Monday, November 29, 2004

Girls who like boys who like boys ...

I'm playing a bit of catchup, so excuse me if you've already seen this ... discovers the wildly popular yaoi, and immediately notices the differences between East and West:
But thematic differences between East and West were immediately apparent. In Japanese yaoi, genitalia are indicated by a big white circle (per industry jargon, a "glowing cone of white light.") Its American counterpart shows everything: sloppy blowjobs, penetration, facial come shots. While Japanese protagonists are androgynous and can easily pass as women, American yaoi men are manlier (but still never too butch). In Japan, certain subgenres of yaoi feature prepubescent boys; American yaoi artists take great pains to announce somewhere in each story that characters are of post-jailbait age. Still, many conventions stuck. One: a rigid top-bottom power dynamic, in which struggle is foreplay. Two: the sex.

Fans are the first to admit that yaoi is a form of porn, although most bristle at appending the word "gay." In Japan, theories abound as to why the genre appeals to young women. Some believe it functions as a screw-you to a button-down society; others say it allows young women to approach sex without shame or fear of "competing" with another female character.
The article also spotlights Pluto, a 26-year-old illustrator from Michigan who's working on a yaoi story called Bottled Up.