Boys Love Is Not A Good Representation For LGBTQ+

I need to adress this. The last month or so I have read several articles and blog posts complaining/discussing/contemplating the fact that boys love is not a good representation for the LGBTQ+ community. I agree.

BUT, and there really is a huge but in this, boys love isn’t supposed to be a representation for the LGBTQ+community. There really is no need for it to be. Boys love isn’t aimed for an audience outside of the fujoshi/fudanshi community. No one who isn’t interested in the boys love genre would ever pick up a boys love novel/anime/manga.

But, but, but Yuri!!! on Ice you say, that is a boys love anime and millions (don’t exaggerate now) have seen that show? Nope, I am sorry to say this, but Yuri!!! on Ice actually doesn’t fit the profile of a boys love. What?! you gasp, how dare you! I know right, they are lovers and they are gay. Well, nothings confirmed but yeah, it’s safe to say by now that they have a thing. A wholesome thing to boot. The thing with Yuri!!! on Ice is that this little anime started out as nothing more than a sports anime/slice of life (oh no, you actually went there, shame on you). There was nothing telling you it would turn into a boys love anime when it started, their relationship sort of just snuck up on all who watched it. But you said it wasn’t a boys love anime? I know I did, I still stand by it.

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So, if Yuri!!! on Ice isn’t a boys love anime, even though they are gay and in love, and all that comes with that, then what is it? A good representation for the LGBTQ+ community. You see, Yuri!!! on Ice is a regular anime with two gay guys who happened to fall in love. Back to boys love…

So, boys love is not aimed at the regular consumer of anime/manga but to people like me; the rotten person who loves to watch the romance between two guys where it is already predestined to be about their relationship. It is a genre of it’s own, just like Yuri!!! on Ice is a sports anime, or just like Macross is mecha.

What the LGBTQ+ community needs isn’t for boys love to be realistic and be a good representation. I, as a part of that community don’t want that as a part of the fujoshi/fudanshi community. I still want my boys love the way it is AND good LGBTQ+ representation BUT in the mainstream media. Boys love isn’t mainstream and people who indulge in boys love are very well aware of the fact that the manga and anime they get absorbed in is nothing but a fantasy and is in no way related to how a normal gay relationship is. Just like a prison tv-show doesn’t give an accurate picture of how life in a real prison is.

We need more Yuri!!! on Ice kind of representation, that is all I am saying. And preferably outside of the anime and manga community as well. And we need to stop making boys love into something it is not and look at it for what it is. A small niche entertainment for a very limited audience who actually knows what it is about. (yes, I know there are idiots who romanticizes real gay people and forces themselves on them but I would think that they are in a very small minority. And I am pretty certain that has very little to do with boys love really.)

Okey, that was my two cents on this topic. This might apply to the other sex as well. I have never really seen any articles or blog posts about girls love so I can’t say. It’s as if people are more hung up on boys love for some reason. Then again, lesbian sex in porn movies are totally accepted while gay sex isn’t, maybe it’s the same in the anime/manga community? I don’t know, I am not engaged in the girls love community.

That’s it you guys. Next time, let’s talk about something less heavy. And please, give your thoughts about this in the comments because it is interesting to hear how you think about this.

30 thoughts on “Boys Love Is Not A Good Representation For LGBTQ+

  1. It’s funny, because I was just thinking about this the other day because I was reading a blog review about Citrus, and how the reviewer in question didn’t like Citrus because they considered it fetishistic as it appeals to people (mostly guys) who are into girls getting it on with girls. My main thought when I read this was, ‘well yeah I’m into girls getting it on with girls because I’m attracted to girls, that doesn’t mean I consider lesbianism in the real world to be a fetish!’

    I consider myself to be a human being with empathy and an open heart and I’d never seek to fetishise an actual persons sexuality. But when it comes to manga and anime, I don’t see the problem in being into girl on girl or guy on harem of girls or guy on harem of monster girls! Just like you don’t have a problem with boys love! As long as people realise there’s a difference between fiction and reality, there shouldn’t really be a problem.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That’s interesting with Citrus; I feel like Crunchyroll has worked hard on marketing that anime as a mainstream anime for all audiences and I don’t think it is. It is obviously aimed at an audience that likes GL. But, people doesn’t seem to understand this, which that review clearly shows. It doesn’t seem like the person who has written the review understands what GL is about and why it is even done to begin with.

      People who review stuff (and in general) should learn how to separate reality from fantasy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really don’t like the way how people judge Yuri on ice, I mean this anime is soooooo good and when ever I recommend this to people they say that this anime is so gay I am not going to watch it and every time when they say that I am like “what the hell why are you only seeing that in this, this anime has more than just two boys falling in love, it shows us about figure skating, competative spirit and about friendship” and I hope everyone understands it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As horrible as this sounds that is one reason I wished Yuri’s and Victor’s relationship never went beyond a bromance. I wanted a sports anime about ice skating because that has never been done in that way before. To be honest, I actually don’t think it is their relationship that is the problem, I think it is how the world blew it up to begin with. Suddenly everybody screamed about gay representation (which is good of course) and how cute they were and how awesome the anime was, and everybody forgot about what the anime was really about and focused everything on only their romantic relationship. The new fandom that got involved after Buzzfeed sold YoI to the world got nasty. That scared and still scares non BL people away. Unfortunately because it is an amazing sports anime.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. first of thankyou for stating that Yuri on Ice is not boys love, because it is not and I have been in so many online debates about that one subject. Second another awesome piece I see boys love and yaoi as a fantasy but at the same time I do believe there is LGBTQ+ entertainment out there that any fujoshi or fudanshi can enjoy, of course there does need to be line between the two as well. What might be fantasy in one might not work out so well in the other. That being said for any genre there will be tropes and trappings that not everyone will like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have been there too. I gave up after too many argument where people ganged up on me and words got nasty. I just don’t understand how it can be so hard to see the difference. You’re right, there are other LGBTQ+ media out there that we can enjoy too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had no idea that people saw “Yuri on Ice” as BL. It’s clearly a sports anime, like “Free!” or “Haikyuu!” or “Yowapeda.”

    As a queer person, too, I have some issues with the relationship in “Yuri on Ice,” (which I won’t get into here, but if you really want to know, I’d be happy to tell you), but I am VERY glad to see representation outside of BL/yaoi, which, as you say, is not written by queer people for queer people and, thus, we shouldn’t expect it to represent.

    Thing is, there’s just not a ton of easily available (at least for a non-Japanese reader, like myself) #ourvoices in manga. I absolutely loved Otōto no Otto/ My Brother’s Husband, but in a lot of ways the audience for that series is people who need GLBTQ+ 101, you know? (I mean, there are legit pages explaining what pink triangles and rainbow flags mean.) At least the author normally writes specifically for the gay male audience in Japan (‘bara’) and is, presumably, gay himself–but don’t quote me. His official profile doesn’t say, which tells you a lot about the state of GLBTQ+ rights in Japan, IMHO.

    I guess that’s maybe my question/thought. A lot of what we get is filtered through the lens of Japanese attitudes towards GLBTQ+ stuff. Generally, in manga publishing (and we know from our own publishing industry that can be miles behind where the average reader actually is), what I see seems super behind the curve in things like trans issues (reading Gangsta. can be hard because Worick, who is _clearly implied_ to be pansexual, still uses an outdated and offensive word to describe his trans lovers. Even in BL/yaoi, when trans characters show up they’re often called ‘new half,’ which is fairly derogatory according to the Japans GLBTQ+ sites I’ve read.)

    So, yeah. I’d love to see better representation in ‘mainstream’ manga/anime, but I’m not holding my breath. I’ll take imperfect attempts in the meantime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that most people who calls YoI boys love are those new to the genre and those who actually haven’t read or seen any boys love at all. We who have read and seen BL for a while before YoI came out watched it with different eyes I think. Same probably with those who started to watch it as a sports anime from the very first episode. There was an incredibly surge of viewers after a month or so when Buzzfeed discovered it and made a thing out of it. It’s the syndrome of “Hey, I discovered a new thing and now I must shout it out to the world” and then they drag other people into it and so the snowball is rolling. That is my theory at least. I can’t say that I know any of those “old” fujoshis calling YoI a BL.

      As for Yuri and Victor yeah… I’d love to hear your thoughts on their relationship. My main issue is that their relationship actually never have been confirmed. It is very ambiguous and can still be interpreted as nothing more than a bromance. They hide the kiss, if it is a kiss, they call rings lucky charms, they joke about getting married, Victor is very cartoonish gay at times (if you can say that. I can’t find the right word but you understand what I mean?). I wish they were clear with what the relationship really is.

      I haven’t read My Brother’s Husband but I want to and it is on my to read list. Educational is good I suppose but it can be too good too. I feel like, it is sad if a rainbow flag needs explanation. Well, I am gonna pick this title up in the near future because I have been curious about it. I think the story sounds interesting.

      It’s interesting with BL manga because either everyone is completely against gay relationships and thinks the mc are disgusting or everybody is gay and thinks it’s wonderful. In one family with three brothers all three brothers are gay and have the most gorgeous boyfriend. Well, there are of course books in the middle too but still, I don’t understand those extremes to be honest. But yeah, it is sad to see how the attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community is in Japan. I wonder what impact BL/GL have on the readers there? I can too little about what education kids get in school and how much they talk about LGBTQ+. Maybe there is a problem with reality vs fantasy when it comes to BL there? I don’t know. Where I live we (and school) talk a lot about LGBTQ+ and what rights people have. I do live in a very liberal country and I am aware that not all places are the same.

      We need more representation in non-BL/GL manga/anime. That’s a fact. If it will happen? I think so, but it will not happen over night and it takes a change in people’s minds in Japan for it to happen. YoI is a good start.

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      1. Yeah, I had a similar issue about Yuri and Viktor. Fandom tells me that their relationship is more overtly gay in the OVA, but I can’t confirm, because I haven’t watched it.

        I hated the ‘big reveal’ episode (10?), because it felt like sloppy writing to me. All those characters watched Yuri flirt outrageously while drunk and never, EVER talked to him about it? Don’t we even see that someone has pictures? I mean… it felt like the writers woke up an said to themselves, “Oh, crap, we need to make this relationship seem less one-sided…” and totally wrote a ‘retcon’ episode.

        On the other hand, I totally ship Otabek and Yuri (P) and there’s even less canon evidence for them. I guess what I like there is that, at least, their relationship is developing On Screen.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t think there is an OVA? 🤔 The only thing extra I can think of is Yuri’s Welcome to the madness and that’s only him and Otabek. My only issue with them is the fact that Yuri is only 15 and doesn’t Otabek have a girlfriend? Or maybe I am thinking of the wrong person? They do have chemistry though.

        Yeah, I feel the same with that party thing. I am still convinced that it wasn’t supposed to become a gay story. I think that is an after thought and that might explain the big reveal. Because never ever would no one tell Yuuri about that night. I mean, Victor was his big hero since he was little, surely someone would mention to him what a fool he made of himself, stripping down to his underwear with his idol. Yeah, I don’t buy it. They have talked about a movie, let’s see if there will ever be one. They never meant for it to go beyond one season when they started.

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  5. I did a small post about Boys love and why I as a gay guy I don’t like them those kind of shows. I don’t know if it is one of the posts you’ve read, but here is the link if you are curious to read it 🙂 arthifis.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/why-as-gay-guy-i-dont-like-shounen-ai-animes/

    I’m not going to say everything I said in that post, but since this is a topic I’m interested I want to show you my point of view! Bare with me because it may take a long comment to do it! XD

    First let me address Animes like Yuri!!! On Ice and No.6 which are not boys love as you said! The anime has a gay relationship but does not focus on that as you very well said it! I do think as you that we need more Animes like those (and with girls couples too), even if they aren’t the main characters. Even if it ends up being side characters being i a gay relationship that’s completely ok with me! What I want is that gay relationships start to be looked as normal! Really, if you watched my daily life with my boyfriend we are just a normal couple living the life equally and with the same dreams as a straight couple! We even share our house chores so we both have some time to ourselves.

    However, let me address the Boys love theme and here I’m speaking about Anime not Manga. The manga universe is way more vast and I don’t have knowledge enough of it to give any opinion. I think the best way to describe it is: I would love to see more shoujo Animes but with gay couples at its center. Most Boys love Anime at the moment do not represent whatsoever the LGBTQ+ relationiships because of these points: Generally having a huge gap, sexually assaulting turns people gay, always a top and a bottom and I’m not even talking sexually, abusive relationships… And I think that’s all… Yes, you can say that well these kind of shows are targeted to a minority audience that likes to fantasyse with that. Well, as a gay guy and I know that there are many out there I would just have some boy love, god even yaoi, with just normal couples! Where they respect each other, both of them have more or less the same age and well just make a story around it as they already do it to shoujo! Yeah, they are centring in a gay romance, but a healthy one! One example that I have (and it’s othe only one) is Doukyuusei which I completely loved!

    Now, do I think they should end and destroy every Boys Love Anime out there that are about sexual harassment and so on? No! There is a target for that as you say and if there are people liking it I don’t really see the reason to just end it! However I do think that we should have more Anime like Doukyuusei, because you know, I’m gay and makes me happy seeing an Anime about two normal guys falling in love! 😛

    Sorry for the HUGE comment, but I really liked your post and how you shared your opinion so I wanted to share mine! I think that’s what makes blogging interesting doesn’t it? XD

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you! I really appreciate you huge comment. 😀 It is interesting to read your thoughts. I hadn’t read your post before but now I have. I think you have some really good reasons for disliking BL. Some of them are why I am drawn to BL.

      The forced into gayness is a trope i have a hard time with. I don’t understand how that works. Or, well, I kind of do IF the character would have shown some sort of signs before that he might be bisexual or perhaps that he wasn’t interested in dating and such. But if he is a perfectly fine, straight guy, that is just strange and disturbing. Like how churches “cures” gay guys with prayers and other nasty methods.

      Abusive relationships. Well, they exist. I can relate to that. Now this is getting very personal. I watch and I like that trope because I’ve been in that kind of a relationship myself. To be pushed around and pulled down on a bed and forced to have sex with the guy you are supposedly (yeah, I was unsure but in the end I was manipulated to believe in it) in love with even though you don’t want to was my life for over 2,5 years. “If you don’t do as I say I’ll leave you.” “If you don’t want to sleep with my I’m gonna take what I want anyway.” “I’m gonna make you say you love me.” Familiar tropes? Yeah, that was my life and now I can watch it but with a happy ending. It sounds sick, I know. One should never condone abuse and one should never romanticize abuse (which I am not) but to put someone else in my role is one way of knowing that I was okay even after that relationship. It took me 10 years to recover from that after I got out. BL has helped me a lot in that aspect.

      Top and bottom yeah: You are talking about a wife and husband. These old ideas of who takes care of the household and who provides for the family. Well, in my house my husband is the wife… and the husband. I am that lazy blob who lays on the sofa and watches anime. 😎 No, but I’d say that what you two have is what every couple should have, no matter if the couple is two guys, two girls or one guy and one girl. There should be no tops or bottoms. It’s just an old fashioned way of thinking. Unfortunately many people are still stuck in this way of thinking and I think it is especially usual in Japan and other eastern countries, thus it reflects in anime and manga.

      I agree with you; there needs to be more shojoesque BL. Normal guys having normal relationships with all the drama that comes with it. Doukyuusei is the perfect example of that. I love that movie. I don’t know hove many times I have watched it. There is a manga as well. I think it has three volumes. Some day I will read it. And yes, there are a lot of manga out there that is just like that, normal guys who have relationships. “I hear the sunspot” is one for example. I might try and make a list of kind BL anime if I can find some more than Doukyuusei that fits the profile.

      Well, here’s for another huge comment. 😉 I love to discuss and share thoughts so I really love your comment. 😊 Thank you for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Nicely said.
    I don’t think we need to change boys love itself (though a little less violence might be nice occasionally – personal preference), but mainstream shows need a wider representation of relationships. It would actually be better that way because a range of relationships shouldn’t be exclusive to niche markets but should be mainstream.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I absolutely agree in all you say. I don’t like the forced into gay trope at all in BL so that could be a little bit toned down perhaps. The violence isn’t something I am too much against (you can read my answer to Arthifis for the reason for that) but I know it can be disturbing in certain situations. Sometimes it doesn’t add anything. But yeah, mainstream really needs to up their game. Just make it natural, it can’t be that hard. Treat people like people and all should be okey, that’s what I think. They don’t have to be mcs even, just a couple on the side is fine as long as they are there. Thank you for your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Everything you said. Truth. There are lots of BL anime that’s catered very specifically. It’s hard to find one with a good balance and without some sort of traumatic event causing one of the protagonists to become gay or realize that they’re gay. Also, agreed that YoI is not a BL. i just agree with everything in this post in its entirety, so I won’t say much else ❤ great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I mean, the problem is when people who enjoy boy’s love start saying that stuff in real life. Which like you said is typically, a very small sliver of the audience, and typically they are younger then 18. Personally, I’ve seen and been involved in some pretty ugly incidents where fans shot their mouth of about ‘OMG. OMG. OMG REAL LIFE YAOI!’. Like that’s not okay, never will be, and somehow I wish these younger fans got it together. Real life people are not going to be like your fantasy characters.

    I don’t mind that people like yaoi. I just hate when they’ll scream defensive for their problematic (read as: abusive, non-conseual, not normal age gaps), but real life issues they don’t even try. I’m not saying every BL fan needs to be an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, not at all. But these fans that live for all the drama in those fiction worlds that almost never happens; would learn a thing or two about the real life drama.

    I agree that the genre does not need to change. It’s not meant to be representive of real couples. However, if some shifts could be made so it’s less of a fetish that’d be great. Also loved your comments on YOI. Totally agree it’s not a BL, and that it gets too much flack for that. Then again, the fanbase has really done a number on my ego so I doubt I’ll ever really talk about it. Thanks again for your comments! Glad to see I’m not alone in this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually think that if you watch BL and is so engaged in it that you scream loud about it then it is your business to actually acknowledge the real life problem of LGBTQ+ too. They do go hand in hand. You can’t like fictional gay men and then dislike or be indifferent to gay real men and their rights. It doesn’t compute. Then again, many of these BL fans live in a bubble where everything is pink and flowerish. When some girls even manage to make Killing Stalking into some romantic tale then things have gone way to far.

      YoI yeah; that is a fandom I am never setting my foot in again. They made me avoid the anime for a very long time. At the end of the running I didn’t even want to watch the series. I of course finished it but all the new viewers that came after the Buzzfeed thing sort of ruined a lot. So yeah, I love YoI but the fandom is a hellhole. ( and people blame fujoshis but I beg to differ. Yes they are there obviously but it is the new girls that are the worst. The ones who just discovered something exotic in a gay couple. The ones who see the real life yaoi on the streets. Ugh, I welcome new people to the world of BL but they should behave.)

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  9. So accurate. YoI is pretty much the same as No. 6. I usually explain it works such as these as: “It’s not a story about gays per se. There are two characters who fell in love, and it just so happens that they are both men, and in their universe, no one’s fussing about it.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! It’s a shame so many people can’t see it that way though. Either they hate the fact that they are gay or they make a huge thing about it.

      Like

  10. I feel like a lot of hatred toward BL / yaoi is unfair. Have you ever read bara? It’s also as problematic as BL.

    1. Rape
    Bara / Gay manga have it too. Gengoroh Tagame, Mentaiko, and many author write rape in their story. In Grandpa Flesh Carrot, grandpa rape grandson because of viagra effect. There’s also many story where a married man with kid have an affair with their coworker, or “I’m straight but want to have sex with a man once”

    2. Incest / Abuse
    Have it. Just read any stuff created by Gengoroh Tagame. Google Massive and Creta no Meushi

    3. Unrealistic story / character
    In bara, there’s a little brother that have sex with his big brother because “My brother cannot get laid, so I will have sex with him”

    Mind you, all of these story are written by gay men. Believe it or not, I know someone that hate BL/yaoi because it’s full or rape but like Mentaiko and Gengoroh Tagame. Mentaiko write a story where a man being raped in front of his girlfriend. And yet there’s no “Boycott bara!” or “Why I dislike bara”

    I wish people would just be honest. The reason they hate BL is because they are written by and for women.

    Like

  11. I feel like a lot of hatred toward BL / yaoi is unfair. Have you ever read bara? It’s also as problematic as BL.

    1. Rape
    Bara / Gay manga have it too. Gengoroh Tagame, Mentaiko, and many author write rape in their story. In Grandpa Flesh Carrot, grandpa rape grandson because of viagra effect. There’s also many story where a married man with kid have an affair with their coworker, or “I’m straight but want to have sex with a man once”

    2. Incest / Abuse
    Have it. Just read any stuff created by Gengoroh Tagame. Google Massive and Creta no Meushi

    3. Unrealistic story / character
    In bara, there’s a little brother that have sex with his big brother because “My brother cannot get laid, so I will have sex with him”

    Mind you, all of these story are written by gay men. Believe it or not, I know someone that hate BL/yaoi because it’s full or rape but like Mentaiko and Gengoroh Tagame. Mentaiko write a story where a man being raped in front of his girlfriend. And yet there’s no “Boycott bara!” or “Why I dislike bara”

    I wish people would just be honest. The reason they hate BL is because BL are written by and for women. Nothing to do with rape, or anything like that. If the problem is rape, then how come Gengoroh Tagame, Mentaiko, etc are so famous?

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