Why I’m A Fujoshi Who Hates Yaoi (and BL)

When someone mentions yaoi, BL, or slash shipping, what are the first things that come to mind for you? Probably something like this:

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Here we have Yaoi Hands™ on a classic pretty boy character. I don’t know what series this is from, but I’m guessing it’s from some high school love story or a sports manga. This is essentially the full yaoi stereotype embodied in one manga panel. Yikes.

Many fandoms have an abundance of M/M ships. Why? Since many fandoms are heavily dominated by primarily male casts, finding well-written female characters to ship is very difficult, so M/M pairings are typically easier to find due to the number of likable male characters compared to female ones. It also partly explains the lack of F/F pairings and the unpopularity they tend to have.

There can also be a lot of straight-bashing in fandoms, especially targeted at female characters who are “getting in the way” of M/M pairings. The confusing part about this is that 90% of the people saying these things are straight women! It makes no sense. I believe that heterosexual pairings are often shunned in fandoms due to poorly written canon heterosexual romances, especially when the “romantic chemistry” has little support in the canon due to shoddily written friendships and romances. It makes sense: poorly written female characters with weak romance plots are repulsive at best.  Nobody wants to be excited about a baseless M/F romance just because it’s canon when there are better relationships written between two well-developed male characters. This doesn’t make the anti-het attitude any more correct, but it does help to understand where it comes from.

The simple answer would be to just ship M/M pairings. Problem solved, right? Not quite.

Taking a look at the M/M ships, it quickly becomes apparent that many of them are pretty awful as well. Men are frequently feminized to an insulting level and relationship dynamics can all too often be based on unhealthy grounds such as abuse and disrespect. I’ve heard horror stories of numerous yaoi animes and mangas involving rape scenes as the start of a relationship. Immediately, I’m repulsed and will run as far away from it as I can. I can’t fathom why anyone would deem this to be acceptable, let alone enjoy it. Even without abuse involved, many M/M ships turn into same-sex romances with heterosexual relationship dynamics that aren’t accurate. It’s also a really insulting portrayal of the LGBT community, doing a terrible job of depicting these relationships.  While M/M ships are not be created with the intent to be representative, they do still reflect on real people, as just about all forms of media do. It’s not helping to shed a positive light on an already marginalized population.

To make matters worse, we often have main characters in yaoi (or BL in general) that follow the “we’re not gay, we just love each other” trope. This also continues to be true in some areas of fandom. The characters are seldom depicted as actually being gay, let alone seeing this trait being used to support an already well-developed character. The lack of representation in media can cause people in the LGBT community to feel ignored by mainstream culture, so making a point of ensuring a character isn’t read as gay can be damaging. Considering our modern age, there’s no excuse for this avoidance. It would probably be easier for writers to write their characters as gay rather than spending so much time explaining why they’re straight but don’t act like it.

And if it couldn’t get worse, it does. A lot of ships I see are what I would call “hate ships”. The characters in question are mortal enemies or generally bicker but somehow get along long enough (in the eyes of the fans) to kiss, get in bed, etc. (As someone who avoids NSFW content like the plague, it makes it much harder to find actual relationships rather than just porn that I don’t want to see). It’s really frustrating and I hate how these stereotypes have become the default in fandoms. It shouldn’t be a rare occurrence to come across a relationship built on genuine love and mutual respect.

Occasionally, I find a gem among the trash where there are two masculine men that genuinely care for each other in canon, most often as friends. Even if these ships are never confirmed, these pairings make me happy because it breaks the stereotypes. No hate, no over-feminization. It’s even better when the fandom actually headcanons the characters in question as gay, even when the canon evidence may be lacking.

An example of this distinction would be Heavy/Medic in comparison to Sniper/Spy from TF2. Unlike the frenemy “hate ship” relationship Sniper and Spy have, Heavy and Medic are shown throughout the canon to genuinely care for one another and to work well as a pair in battle. There’s a healthy basis for their friendship that could lead to a healthy romance. Neither of them are effeminate, either (and it bothers me when fans sometimes try to force Medic into the “girl” role of the relationship because it’s incredibly inaccurate and insulting to his character). There’s room to possibly interpret them as being gay (not just for each other) and, at the same time, being badasses who wouldn’t take anyone’s crap. Neither of them looks like a pretty boy; they’re also middle-age, which is hardly standard in M/M pairings. Heavy/Medic breaks all the “rules” of slash (and yaoi or BL), making it the perfect ship for me. I like the similar dynamic in Junkrat/Roadhog in Overwatch, because it essentially does the same thing a bit differently. Roadhog is not young and neither of them are what many would consider to be traditionally handsome. They’re crazed criminals and partners in crime who, in my opinion, would do anything to defend each other if they needed to. Again, considering Overwatch already has Tracer/Emily, it is very well possible that this ship could be confirmed in the future, let alone headcanoning them as gay in fandom only. These pairings are a refreshing change of pace from the others.

I would list other examples of good M/M pairings… if I had any. I know others exist, but these are some of the few that truly stand apart from the rest in my opinion. So few manage to do what Heavy/Medic and Junkrat/Roadhog does to break the stereotypes in the best ways possible. It’s sad to see that the stereotypes perpetuated by fandoms and the canons they come from have failed to make many M/M ships any good. I adore my ships but I tend to despise others, and it’s not always because it would break up my OTP.

It may never happen, but I long for the day when fandoms will realize that these harmful stereotypes around slash, BL, and yaoi need to change. While I may find Yaoi Hands™ very amusing, I tire of the constant hate ships and emasculation of male characters in the name of shipping. It’s easy to see that change is needed, and fast. Until that day, I’ll do my part to create fanworks that support healthy M/M pairings and to seek media that does this well. No matter what you ship, we all deserve better than what the stereotypes allow for. That’s why I’m a fujoshi who hates yaoi.

 

19 comments

  1. To be honest, after 15 years, I too am getting tired of men in BL acting like girly lesbians because the women writing them know little to nothing about men. The problem is that it’s all we’ve got. Men don’t make yaoi for women, women tend to not like Bara or Otokonoko, the porn industry does not make gay porn for women either, & there are an increasing amount of men coming out as Fudanshis.

    Straight women can’t really be fujoshis; it’s just a phase or side-interest for them. They tend to fantasize themself in the uke’s place & prefer the men to be bisexual. Feminists can’t be fujoshis either. It’s all about the warship of the male body, love between men, sex between men. Female characters are obstacles & rivals that get in the way or allies who try to bring the couples together. If a woman also like yuri & can’t bring herself to watch gay porn, then she can’t claim to be a fujoshi.

  2. It’s simply an issue because the straight and lesbian alike in modern times can very easily have gender dysphoria, and YAOI is not a very . . . Well positive catalyst here, or to better explain it, YAOI does exactly the things one should avoid at all costs.

    1) does it antagonized female gender?

    2) does it make female hate their sex?

    3) did it feminize younger male in story?

    4) did it throw all relation in “love” sec?

    5) did find comfort in assault of gay char?

    6) was subconscious hate reflected too?

    Mostly

    Answer to all these are yes, it means YAOI culture in general is actually where things went wrong, and many don’t know it but feminism was slightly responsible for this as well back after WW II, where the Toxic Feminism was followed under wrong idea.

    It was time when one of first few YAOI was made, and that day a bad mould was set in the cement, story easily showed a man suddenly being raped by other man.

    Ofocourse the roles between two men were heavily gendered, which even as a very hetrosexual man, I find silly and very pointless, because while it’s my ideolism, and my ideals, charm of a gay couple lies in the fact that they both are men and they don’t need to have same dynamic as men and woman, however, YAOI did not care about it, it focused on other things.

    1) Remove Females.

    2) Feminize a Male.

    3) Proceed

    Now focus that basically YAOI’s like one huge Phobia for woman but someone else is living the night mare for them, and in it lot of woman find joy, the centre of focus is not the “Top/Penetrator” but the one man who is “Bottom/Submissive” man,

    Idea of him being violated, being raped, suddenly his personality bend to a person completely something else, it is drastic in most cases,. . . . It is sad, it is almost if the fans hold a grudge against how characters are written, and even after all these years not a lot have changed to be just honest.

  3. You are not a fujoshi if you hate yaoi or BL. Fujoshi is rooted from Japan and literally means “rotten woman” as in liking male/male relationships is sinning and making you into a rotten woman.

    Also even though a lot of yaoi tropes are problematic, fujoshi don’t care because it’s seen as fantasy to them, hence why they (and the rest of the Japanese otaku community) don’t care about political correctness.

  4. Interesting commentary you present, as well as the other comments on here. I too dislike the feminization that often goes overboard it becomes ridiculous and hence annoying. Although, there is the ‘seke’ type of BL, have you heard about that? Maybe it is one of the better sides/genre to this subculture that acts like a compromise. And because it subverts the usual tropes associated with yaoi, it’s not that popular a theme either. But there are a few that are decent.

  5. I understand where you are coming from but ive spent years around a lot of guys who dated guys and those who did not. You say that they are overly girly but most of these are either highschool age or barely older characters. A lot of the guys i knew were more feminine than me. I am a fujoshi i love yaoi yes rape is wrong but it happens in a lot of relationships especially when no one knows of said relationship. At least half of the people i know who were in same sex relationships were forced in some way. Also you say two masculine men that care for eachother is a gem some men are just not masculine are ypu saying that two effeminate men cant be just friends. Two masculine men can be friends and more but they have to learn to give and take the same with two effeminate guys and one of each a relationship needs to give and take to work but its usually easier for one of each to be shown its more pleasing and its the most seen in public at least where i live. I know i ranted im sorry but i dont think what you are saying makes sense. Have a nice day!

  6. Every person’s moral compass works differently. Some people are repulsed by fiction some are not. Just like you said yaoi isn’t meant to represent the LGBTQ+ community. It’s simply smut or erotica made by women for women. So I guess that’s why even tho I am not personally into dub con I can understand where people are coming from. It’s just kinks. Nothing else. Many times I have seen people confessing to roleplaying such dub con scenarios (irl of course it’s between consenting adults with safe words) and many people enjoy those kinks in fiction. They are not harming anyone by doing so. So I guess that’s why I don’t really care much about it.

    • Novelist Logic : Rape is fine if they fall in love at the end.

      To be honest, I’ve read straight couples who have raped sometime in the end. It’s not just yaoi stuck with this, but a lot of books. People just need to remember it’s fiction.

      I am also kind of pissed about feminized males. Now, they are basically just putting an overly submissive, pretty woman and labeling her as a man. What’s the point of writing gay stuff if it’s this sad? It’s just a pitiful woman labeled as man. Most men(and woman) aren’t like this. They tend to have backbone some way or another.

      Oh well, people just need to remember it’s all fiction.

      • Your opinion collapsed the moment you wrote “it’s fiction”. It’s obvious, Albert.

        The problem is that the yaoi genre is disgusting and cruel, at least in the ones I’ve read. Many fans glorify the rape fantasy, but are disgusted when a woman is sexually abused in the movies, isn’t that the same thing?

        By their logic, if a man rapes another man, it’s okay. If a man rapes a woman, it’s the end of the world.

        People who approve of rape, even if it’s fictional, need to be mentally evaluated.

        On my continent, we use the term shōnen-ai to differentiate the content present in homosexual relationships between men.

  7. I also am a “fujoshi” and there is a few “BL” and “Yaoi” that are good. I don’t exactly like the incest, fetish, and also rape in most BL because they’re gross and completely wrong. Also feminizing men is wrong. I honestly like a few BL’s because of the well thought stories. Like for example, “Here u are” is a great one. Another good one is probably, “10 years I loved you the most” because of its sadness and the character development. And yes, most BL’s have some sort of stereotype and that’s what is toxic about BL. Then again, some BL aren’t that bad. So, in conclusion most BL can be toxic. Just depending. But, there are good ones.

  8. If you don’t like yaoi then why do u call yourself a fujoshi. The title of this damn thing doesn’t even make sense…can’t you think of a better one. I get what you’re trying to say but there’s no point for you to say all of this just because you don’t like it. Just because you don’t ship it doesn’t mean others doesn’t everyone has their other opinions on what they want to read.

    • so ur just gonna justify rape in fiction??? u may think that it isn’t harmful but a lot of yaois fetishize rape and it’s not ok. yaoi fetishizes gay relationships as well and incest. it’s just problematic as hell.

  9. your not a fujoshi is you hate yoai and BL i do get were your coming form but you cant call your a fujoshi since a Fujoshi is some who loves/likes yoai and bl

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