chapter  4
26 Pages

The Love between ‘Beautiful Boys’ in Women’s Comics

In the previous chapter, I argued that mainstream media tend to conflate homosexuality with gender nonconformism and that gay men are therefore frequently shown to be women manqué. So long as gay men (or rather okama) content themselves with their ascribed role as entertainers, they are accommodated, even appreciated. Yet, in some media representations when gay men turn up as friends or colleagues, they are received more coldly-often with fear and contempt. However, in this chapter and the next, I shall argue that this vision of the ‘feminine man,’ when consumed by a female audience, is received more positively. There are certain discourses in Japanese media either aimed at or produced by women which represent gay men (understood to be woman-like and therefore sympathetic to women and their problems) as preferable to straight men. I shall first look at the genre of boy-love (shōnen’ai) which exists in women’s comic fiction.