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.

9 Responses to Flatterer

  1. Lyle says:

    Ah, the SF Weekly, it’s like someone took every bad stereotype of bloggers (minus the swearing) or message board reviewers and put it in print form. Our local version of The Daily Show with Craig Kilborn.

    The paper is published by New Times Media who seems like they want to be the Clear Channel of Alternative Newsweeklys. What that means is hil-larious blowups between New Times and the management of the loudest independently-owned local newsweekly.

    I remember the SF Weekly’s coverage of APE a few years back which was mostly a rant that APE attendees didn’t care about making comics but t-shirts that can be sold at a higher price point for less effort. That article gave me a few chuckles since I had picked up my biggest stack of minicomics that year.

    OTOH, another New Times paper, The East Bay Express has the occasional good article. The regular columnists still read like they’re desperate to prove how much better they are than their subjects.

  2. T Anderson says:

    There is this stereo type that all women who love, create, and or buy BL are a bunch of hulking fat white girls with no sex lives.

    Thank G*d PWCW had the sense to take some pictures…

  3. David Welsh says:

    Okay, I’m relieved that I wasn’t just reading too much into it, since that’s my default setting.

  4. T Anderson says:

    Sorry for the long post:

    I was never sensitive to it until I started doing cons about two years ago and Caroline and I acquired Gungrave fan-dudes who’d come and get doujinshi from us in the fan-alley. They’d come up and say things like, ‘You’re not what I expected’. And I’d say, ‘What do you mean.’ and being ‘fan-dudes’ who often did fit their stereotype (^^) they would tell me exactly what there thoughts were, in terms of women they think are into or creating, ‘yaoi’.

    Juxtapose Fantasy writer Tricia Owens encountered it also in a radio interview about two years ago when they wanted to talk to her about her site and her work. And one of the men interviewing her said, ‘Why do you do this stuff…you’re so attractive?!’ 0_o. It’s as if to say…”why are you into that guy-on-guy when you’re hot enough to get laid on your own”.

    Of course it’s a two way street. Many BL fen can and do love all things ‘gay’, as long as the men look like some form of beauty-boy, and not like…their dad, brother, or the guy at the comic book shop. 0_0. They’re all for “BL in RL” (I hate that notion BTW} as long as there are no bears, cubs, chubs, and no gay man ever makes Logan’s Run’s sanctuary.

  5. David Welsh says:

    That rings a bell. When it was announced that Rosario Dawson was going to write a comic, you’d have thought it was the end of the world.

    I think on April Fool’s Day, a BL publisher should mock up a fake announcement of a Tagame license.

  6. Lyle says:

    I’ve been meaning to ask if anyone saw the cover to that SF Weekly. Hell-ooo stereotype (though, with the SF Weekly, that’s not much of a surprise). I might have to post it.

    Also, it looks like that article was re-used by the Village Voice (also owned by New Times, which — as the Clear Channel of alternative newsweeklies — likes to reuse content across markets, one week the SF Weekly and the East Bay Express had the same cover story).

  7. David Welsh says:

    Oh, you really should scan that cover, as you’ve got me really curious now. And I’ve seen other people say that, not only is New Times making the article as portable as possible, it’s basically a retread for Village Voice readers, as the paper ran a very similar story a couple of years ago, prior to New Times acquiring the Voice.

    If I was still in journalism, I have this horrible feeling that I’d probably be working for them.

  8. T Anderson says:

    The cover is repugnant, and is hardly a representation of BL. It’s more a representation of badly rendered shotakon. *livid*

  9. A. Neculai says:

    Holy crap, that cover is disturbing and wrong on so many levels! I honestly feel disgusted and I guarantee to you all that they do NOT have permission to alter Lara Yokoshima’s image like they did, and whats with the children on the cover. Ohh god this is just so… ohh my god!–>

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