Yaoi. Also known as: Boys Love(BL), Shounen-Ai, gay porn, and useless crap. Then again, I think you can describe all anime with that last one.
Okay, well, there goes the few followers I had.
However, in all seriousness, I do have to admit that I am a yaoi fan fairy — or fujoshi — myself. Call me a pervert, sinner, or an untrue anime fan if you must, but I honestly do not think that liking yaoi should be a thing that you are ashamed to admit. Yaoi is just another genre in anime; just like how shoujo is a genre. Furthermore, to like a certain genre shouldn’t make you any less of a fan of the media art form as any other fan. As much as we — refering to the anime community as a whole — tries to shun out the yaoi, yuri, and eiichi fans in our community, they still exist, and we will always exist.
While the anime community is slowly growing and becoming more excepted in western culture, we are still a minority in everyday life. What do I mean by this? I mean that even though our presence on the internet is large, respected, and noticable, we are still vastly outnumbered by the “jocks”, “populars”, and “cheerleaders” encountered in our day to day lives. Heck, just the other day some random stranger called out “NERDS” as they drove past me and my friends while we were walking to our local anime convention. At least we think that’s what they said; all we heard was “RRDS”. Man, if you are going to insult us, at least do it right! However, I digress. My point is that while our community as a whole has been becoming more excepted, we are still a minority, and with so many spiteful people out there that decide to attack our little safe haven, we shouldn’t be making our safe haven a hateful place by holding prejudice against those who like a certain genre.
To make things easier I have split this blog post up into two parts; one discussing the fans of yaoi, and the second discussing my opinion on the genre itself. This is all done based on my own opinion — obviously — and I in no way represent the yaoi community or anime community as a whole. I also don’t mean for this blog post to pursuade you to watch or read yaoi if you don’t want to. If anything, I hope that this post helps to ease out the tensions in the anime community towards yaoi and its community.
Part 1) The Fans
Before I go any further I would like to make it clear that I am not saying that we yaoi fan fairies are perfectly innocent; we are to blame as well. A lot of hate towards the anime community does stem from the bad attitudes that a small minority of us have. However, that can also be said about that same minority of general anime fans who start wars with other fandoms as well. What I mean is, there will always be a small minority of “bad” fans in any fandom or community no matter the genre or medium. However, those fans are exactly that, a minority. Not every single yaoi fan is a rabid fangirl that fetishizes gay men, and not every anime fan uses random Japanese in everyday speech and hates anyone who doesn’t like anime. Just because the more annoying people in the fandom are more vocal and prominent doesn’t mean that everyone in the fandom is like that.
However, like I said we yaoi fan fairies are not completely innocent. I do admit to shipping certain things that really don’t make sense — Norway x Denmark anyone? Additionally, I am not denying the existence of the several badly written yaoi fanfictions that exist nor the totally irrational internet wars we have either started are participated in. Furthermore, it would be a blatant lie to say that yaoi has not turned me into a pervert and made me really kinky. However, I would say that the previous version of myself was about a thousand times worse, but that is a story for another time. Moreover, there are nonsensical straight ships too — Lucy x any male character in Fairy Taill for example. There are also many badly written anime fanfictions in general and the anime fandom is kind of known for internet wars. So really, we are really no different from normal anime fans.
While the things you like are a minor part of your personality, for the most part, they really don’t effect your personality traits much. I have met so many sweet, kind, and shy yaoi fans through interaction with the community. We are all individuals and that means that we are all different. At the end of the day, we are all severally different people who all just so happen to enjoy gay romance.
Part 2) The Genre
It’s not for children. Let’s just make this clear, most — if not all — yaoi is basically just gay porn with plot and I don’t think anyone is going to argue that point with you. At the same time however, there are many heartfelt and sweet scenes in yaoi. The way I think about it is that shounen-ais — pure gay romance with no sex — are like shoujos — romances for young girls — while yaois are like joseis — romances for older teens and young women. It can be argued that yaois are more closely related to eiichis, but I feel that that only accounts for certain works. An example of a said work I feel is more like an eiichi is Koisuru Boukun — pictured above — because this manga has way more sex than some other works and also has noncon — nonconsensual sex.
Speaking of noncon, why don’t we discuss the morality of some yaois!
The morality seen in the yaoi genre is one of the most highly debated topics in the anime community. I will not deny that many yaoi works contain rape, molestation, pedophilia, and incest. However, this only accounts for a fraction of the works in the yaoi genre. There are several beautiful romances in the yaoi genre that I simply adore with no immoral actions at all. Furthermore, there is a lot of sweet romantic fluff in yaoi. Despite popular belief, not all yaois only have sex scene after sex scene after sex scene. One work that I think is a perfect example of this, and is one of my favorite works, is Hana to Usagi — pictured below.
This romance story is filled to the brim with cute and funny scenes that just made my heart swell. I simply adore all of the characters and the main couple is nothing less than adorable. No noncon, no incest, no molestation, no pedophilia, just straight up sweet romance between two guys who love each other.
However, there is also the issue of pushing a gay romance into the mold of a heterosexual romance. I being a cisgendered female with no romance experience at all am not the best person to dicuss real life romance with. As a result, I don’t think I can say whether the romance in any yaois are accurate or not. Yet, I, nor any other [non] self-respecting yaoi fan, really and truly believe that any real gay romance is like the ones we read. I know that makes us sound like hypocrites and perverts who fetishize gay romance, but hear me out. Do you honestly go in reading a shoujo manga thinking that real life romance is like that? I don’t know about you, but I don’t, and neither does my friend who is the self proclaimed, “Queen of Shoujo”. Romance is meant to fantasy. I get that misrepresentation is something totally different than that, and that saying this may sound like I am calling real gay romance “fantasy”, but if we are talking about how realistic a story that is meant to be complete fiction is, then I really don’t think that’s fair. I do however believe that we do need to normalize homosexual relationships more across the board, but that is not what yaoi is about. I actually hope that one day we can have an action anime with a homosexual relationship and no one will even bat an eye, but that’s not what yaoi is nor what it was meant to be.
Maybe yaois are about fetishizing gay men. I honestly have no idea, but know that even if you think that and even if that’s what yaoi is meant to be, us fans of it do not see it like that; at least not the majority of us do. To us, yaois and shounen-ais are just cute relationships between two guys that love each other.
If you’re really asking for my opinion, I belive that at the end of the day, yaoi is just a genre and us yaoi fan fairies are just plain ol’ anime fan fairies.
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