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A Note on Yaoi Manga

I’ve spent almost all the Christmas holidays so far obsessing over Yaoi Manga. They’re written by women, mainly for a female audience but are about gay relationships. There’s always an older guy who’s top; a younger more androgynous one (like Bowie, or Tadzio) who constantly gets raped. The external world is a yakuza one of crime, physical action, and sexual brutality. The leads, however, think only of their all-encompassing feeling. The only impediment to their love is what each feels for the other, homophobia only manifested as a prelude to a rape, which is endured but often results in sexual pleasure. There are usually no women at all in these S&M-y gay stories written by women for women, or at best a fleeting appearance (a prostitute; a kidnap victim). The external world is ruled by power relations, wealth and money; the internal world by power relations that are dissolved through mutuality of feeling that goes beyond passion. I thought these were all fascinating original observations based on a vast amount of current reading and was slightly deflated to find them all (with greater depth and range) in the genre’s wikipedia page.

José Arroyo