I hate the assumption that the only thing women get out of male/male pairings wanting to join in and that women who like m/m (BL, bara, slash, what have you) see all gay men as objects for their pleasure in the same way mainstream “lesbian porn” marketed toward straight men encourages seeing women’s sexuality through the male gaze. I’m not saying all BL or bara is accurate or respectful, but as a queer woman, and especially as a bisexual one, if I just deemed that “both” sexes were objects for my pleasure, I can’t imagine how I would function in any relationships with other human beings.

    Also, I’m currently reading Takeuchi Sachiko’s Kusare joshi, a book about how she and her friends are fujoshi, and she’s done a couple bits about how the fact that she’s a lesbian who loves BL confuses other people who have theories about why fujoshi like m/m.

    • Kathryn says:

      Aaaaaaand I just bought that book. Thank you for the recommendation!

      Oh Amazon Japan, why do you take all my money.

      Anyway, my own personal impression of slash/BL communities is that they are filled with gay, bisexual, and genderqueer people, as well as teenagers trying to figure out exactly what their sexual orientations are (even if they’re just exploring what it means to be straight and female – or straight and male). I’ve also gotten the impression that these communities are fairly involved with gender-based social justice activism and are very quick to organize themselves to vote and protest.

      To me, BL and slash are very closely tied to female participation in fandom in general, and a lot of the anti-BL/slash comments I used to see back in the day (before around 2006 or so) were thinly veiled “girls get out of our clubhouse” types of statements. Thankfully, the more women have became integrated into mainstream fandom, the more aware men (and women) in fandom have become of sexual harassment and homophobia.

      It’s possible that I’m just stuck in a particular moment in internet fandom history in which BL/slash was used partly as a tool to create a safe space for women in a largely misogynistic environment, and now female fans don’t need that particular crutch anymore. Maybe I’m just defending it for sentimental reasons, even though I do have my own set of strong concerns with BL/slash.

      I have serious doubts about my own positionality in this matter, and I really wish there were some sort of sensitive and nuanced cross-cultural monograph-length study about BL/slash fandoms and the people involved in them, but I’m afraid that Surveyfail 2009 and the terrible book that ended up coming out of it have muddied the waters too much for such a thing to be possible. Le sigh.

    • That book’s now on my “to buy” list for when I go to Japan in June! Thanks for mentioning it

  7. kamo says:

    “Do those guys have their own separate rape battles, or are they just not invited to the rape battles?”

    Oh, you silly vagina-head you. Don’t you know that the first rule of gay rape battles is, “Don’t talk about gay rape battles,” and that the second rule of gay rape battles is “DO NOT TALK ABOUT GAY RAPE BATTLES”? ;)

    While I have absolutely no investment in any of the communities or sub-groups you talk about here, I can’t help but agree with you. It constantly surprises/depresses me how much energy people invest in deriding other people’s interests/orientations/lifestyle choices when it would be much better spent on enjoying and improving their own.

    P.S. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the NSFW warning, and please post more often.

  8. This is freaking wonderful. My goodness. Yes, fujoshi are people too. There are fujoshi that have significant others and/or have families.

  9. Lovely. I was a little anxious when I was linked here as there’s so much rubbish thrown around that I’ve come to assume that every fujoshi-related article is going to attempt to fill me with self-hatred, but you made some very good points. And wow, that Jonathan Clements quote. I’d like to see him read the article and reconsider his assumptions one day. I’m sure some women do think like he does, but he’s definitely projecting his own view onto the rest of us.

    I’m a married female who likes BL, bara and yuri, as well as ‘traditional’ heterosexual depictions of romance. The politics around my personal choices of reading material never fail to make me despair.

    • DocWatson says:

      And wow, that Jonathan Clements quote. I’d like to see him read the article and reconsider his assumptions one day.

      Here’s his reaction:

      “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys…” (The Official Schoolgirl Milky Crisis Blog, 27 May 2013)

      :::

      Katherine Hemmann:

      Here is a common conception of fujoshi:

      My first impression of the image (which Mr. Clements uses for his own blog post) is that it is a common conception of (Japanese) male otaku.

  10. Apologies for posting two comments (the earlier one is still queued so I can’t reply to it). I was so steamed about the issue that I had to come back and add a little more. My comments relate mostly to the Jonathan Clements article again, even though as you rightly note, his opinions aren’t unique. Admittedly, for all I know he was basing the post off a specific example; I’ve not read every single title carried in Dear+. The ones I have read, however, have had no such subtext.

    I once had a conversation with some (Japanese) fans where an apt comparison was drawn. I’m paraphrasing from memory, but it went something like “Based on their doujinshi, men want to be a handsome stud with a huge package, while women want to be potted plants and pieces of furniture”. In other words, my friends had the impression that males tended to project themselves into a first-person role in their pornography while women preferred, on the whole, a third-person view. I can’t speak for other fujoshi, but that’s certainly how it works for me. The (usually) monogamous passion the participants have for one another is the thrill – not some starry-eyed fantasy that they’re going to come after me later on.

    I asked my husband what he thought of the idea that fujoshi fantasised about inserting themselves in the story and he asked why some guys struggled to understand the appeal of voyeurism. Another male friend incredulously asked why a female fan would want to effectively “destroy” a pairing she liked by projecting herself into the fantasy.

    The other way to read Mr Clements’ generalisation is that he’s upset about the way he perceives that fujoshi ‘treat’ (non-existent) gay men. I’ve read a few arguments on this front in the past by men who are uncomfortable being objectified, and gay men who have had bad experiences dabbling in the genre (perfectly understandable, I don’t think many women openly enjoy the experience of walking through certain halls at Comiket either).

    If that’s the case I still disagree with the Neo article; making it a requirement that *all* characters in BL manga identify as gay to support a certain agenda is nothing more than shifting the problem elsewhere and dismissing bisexuality. I read works about characters who appear to identify as gay and others who identify as bisexual and don’t see a problem with either (or indeed, a need to distinguish between them any more than I would a straight or lesbian woman I wasn’t planning on asking out). It’s a matter of expectations.

    Sorry, preaching to the choir but I just wanted to get it off my chest!

  11. gradland says:

    Thanks for this. I get so weary of 1) people’s tendency to dismiss any genre of literature that is loved predominantly by women, and 2) people lumping all readers of certain literary / film genres into the category of loser / idiot. I’ll admit that my own impressions of BL have generally been that it’s homophobic, but I’ve read VERY little of it, and it’s clear from reading this that both BL and bara are very mixed genres that can’t just be tossed into the “trash lit” box. And their fans are obviously a diverse group as well.

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