Throughout the years, the yaoi genre has come across many different types of stereotypes fans have come to expect. Whether it is something simple like the big tough seme has to take a sick day or something controversial like a dubious start of a relationship. There are certainly tropes fans will flock to and others that are avidly avoided.
Japanese and American audiences both have different standards on what they deem as acceptable content and what resonates with their local fans. As social media progresses more and more each year, the blending of these cultures has started to see much more common ground.
The biggest and most controversial trope, dubois and/or non consent, has seen the most progress over the years. The "rape-fantasy" has dominated the bl genre for years as a means of coping with homophobia, but at the same time, severely misrepresented the LGBTQ communities for quite a while. Many people that identify with the LGBTQ community have shuned yaoi for this reason among other missteps portrayed in "typical" yaoi books.
Some people, however, read the yaoi genre for this exact reason. Since it is in paper form and not physically hurting someone, this can be used as an outlet for a multitude of reasons. It can help someone overcome their own personal traumas, or used as an outlet for personal expression.
This is not to say that non consent is a healthy start to a relationship by any means. Like "The Tyrant Falls in Love" series, it starts in this trope to later progress into a healthier relationship. More modern titles like "Don't be Cruel," have also started in such a matter, but have later brought up the topic for the characters to discuss and remorse their actions.
As the yaoi genre evolves, as does its tropes and character progressions. With the cultural gaps becoming slimmer and slimmer each year, yaoi audiences world wide are more and more drawn to realistic plots and human emotions. Projects like Juné's yabara collaboration with Velvet Toucher hope to mend the gap between yaoi, LGBTQ, and indie comic book audiences alike.
Below is our video blog discussing "The Tyrant Falls in Love" volume 1 and why you should give older titles a chance. Keeping an open mind, learning what you like to read vs what you do not enjoy, and having healthy discussion in welcoming communities is the best way to keep modernizing the bl genre and bridge the gap between cultures.
The Boys Love Book Club is back with our latest video highlighting the work of Hideyoshico. She has an expressive, atypical yaoi art style in which she highlights the manly features of her men. Hair legs, tough skin, even her character's body language steps away from the typical bishounen look and gives breath to Hideyoshico's own unique style. In this week's BLBC, Gracie covers books one and two of Hideyoshico's "Apple and Honey" series. Watch the video below, read her books, and let us know what you think of this wonderful series!