I hope everyone is ready to discuss some big issues with anime and the LGBTQ community because OWLS (Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect) has dedicated the month of February to the discussion of Flight through the Otaku Lens of Yuri On Ice.
“An individual takes flight when there is a goal, a dream, or an ambition that he or she wants to achieve. However, for this blog post, we are going to look at “flight” in different lenses: the underdog’s dream, the possibilities that Yuri on Ice allows viewers to think about, and also the dangers of greed and ignorance that can influence one’s dream.”
Already my fellow OWLS members have been bringing down the house with their views on this subject. I have been greatly impressed! If you haven’t had a chance to check out any of their posts please do so. You won’t regret it!
I really enjoyed the last post by Steph blogger for Two Happy Cats who discussed YOI and it’s view of love. She highlights how inspired love can make our dreams take flight while dependent love will cause us to crash and burn so to speak. Really interesting read, so make sure to check it out.
For my version I would like to discuss the normalization of the LGBTQ community through diversity and how Yuri On Ice gives flight to my dream of equality regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
To begin this topic I would like to discuss the terms, “normalization” and “diversity”.
Normalization: (noun) The process of bringing or returning something to a normal condition or state.
Diversity: (noun) The sate of being diverse; variety.
A range of different things.
When I say I want the normalization of the LGBTQ community what I mean is I want people to understand that anyone that is apart of, identifies, or supports the LGBTQ community is NORMAL. I want the recognition that being gay, transgender, or any of the above does not mean that you are blasphemous or in need of some sort of psychological intervention.
I believe media plays a very big role in this endeavor and anime is not exempt from that. I have talked about this before but media has the power to showcase different perspectives and therefore shape beliefs and opinions on a matter.
When I say diversity what I mean is diverse characters that represent the LGBTQ community. I want there to be characters that are as diverse and relatable as the zillions of heterosexual and cisgender character portrayals I see in anime and in media as a whole.
This brings me to why I love Yuri On Ice so much and how it gives me hope that my dreams are on the right track to becoming a reality. The fact of the matter is anime does not do a great job of normalizing the LGBTQ Community.
The majority of gay or lesbian relationships tend to be boiled down to either fanservice or fanfiction. The yaoi genre in particular tends to uphold various aspects of rape culture and restricts one character as the dominant “male” while feminizing the second character and making them clearly submissive.
This right here is a huge blog topic in itself.
Any character that dances the line between gender roles tends to be reduced to comic relief (not to be take seriously). On top of that these relationships all seem to move at lightening fast pace. Perpetuating this idea that if you are in a homosexual relationship your just out and about having sex and committing sexual acts 24/7.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against that. This issue I have comes into play with the lack of diversity. Read on fellow Grimms because here where things get real. I cannot speak for how things are going in other countries since I live in America but I do read and from what I can tell the following points I am about to bring up seem to be pretty universal.
One of the things people say against the LGBTQ community is that they are sexual deviants. Now I in no way believe that but that is an insult members of the community have to face, as untrue as I find it. What is interesting about that is the way gay/lesbian/transgender people are then portrayed in anime.
In general people seem to have this belief that people should take their time in the realm of sexual matters. Moving to fast is frowned upon. Now I don’t care how fast you move as long as it is consensual but I recognize the social normal. What is interesting is to see how this social norm is played out in anime.
The “right” thing to do is to wait to move the relationship to a physical level. We see this portrayed to the extreme with heterosexual anime couples all the time.
How long did we wait for Kagome and Inuyasha to kiss? When did Naruto and Hinata finally become canon? Will Natsu and Lucy ever be together?!!! Season and seasons past as we wait for these answers!
The “wrong” thing to do is to become too physical to quickly. We see this portrayed to the extreme with homosexual anime all the time.
Izumi and Ryoma from Love Stage have their first sexual encounter after what? The second or third episode? We waited seasons for Inuyash and Kagome to kiss but Ryoma has no problem pulling down Izumi’s pants by episode three? Not to mention how much further that progressed.
That is basically the standard norm for yaoi/BL relationships in the anime/manga world and that’s a problem. If our societal norm is for legitimate couples to progress towards a physical relationship doesn’t it strike you as odd that we then create the majority of LGBTQ relationships to do the exact opposite of that?
On top of that any “gay” relationship that doesn’t progress quickly is usually fanfiction. Consider Miyuki and Sawamura at this point their relationship as pure fantasy on the part of the viewer highlighted by our mounds of fanfics on the subject. This sends a clear subconscious message. The idea of a homosexual relationship that progresses overtime is fantasy.
This idea is driven home by the lack of diversity of LGBTQ characters in anime. If all we see in the media are these versions of the community then we begin to subconsciously typecast the community as a whole. It also enforces stereotypes and biases we harbor. Members of the LGBTQ community are just as diverse as members of the cisgender community and should be portrayed that way in anime!
This brings me to my love of Yuri On Ice ❤ ❤ ❤
Unlike many yaoi/BL relationships portrayed in anime Viktor and Yuri’s relationship develops over time with to consensual participants. How often have we seen a yaoi/BL relationship develop only after the “dominate” partner has made advances on the unwilling “submissive” that later changes their tune.
By the way has anyone every noticed how the above scenario reinforces the whole, “Gay people turn others gay” myth.
To add to their amazingness neither Yuri nor Viktor follow the stereotypical dominate/submissive pattern. Both Yuri and Viktor exhibit both of these traits. They can each be unsure of themselves or each other. They can also each be proud of themselves and each other. Are there some people that have more dominate personalities or submissive personalities? Of course! However no one person is tied those roles and they certainly are not rooted in one’s gender.
The persistence of constantly assigning the male who is more feminine to the role of a submissive personality enforces this idea that women are and should be submissive. Which just isn’t the case. We are humans and our moods, ideals, and personalities are constantly evolving and growing.
Speaking of femininity, while the majority of shows reduce any gender fluid character to the punch lines of the series Yuri On Ice takes the opposite view. The feminine side of the skaters isn’t reduced to weakness or comedy but is instead looked on with reverence for its beauty and strength.
We see this portrayed by Viktor, Yuri, and Yurio at various times throughout the series. I loved how they did this! I personally feel that this is exactly the type of diversity we need in anime. I’m not saying we can’t have the funny gay friend or the flamboyant transgender, what I’m saying is that we need to add to those perspectives because the LGBTQ community is not just represented by those characters alone. Just like the cisgender community isn’t made up of simple the dominant male and the submissive female.
My favorite part of Yuri On Ice is the fact that as their relationship grows it isn’t ridiculed by the other members of the show. It is encouraged! To me this is the reality I dream for. The proof that when humanity is able to realize that not only we all completely normal whether we identify as cisgender or as a member of the LGBTQ community but that we are all diverse!
The characters of Yuri On Ice are able to do that and that is why I believe they are able to be so accepting of Yuri and Viktor’s relationship. It is normal to them because it is normal. Why wouldn’t two skaters fall in love when they share a mutual respect for each other and a common interest? Why wouldn’t a relationship develop between two adults who spend significant time together and obviously care about each other? The fact that they’re two men is never discussed because it doesn’t matter. What matters to their friends and family is whether or not Viktor and Yuri are happy together and whether their relationship is healthy and encouraging.
Ah, to live in such a world where we are judged not on the way we were born but on the actions we portray. That is my dream and that is my “flight” so to speak. To create a world where who you are attracted to is a non-issue as long as you are being respectful and consensual with your actions. Does the love you have inspire you to achieve your goals and to better yourself? Then it’s perfect.
I hope you all enjoyed this post ❤ Don’t forget to comment below and to keep your comments constructive. We don’t all have to agree but we do have to discuss things in a respectful way. How else will we learn about each other?
Also don’t forget to check out Venus’ post on JapanimeTalks will be posting her OWLS article on February 17th. Look out for it!
Check you all later!
Don’t forget excluding OWLS Blog Tours and the occasional Flashback Friday I’m on hiatus! I’ll tell you more about that when I’m officially back in April. ❤
I do not own these images