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INTEREST: Boys-Love Authors Discuss the Impact of LGBT Awareness on BL


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Jhechav



Joined: 22 Jan 2016
Posts: 14
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 1:59 pm Reply with quote
This was a lovely article. Thank you for writing on the subject.
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Super_M



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 90
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 2:12 pm Reply with quote
Well, I not big expert but I think problem with BL is that most manga focus only on romance and porn and don't try get broader audience. Shows like YoI offer ice skating, Banana Fish offer mafia, DmmD offer many weird stuff. I'm sure some BL manga offer something more than romance and porn but thats propably minority.
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#HayamiLover



Joined: 22 Jul 2018
Posts: 449
Location: Eastern Europe
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 3:47 pm Reply with quote
Super_M wrote:
Well, I not big expert but I think problem with BL is that most manga focus only on romance and porn and don't try get broader audience. Shows like YoI offer ice skating, Banana Fish offer mafia, DmmD offer many weird stuff. I'm sure some BL manga offer something more than romance and porn but thats propably minority.


The works you mentioned are deliberately not positioned as BL, because the genre, as you yourself mentioned, received a strong reputation as a fanservice for heterosexual women. In this regard, yuri has always been ahead, since the female nature of the genre allowed it do not stop on service.

Nevertheless, in recent years, BL has been successfully developing at the expense of gender-neutral or male-oriented products, which makes it possible to concentrate more on the plot and LGBT than on the fan-service. For example, I can advise you Shimanami Tasogare seinen-manga, which talk about sexual minorities better than many "official" yaoi and yuri works.
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daisicles



Joined: 23 Apr 2019
Posts: 5
Location: USA
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 7:56 pm Reply with quote
Super_M wrote:
Well, I not big expert but I think problem with BL is that most manga focus only on romance and porn and don't try get broader audience. Shows like YoI offer ice skating, Banana Fish offer mafia, DmmD offer many weird stuff. I'm sure some BL manga offer something more than romance and porn but thats propably minority.


Eh, there's plenty of story diversity to be had from bl manga. There's plenty of crime stories and sports stories and weird fantasy stories in bl manga too, plus a ton more themes. The nature of the target audience means there's a lot of romance (bc that's just a lot of what gets aimed at women, josei is the same way), but it's not like every single romantic story goes the same way - and I've read bl titles that don't have any romance or porn besides. I don't think the problem with garnering a broader audience is the romance, or at least that isn't the only problem. Stories aimed at women tend to get less attention, romance or not, and the gay content in bl just compounds the problem.

#HayamiLover wrote:
For example, I can advise you Shimanami Tasogare seinen-manga, which talk about sexual minorities better than many "official" yaoi and yuri works.


I think it's a bit unfair to compare Shimanami Tasogare to bl and yuri titles - that's two entirely different goals storywise. Of course it does a better job talking about lgbt people, that's what it's explicitly and consciously focused on. It's extremely good and something I would recommend for people looking for that kind of story, but it scratches an entirely different story itch.
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fencer_x



Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 218
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 8:13 pm Reply with quote
As a fan of BL manga and LGBT stories in general, I’m GREATLY enjoying the recent trend in publishing stories involving homosexual relationships that are NOT BL. I love the genre, but it has its stereotypes and distasteful tropes, and getting to watch series like Yuri on ice (which is not a romance; it’s Yuri’s story that INCLUDES his romance with Victor) and see the increasing popularity of Sasaki to Miyano (which is everything a PG-rated BL manga should be but the author explicitly eschews the BL label, and it’s placed alongside shoujo romances in manga shops) really gives me hope that one day the BL label won’t even be necessary and it’ll just be a romance subgenre.
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Super_M



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 90
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2019 8:39 am Reply with quote
daisicles wrote:
Stories aimed at women tend to get less attention, romance or not, and the gay content in bl just compounds the problem.

West prefer violence and action shows and male targeted media have more that kind of stuff so I'm not surprised. I think female targeted media focus too much on romance. For example WSJ have manga Act-Age which I think target more female than male audience. Manga focus on Yonagi grows as actress but if this manga was in shoujo magazine Yonagi develompent as actress would be overshadowed by male lead and romance with him. At least that is my impession when I readed some shoujo/BL manga, romance was at first place and the rest goes to the background.

Do not get me wrong there is some true what you said "Stories aimed at women tend to get less attention" and there are good female targeted manga like Clamp works.
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
Posts: 1657
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2019 9:13 am Reply with quote
I am curious to see if we see less problematic elements in BL as the genre shifts from being less for women and more about LGBTQ+ characters; I know that non-con is part of the fantasy element for a lot of girls and women who enjoy the genre, but I personally have a hard time squaring those elements with the Western stereotype of predatory gay men being fairly prevalent, and that makes it a lot harder for me to find stories I enjoy within the BL genre.

Off topic, but I’m dreading the day Act-Age does a romance plot; I’m practically expecting our fresh out of high school heroine to fall for the much much older producer because that's just how a lot of these stories pan out for some reason. Rolling Eyes


Last edited by whiskeyii on Mon May 27, 2019 2:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 1734
Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2019 1:21 pm Reply with quote
fencer_x wrote:
hope that one day the BL label won’t even be necessary and it’ll just be a romance subgenre.


I hope so, too - and I think we're already starting to see that shift with LGBTQ+ romance novels in the west. It used to be much more difficult to find them, but authors like Cat Sebastian are getting much more mainstream now, with mass market paperbacks of her books available even in chain brick-and-mortar stores. (I got her novel about the romance between a nonbinary person and a bisexual man at my local Books a Million.) It'd be nice if this became an international romance genre trend.
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Graceful Nanami



Joined: 24 Aug 2011
Posts: 291
Location: Virginia, USA
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2019 5:28 pm Reply with quote
Banana Fish is not BL but it was paving the way for it in a unique way somewhat in the mid 1980s.
No one ever talks about Banana Fish and it needs so much more attention for so many reasons.
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daisicles



Joined: 23 Apr 2019
Posts: 5
Location: USA
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2019 6:13 pm Reply with quote
Super_M wrote:
West prefer violence and action shows and male targeted media have more that kind of stuff so I'm not surprised. I think female targeted media focus too much on romance. For example WSJ have manga Act-Age which I think target more female than male audience. Manga focus on Yonagi grows as actress but if this manga was in shoujo magazine Yonagi develompent as actress would be overshadowed by male lead and romance with him. At least that is my impession when I readed some shoujo/BL manga, romance was at first place and the rest goes to the background.


It's not just the west, unfortunately. The thing is, there are plenty of titles clearly aimed at a female audience that end up technically being shounen or seinen bc that's the magazine they get published in - girls and women will read those magazines but boys and men largely won't pick up shoujo or josei magazines, so the titles with that broader audience appeal go there. (For example, 10 Dance is very much a bl title and started out in a bl magazine but is currently serialized in a seinen magazine bc apparently a ballroom dancing-themed romance appeals to a lot of readers)

I don't really know Act-Age, but I'd be willing to bet it'd be much the same outside of WSJ. There's more romance in female-aimed titles, but it's not the only thing in them, you know? Banana Fish sure isn't only romance, even if it's shoujo. Wink

With the problematic elements in bl - I'm hoping there's less of that too, though it feels like it's largely been heading that way over the last several years anyway. The dodgy stuff isn't really unique to bl (poking around genres on Renta is really enlightening bc apparently bad porn tropes are universal), but I'm kinda tired of a lot of it all the same, even if I'm more tolerant of it in some genres than others.
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MetalEmolga7



Joined: 28 Sep 2018
Posts: 9
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2019 11:51 pm Reply with quote
fencer_x wrote:
love the genre, but it has its stereotypes and distasteful tropes


Why do people assume BL tropes started with BL. Most BL tropes are just standard romance tropes.

fencer_x wrote:
(which is everything a PG-rated BL manga should be but the author explicitly eschews the BL label, and it’s placed alongside shoujo romances in manga shops) really gives me hope that one day the BL label won’t even be necessary and it’ll just be a romance subgenre.


BL already is a subgenre of shoujo romance. It has always been a sub genre of shoujo romance. It has never not been a sub genre of shoujo romance.

fwhiskeyii wrote:
I am curious to see if we see less problematic elements in BL as the genre shifts from being less for women and more about LGBTQ+ characters


Because obviously when a product is made for women that makes it bad. And when it's no longer made for women that makes it good. And apparently no women want to read stories about LGBTQ+ characters including LGBTQ+ women Rolling Eyes
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Alexis.Anagram



Joined: 26 Jan 2011
Posts: 204
Location: Mishopshno
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 2:25 am Reply with quote
fencer_x wrote:
As a fan of BL manga and LGBT stories in general, I’m GREATLY enjoying the recent trend in publishing stories involving homosexual relationships that are NOT BL. I love the genre, but it has its stereotypes and distasteful tropes, and getting to watch series like Yuri on ice (which is not a romance; it’s Yuri’s story that INCLUDES his romance with Victor) and see the increasing popularity of Sasaki to Miyano (which is everything a PG-rated BL manga should be but the author explicitly eschews the BL label, and it’s placed alongside shoujo romances in manga shops) really gives me hope that one day the BL label won’t even be necessary and it’ll just be a romance subgenre.

To add to this, I'm just happy more queer storytelling is being done by queer authors and content creatores. Like #HayamiLover mentioned with Shimanami Tasogare (I fully appreciate the reference, that went straight into my shopping cart at TRS) or the recent success of titles like My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness and My Brother's Husband, there's a growing trend of positive and authentic self-representation that warms the heart.

As for BL and how it's developing with the times, mm, OK, but that doesn't seem very apparent from the framing of this panel discussion and who was elected to partake in it. One would think that in such a dialogue it might be of some value to highlight the perspectives of queer readers or even one of those mythical gay BL authors. As is it reads more like free publicity for two established and successful writers (I will say I loved Rakugo Shinju) premised almost entirely on speculations about the positive impact of...wait, is it BL on LGBT acceptance, or LGBT acceptance on the general marketability of BL? Hm.
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musouka



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 566
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 11:41 am Reply with quote
Alexis.Anagram wrote:
As for BL and how it's developing with the times, mm, OK, but that doesn't seem very apparent from the framing of this panel discussion and who was elected to partake in it.


Yeah, the out lesbian BL scholar who has studied the genre and written papers on the intersectionality between BL and queer identification definitely has no expertise on the subject of the development of BL.

Alexis.Anagram wrote:
One would think that in such a dialogue it might be of some value to highlight the perspectives of queer readers or even one of those mythical gay BL authors.


You mean like the person heading the discussion? Also "mythical gay BL authors"? Funny how you laud "My Brother's Husband" and then a paragraph later are implying that the mangaka is lying about what he's witnessed first hand as a creator.
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Alexis.Anagram



Joined: 26 Jan 2011
Posts: 204
Location: Mishopshno
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 1:03 pm Reply with quote
musouka wrote:
Yeah, the out lesbian BL scholar who has studied the genre and written papers on the intersectionality between BL and queer identification definitely has no expertise on the subject of the development of BL.

From the sounds of it she does, but that expertise is not apparent from the angle of approach to the topic as described here. Maybe it's a matter of summarization and/or translation, but it sounds like the panel was more about the perspectives and creative processes of the authors and less about an actual analysis rooted in evidence of how BL has broadened in its appeal as a genre.

musouka wrote:
You mean like the person heading the discussion? Also "mythical gay BL authors"? Funny how you laud "My Brother's Husband" and then a paragraph later are implying that the mangaka is lying about what he's witnessed first hand as a creator.

My point wasn't that gay BL authors don't exist, but that they are regularly alluded to by fans of the genre seeking to make a claim towards its validity as a queer format and yet they are conveniently absented from these topics of conversation; the typical tokenized minority. Nice to have around when it's necessary to make a point, but unsought in terms of real representation and leadership.
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daisicles



Joined: 23 Apr 2019
Posts: 5
Location: USA
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 1:48 pm Reply with quote
Alexis.Anagram wrote:
My point wasn't that gay BL authors don't exist, but that they are regularly alluded to by fans of the genre seeking to make a claim towards its validity as a queer format and yet they are conveniently absented from these topics of conversation; the typical tokenized minority. Nice to have around when it's necessary to make a point, but unsought in terms of real representation and leadership.


Perhaps if there weren't a push to make bl into something it wasn't meant to be, there would be no issue with whether or not queer bl mangaka are publicly out. I would argue that it is a queer format by the nature of what it explores, but it isn't (except incidentally) a source for full exploration of the lgbt+ identity and experience and that's fine.

The issue shouldn't be that bl exists, it should be that there aren't enough opportunities for those artists who want to explicitly explore their public identities.
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