Yaoi Infused M/M Romance

Jul 242011
 

Sakai Ichi Hatsukoi - World's Greatest First Love - YaoiI’m watching this yaoi anime on Crunchyroll (finally, Yaoi on Crunchyroll!), Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi – World’s Greatest First Love, and I realized that in so many Yaoi anime and manga, the guys don’t seem to actually want to have sex, at least the ukes don’t. Why is that? Don’t all men want to have sex all the time? If so, shouldn’t it hold true that in our gay male stories, there’s lots of man sex and they’re loving it?

So, I was putting dishes away, because God knows I have nothing better to do on a Sunday morning;) and I’m thinking to myself about why we as straight women like this sort of thing. I mean, we must, right? Or why would the Yaoi powers that be put this stuff out? And why would we watch it so religiously?

In the typical Yaoi manga or anime, you have these two dudes that are attracted to each other, maybe even confess their love for each other, but invariably one chases after the other for sex (usually the seme), while the other runs from it (usually the uke). Then when the seme actually gets the uke, the uke does the, “Oh, stop… please stop”, thing while at the same time obviously getting off on what the seme’s doing.

My question is – could this be a hold over from the traditional romance story days when the heroine in our romance books loved, but hated, but didn’t want to tarnish her reputation by having sex, but got really hot and bothered by the hero? As women, we’re supposed to make guys chase us, guys we like, but we can’t show them we like them or we won’t get chased. Whew, what a wild game, huh? And what a mess… And this does resemble the typical Yaoi story arc, does it not? Hmmm…

Maybe in these stories, since they’re written largely for a straight female audience, this dynamic exists in order to give some sort of semblance of a traditional male/female role that women recognize immediately. And we eat it up, don’t we? It’s that whole forbidden thing. The “I want you, but I shouldn’t, can’t” thing. The whole reason why we love our Yaoi and M/M Romance – forbidden love.

And so the poor uke has to go on wanting sex with his seme, but pretending like he doesn’t. I wonder, what would happen if we made stories that were more true to gay male life? Would we still devour them so hungrily? What do you like?

And now, the trailer:

 

Jul 312010
 

Wow, what a question to start off with when I’ve been absent pretty much all summer, huh? From what I’ve seen out there in author-land, there seems to be some polarizing views on what Yaoi and M/M romance written by and for a female audience (yes, I know many men like it, too, and I think I’ve already covered this ground in “Yaoi versus M/M Romance: What’s the Difference“) should be and how it may or may not affect the gay community.

Let’s take the first part of this, shall we? Does Yaoi exploit gay men? Our characters in Yaoi fall into seme and uke and in many instances, let’s face it, the uke is a chick with a dick. Are there real gay men out there like that? I’d say certainly. While many lesbians (and yep, I do know quite a few) can sometimes bend their female gender to imitate a man quite well, I’ve seen it done just as well with the opposite sex. Wait, what did I just say? Some lesbians act more like guys than guys and some gay men act more like women than women do;) (Just like in the hetero world, LOL) OMG, I think I’ve just started a topic for another day – gender bending and men in dresses, LOL. So, if there are real gay men out there that act like cute little ukes, by having characters like this are we exploiting them? Hell no. Am I exploiting dogs when I have one in a story and it barks and wags it’s tail? Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme. Even if there weren’t any gay men who behave like a typical uke, does this mean we shouldn’t write about them? Again, do dragons and unicorns exist? And there are stories written about them all the time.

Yes, this is Mana, a guy. I have no idea if he's really gay. Care to take bets?

But on a deeper level, are we female readers and writers of Yaoi and M/M romance  exploiting gay men because we’re turning them into some twisted fantasy we have about gay men and them getting it on? Personally, I find this ridiculous, too. We may make them and like them to be a bit more emotional than a real guy and we may want them to fall in love more than real gay men do, but I’ve also heard from real gay men that these stories can be inspirational to them. And about the emotional part? Boys and girls are born pretty much the same, it’s our culture that forces boys to repress their emotions. Studies show that our culture is finally changing and it’s getting more and more acceptable for men to shed a tear or two. What’s the big deal anyway?

What I’d really like to know is why it seems to be okay with the lesbian community and especially our culture at large for straight men to watch lesbian porn, but, OMG, you’re a straight woman and you write gay romance stories??? It seems like every time I see some stupid ad for porn aimed at men, it’s two hot chicks getting it on. And have you seen late night HBO and such? The soft porn ALWAYS has two hot chicks getting it on. Not that there is anything wrong with that – just to be clear. I’d just like to see more, well you all know what I want to see, wink, wink.

So no, I don’t think Yaoi or M/M romance exploits anyone (maybe the fangirls, LOL). And for that last part – do we care? Of course we do, don’t be stupid. Reading and writing Yaoi and M/M romance has helped me to understand the trials of being gay and lesbian throughout history and today. My first book, A Summer without Rain, was critiqued by a man whose son is gay. He told me reading my manuscript actually helped him to understand and empathize better with his son. And guess what? I’m proud of that.

Dec 142009
 
Okay, so we all know in the world of gay men there are the tops and the bottoms, the pitchers and the catchers, the hot dogs and the buns (?)…You get it, I’ll stop there:) In Yaoi or Boys Love anime and manga, it’s referred to as the uke (botton) and the seme(top). Let’s have a little discussion about this, shall we?

The seme is typically what you’d find in your standard romance novel, the confident alpha male who may be famous, runs a business empire, is some type of royalty or otherwise has lots of money and/or high social status. The uke is the shy, nerdy guy who’s usually a college student or just a kid (can you say shota? But this is a topic for another blog). I suppose if you draw lines to tradional romance novels you’d see the uke acting in the traditional woman’s role – girl meets dashing, wealthy asshole who just so happens to have a thing for her, but won’t admit it until well into the story, maybe even the end. But what’s different and maybe so alluring about the uke in a Yaoi story is that because this character is a male, he may be catching in the bedroom, but he surely isn’t always catching outside of it.

How many times have we seen a Yaoi plot where the seme is falling all over the uke, bending to his every whim, just to get him in the bedroom? And how many times do we see the uke manipulating the seme in and out of the bedroom to get what he wants? What about the uke’s pretending not to like sex? Not like sex? A guy? Really??? And so I ask the question, who’s really on top? And more over, why can’t they be switch hitters? *drool*

So in the quest to figure out who’s really on top, I asked Roy Mustang and Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist fame (because I know them best):

Me: So, Edward, would you consider yourself a bottom or a top?
Ed: What?!
Roy: He’s a bottom.
Ed: Shut up, Mustang. Don’t pretend you know what that is.
Roy: Please, just be a good boy and drink your milk.
Ed: *sputters* This isn’t milk, it’s egg nog!
Me: Oh, but there’s milk in it. Sorry…
Ed: *spits all over the table* What the fuck?
Me: Here, let me get some paper towels *gets paper towels and comes back*
Ed: *glares at me and wipes up mess*
Roy: Ahem…the question was top or bottom, right?
Me: Uh, yeah. *watching Ed and keeping far away*
Roy: I’d definitely say that Ed is the bottom and I’m the top. I mean, really…I’m the older one, the bigger one, the one with–
Ed: The one who likes it up the ass!
Roy: *turns red*
Ed: Yeah, I said it. He likes it in the ass. *snickers* that makes him a bottom, right?
Me: I, I guess so…
And so there you have it. Seme or Uke, it’s all good and we love it!
Regards,
Christie