Flatterer

November 1, 2006

At MangaBlog, Brigid spots a lengthy piece on yaoi from SF Weekly, and I certainly agree that Eliza Strickland has gone above and beyond in sourcing her article, but I did notice one recurring theme:

“`Show us the one-eyed snake!’ screams a blowzy woman, but the boy just smiles demurely.”

“`You don’t need to eat tomorrow; you don’t need to pay rent!’ exhorts the auctioneer, a plump woman bursting out of a black vinyl bustier.”

“Plus, the female reader isn’t forced to compare herself with some idealized girl or woman, because there are none. `I know what I look like naked,’ says one San Francisco fan, who goes by the name Betsy Tea (she preferred not to give her real name to protect her privacy).”

A word picture is being painted, isn’t it? Strickland reserves the unflattering descriptors for anonymous sources. Interview subjects like Justin Hall, Charles Brownstein, and Susan Napier escape any commentary on their body type.