OWLS Team Tour: When We Fetish Yaoi

Happy Friday Grimms!

I’m happy to say it is my turn to post something for our fabulous OWLS Blog Tour. I hope you are all familiar with this group by now but if not comment any questions below.

OWLS Team Tour:

 June is known as “Pride Month” within the LGBTQ communities in honor of the Stonewall Riots that occored at the end of June in 1969. At OWLS, we strongly support individuals who are part of the LGBTQ communites as well as individuales struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Allows individuals to show their support to the LGBTQ communtites
  • Allows LGBTQ communites to express their love to whoever they want.

So for the “Team” topic, we will be discussing our favorite LGBTQ characters in anime and other pop culture related media, the impact of the yaoi and yuri genre within LGBTQ communities, our personal stories involving gender/sexual orientation, and etc.

Usually I would choose a specific show for this topic but today I would like to talk about Yaoi as a whole. If you are unfamiliar with the term it basically breaks down to a gay couple. I want to say first and foremost that I am a HUGE fan of a good yaoi. With that said I have some issues with the genre that I’d like to shed light on. 

Now I could honestly go on and on about things that I would prefer to see fizzle out in the yaoi genre for example the reliance on rape culture and their insistence on portraying the two characters as the clearly defined “male/dominate” and “female/submissive” roles but alas I shall save that for a different post.

Today I would actually like to discuss about how sometimes as viewers of the yaoi genre we can start to look at these relationships as more of a fetish. This is a problem people! It’s a problem because we are influenced by the media and our experiences with it carry out into our real lives. By continually viewing homosexual relationships as a fetish for our benefit instead of a legitimate relationship we cannot be the allies we need to be for the LGBTQ community.

When we view homosexuality in this lens of, “Oh that’s hot. Their doing this to get my attention,” we start to overstep our bounds. Sadly in the yaoi genre there are many stories that perpetuate this line of thinking. Where the goal of the story is not to watch a strong relationship built on trust and understanding but instead the goal is to see how quickly the “dominate” one can take the submissive personalities pants off.

Now I’m not saying there is anything wrong with a sex scene. I’m saying that when in specifically the yaoi genre the storyline takes a backseat to the sex this can start to lead people who do not have experience within the Gay community fetishizing the validity of the relationship for their own turn on. To put it simple men are not attracted to men simply to excite the people around them. They are attracted to men because that is how they are born. Period.

As I mentioned above I love the yaoi genre and I really want more representation of the gay community in media and literature. In my opinion the yaoi genre still has a ways to go in creating diverse characters and storylines that truly represent the Gay community. I also think we as viewers have a long way to go when it comes to how we view yaoi.

For my finally statement to sum it all up I will leave you with this sentiment. The moment that we started looking at scenes between male characters and going, “Oh they just did that for fanservice” instead of saying, “Oh what a cute moment, I hope they get together” then we should have realized that we started viewing homosexual couples not as legitimate relationships but as tools for our own fetish.

That viewpoint carries into the real world when we see gay couples on the streets and say, “They’re just doing it for attention.” People are not in relationships straight or gay to get attention from random people on the street. Trust me.

I haven’t experienced a lot in the yuri scene but I feel like this might apply there as well. If you are familiar with yuri you’ll have to let me know in the comment section below. Also let me known if you agree or disagrgee with my statements, the best thing about doing these posts for OWLS is hearing varying viewpoints.

Finally I hope you checked out Remy’s post on the represenation of cross-dressing in anime and are looking forward to Arria’s OWLS post coming soon. 

Catch you all later ❤

36 thoughts on “OWLS Team Tour: When We Fetish Yaoi

      • You did a great job. It’s a complex, insightful view that had so many layers. A friend and I were just talking about how trans issues tend to get co-opted in SimLit, and he brought up similar ideas. When the characters are no longer people, with hearts, souls, and lives, but become more vehicles for a trope to gain readers and fans, then it can become detrimental.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 😄😄😄 Exactly what I was trying to say! I sometimes hear things people say and I just want to remind them that are real people in the world with feelings and dreams. They’re going through things and trying to figure everything out and we’re not helping by acting like it’s all just for show.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes–that’s a good point, and at the same time, sometimes the creators (writers) DO have it all for show! Like the writers don’t think of the characters as real with their feelings and dreams–they think of them as stand-ins that will help their work become more popular. So, both are at play. And for readers, it seems important to discern: Keep the eyes and heart open for the authenticity, and recognize and value you when it’s seen. And also watch for times when certain plotlines or characters are being used just to manipulate the reader or create popularity. For me, I like developing an antennae for the authentic, and following that! I do see your point, too, and value it: that as readers we can search for the authentic in all we read and not become jaded, thinking we’re just being manipulated.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. What you mentioned here is part of why I mostly avoid yaoi and yuri genres and instead stick to select titles with good rep. I think there’s more selection in manga but I stick to anime so the overall impression I’ve gotten so far from both genres is less than favorable.

    You’re right though – we really do need more non-fetishized lgbt+ relationships in media. Relationships that show that love is love no matter what the gender of the parties involved.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This became really clear to me after Yuri on Ice came out because I heard so many people say that Yuri and Viktor weren’t a couple bc they hadn’t had sex so there was no proof. It really upset me because you never hear that with straight couples in anime. Yuri and Viktor discuss marriage for heaven’s sake but you can’t consider them real bc you didn’t see them have sex? But when you fetishize something you stop making it about the relationship and you just think about what you want. I really hope we start seeing more diversity. YOI had given me a lot of hope.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Woah, I haven’t seen that argument yet and I’m glad about that because it’s so phenomenally idiotic, I’d lose a few brain cells just reading the words.

        What I like about YoI is that the two of them are treated as just any couple without the fact that they’re both men being made into this huge thing that dictates their whole relationship. They’re just two people learning each other and forming a balanced, healthy relationship and it’s lovely.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post, and I cous not agree more with both D’s and Karandi’s comments. People as a whole (luckily not everyone mind you) seem to always be ready to comdemn something or form an opinion without a real base for it. The world would be a much better place if people were more open to things. Even though things have definitely improved over the years, I’m afraid some things might never change or go away completely as much as I’d like to. Still, posts like these really help, so keep doing what you are doing 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Three cheers to more open conversations! I really do think that the more we start the conversation the better things will be. Also the more chances we will have for more diverse characters in the genre 😄 I would really love to see that!

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. Great post with some very insightful perspectives.

    I would have to say a lot of the same problems crop up for yuri series, as well, which is a shame. Perhaps things can change when people realize they’re not really treating those in homosexual relationships fairly. Then again, Japan sort of has a different cultural understanding of gender and sexuality, it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I think as Japan as a culture starts looking at homosexual relationships more and learning more their perception of them in the media will change. I feel like every culture has been going through this. Many of the American stereotypes we still hold in the media are still very cringe worthy but I feel lunge we’re all improving little by little 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh crikey, I just read your comment above where youmentioned that some argue that Yuri and Viktor cannot be a couple because they hadn’t had sex. I used to hear similar a lot, mostly that someone couldn’t be bi without having ahd sex with both a man and a woman, because if they hadn’t, how would they know they liked it? That used to drive me barmy.
    I always used to argue that someone can look at celebrity x and be attracted to them without sleeping with them, so why would attraction have to be physically proven for anyone else? If we’re reducing it down to physical experiences for proof like that, then no person as a sexual orientation at all until they’ve had a physical experience … which is a stupid argument that negates attraction, disregards people who experience romantic but not physical attraction, and kinda sets up a potential perception of ‘try-before-you-bi’ being the norm.
    Eurgh. Anyway, great post. You’re absolutely spot on that couples aren’t generally couples for the attention, and that all love is love. We need more portrayals of that. Showing love as love is the best way to get people to see it as just that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gah! Yes that viewpoint is enough to drive me insane. I really try to be open minded and what not but that idea is just so ludicrous to me it’s really hard for me to keep calm when addressing them lol. I really just want to shout, “HOW DOES THIS MAKE SENSE TO YOU??!!” I really hope we start seeing more diversity. I hope more LQBTQ people start writing more manga and anime because that would really help create more genuine stories!

      Liked by 1 person

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  9. Kitty Kat Dear,

    I agree honestly 100% of what you’ve said regarding the Yaoi genre, now it isn’t something for everyone but it’s not fair it’s been poured in this light of “oh all the fetish” being judged upon nothing more than that. This genre is not for everyone that’s clear but as a lover of the yaoi genre I agree that it’s not been taken in a positive light yet for me, where we focus on actual character relationships. Then again I’ve not read a whole lot of manga or anime regarding Yaoi still have a means to go but still has a long way to go being received in a even light,

    Thankyou for a awesome post !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post Kat, a wonderful addition to the OWLS tour! I love how you drew attention this “elephant in the room” as it were. I’m the type of guy that loves to see love. Regardless of the type of relationship it really makes me happy when i can see two people share their feelings with each other outside of physical contact. If i see a straight couple enjoying their day together, that makes me happy. If i see a gay couple enjoying their day together, that makes me happy.

    I dont read any Yaoi myself, but I think its important for people to remember that these relationships go beyond a fetish. Lovely post again! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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