Yuri Talk: Incomprehension and Prejudice

The following is a personally translated article from a Spanish blogger, Flame_Xavier. I only take credit for translating his article in English, because I feel he had interesting things to say about people who judge yuri fans for no good reason and BOY are their reasons for saying yuri is crap retarded. So grab a bag of popcorn because this is going to take a while.

Keep in mind that some of my trademark writing will be present in the article but the point being made remains the same. Also, after hearing the opinions of more experienced veterans, they’ve agreed this article is more directed towards newcomers to the yuri genre.

I was originally going to mention something about the difference between Yuri and Shoujo-ai, but my fellow nation members kindly pointed out that SA is a made up English term in the early anime years to separate  the “non-hentai” stuff. Best examples being Sailor Moon’s Haruka and Michiru or Carcaptor Sakura’s Tomoyo being turned straight in Western Dubs.

Apparently, Shoujo-ai originally means child porn in Japan. Hehe, my mistake. Oh well, the more you know.
The actual difference between shoujo-ai and yuri is that shoujo-ai stands for child porn that can be heterosexual 😛

There exists a difference as deep as an abyss on the difference in opinions between a yuri fan who has a passion for the romantic side of it and those who follow said genre for the sexual content and nothing more. When yuri fans express their passion on an a fan site’s forum that doesn’t focus on this genre or talk about it with a distinct group unfamiliar with the genre, incomprehension and prejudice create absurd and nonsensical criticism. The following article is meant to bring forth arguments in defense of yuri and its loyal fans.

There are primordially two reasons yuri gets criticized:

-Lack of interest or desire to understand the genre by the public.

-Prejudice against the lesbian theme.

To start things off, let’s divide the genre between erroneous misconception of what yuri (or should I say, Shoujo-ai) is in the eyes of the general public and the anime/manga produced with said genre as the main focus.

The Yuri genre is primarily anime/manga with platonic romantic relationships between two women. By platonic, I mean the two women genuinely love each other so much that they will begin a romantic relationship. Sometimes we get sneak peeks at what they do privately but its usually kept under wraps, instead focusing on how they fall in love with each other, or if they’re already a couple the trials and tribulations of a lesbian relationship. How the anime/manga deals with this varies. It’s basically the same thing and despite the differences, is handled in similar ways as a romance between a man and a woman or two men. There are many ways how to portray the story.

As mentioned above, the sexual content, contrary to popular belief is quite minimal (There are a few exceptions but believe or not, are quite rare). Like any other romance focused genre, some authors will insert a love scene to increase believability, some only increase touching and kissing while others don’t insert anything at all. It all depends on the author rather than the genre. Let’s take for example Aoi Hana and Maria-Sama ga Miteru. In the former the sexual conduct is only mentioned in a few scenes and doesn’t show anything more erotic than the semi nude scene in the OP. In the latter it isn’t even mentioned at all.

This is as far as it goes in Aoi Hana. Heck the kiss in Maria-sama season 1 isn’t shown on screen. You only the bodies closing in but no lip contact.

Part of this confusion is due in part to some Hentai with minor Yuri scenes catering to the H demographic but more on this later. Sites with a lot of ecchi Yuri images also play a part. (Yes, I know I also post SOME ecchi yuri images but not as extreme as Emptyblue. Heck, I think even he’s tame in this regard.). Most of these ecchi images have the two (or more) girls engaged in erotic poses staring at the viewer removing all context of them being romantically interested and just in it for raging ring boners. However, there ARE images portraying the women elegantly embracing and lovingly staring one other but these are usually overshadowed by the ecchi pics in non yuri sites.

As mentioned earlier, yuri is known for having a more calm atmosphere, in contrast to yaoi where it’s usually more…direct. Yaoi fans (Mostly female) criticize yuri for being “slow” and “uneventful”, making them lose interest in the genre, preferring the more “spicy” content yaoi is known for delivering (Or so I’ve been told). This is in no way bashing yaoi or its fans, they just have a different approach is all. At the end of the day, it’s just another genre.

Back to yuri, it’s time to defend it against the more shameful critiques that are usually considered trolling or people with a thorn up their derriere. The yuri genre’s fan base, worldwide, has a mixed audience where neither gender overpowers the other (Believe it or not), while Yaoi has a dominant female demographic. Both male and female yuri fans are attacked for various reasons so let’s begin with the men.

It’s absurd how haters primarily base THE ENTIRE male fandom solely on “sexual fantasies”. It’s an undeniable fact that a large percentage of men have had these kinds of fantasies (Myself included). However, yuri isn’t based on these “sexual fantasies”. There are many comments on various sites labeling yuri as nothing more than male “entertainment” or a “fetish” relegating their urges for animated porn. a curious lad, who notices an H with yuri content such as Shoujo Sect and the Sono Hanabira OVA where they only care about the sex scenes and move on without noticing or caring that there’s more to the OVAs than that. (SS isn’t a work of art in terms of passionate yuri storytelling but SH on the other hand…). But what about the men who watch and enjoy shows like Sasameki Koto, Simoun, Strawberry Panic, Candy Boy or the aforementioned Aoi Hana and Maria-Sama ga Miteru?

In any case, Yuri somehow manages to gather men who care about MORE than just sex and have actual compassion for the girls and their romantic developments.

As for women…unfortunately they get the lowest of blows. They usually get the cliched “lesbo” or “dyke” insults thrown at them. These trolls border from plain dumb to retarded with these pointless insults. When it comes to yuri, women’s sexual orientation is irrelevant, they could be in it for the cool story, favorite author, interesting characters, wonderful setting etc. Other girls who are one with the lily can perhaps identify with the story and characters  or are merely looking for something fun to watch. Why, I haven’t heard people criticize them for picking up shows like Lovely Complex, Love Actually or Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare (Yes, Romeo X Juliet as well) and being heterosexual.

Point is, there are thankfully those who do understand the yuri nation’s ways and accept them, sometimes delivering constructive arguments. That’s fine, but when it comes to trolls who dare insult not only your tastes but also your very lifestyle, pretend they don’t exist.

Yuri isn’t a bad thing, much less is being a member of the yuri nation. Everyone has their tastes and there’s absolutely no reason to be ashamed of it. We the nation members have every right to laugh, cry, squee, have doki-doki moments, stare with awe, get excited watching these shows and delve deepr into the light bein emanated by the sacred white lilies.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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21 Responses to Yuri Talk: Incomprehension and Prejudice

  1. krillin1983 says:

    i agree completely and i believe people should be allowed to enjoy what they like without being judged

    Like

  2. @fkeroge says:

    First, let me tell you a few things. Yuri, as a genre, encompasses everything that is considered “girl-on-girl”, ecchi or not. “Soujo-ai” is a western-coined term, and doesn’t really have any positive meaning. In fact, the term is used in Japan mostly to refer to lolicons. Same goes for “shounen-ai” and yaoi. Perhaps Americans are already used to these terms, so I won’t make much of a fuss about it anymore.

    Second, the weak presence of yuri in the market is mainly the result of yes, works depicting yuri tend to be monotonic and boring, especially those that have been turned into anime. For example, even though I am a yuri fan, I didn’t like Sasameki Koto that much, and I STILL haven’t finished Aoi Hana even though I started watching it about 2 years ago. I can’t really argue against those who say yuri is much too slow.

    However, we must take into consideration the insane amount of appreciation towards yuri combined with other genres. Yuruyuri sold unexpectedly well, Candy Boy was surprisingly good, Kyoukaisenjou no Horizon’s sales figures suddenly spiked after the kiss between the two angels, and Madoka Magica’s success has yuri as a major factor.

    Perhaps a better yuri anime needs to be made for people to start to appreciate it more, with less tinkly piano music and more interesting stuff happening. You know, like a Sono Hana TV series?

    Like

    • @fkeroge says:

      Also, about the prejudice that people who enjoy yuri experience, I guess that that is just the fault of society itself, and not a distinction between those who enjoy yaoi and those who like yuri. What would be a normal guy be thinking if he found out that a male friend likes yaoi? It’s pretty much the same thing for females. It’s just that people would tend to think that a guy who enjoys yuri is just in it for the kicks, which is not always true.

      Like

      • Overlord-G says:

        Well you also disliked Kanamemo so that makes sense I suppose. There are others who didn’t like SK and AH either. I blame both show’s failure primarily to the fact they released them far too early in the both comic’s run, so it’s no surprise they both flopped. As for the slow thing, that’s debatable.

        I don’t mind. I’ve been reading this stuff for years and I only lost my interest with manga where there was no action at all. I forgot the name of one in particular that really started boring me. Oh yeah, The Secret Stairs. Thankfully the slow ones are quite few. Some of the ones picked to be turned into anime (especially in recent years) are questionable.

        Uhhhh, Sono Hana has Pianos as well, making your argument about classical music used with yuri anime being crappy, invalid.

        Meh, that whole discrimination part has been present since the dawn of time. It’s just that some people take it to a whole new level of dumb.

        Like

  3. yurimylove says:

    *munch, munch* good popcorn XD Hey this is a good article! Quite informative, as well as reassuring to us yuri fans. By educating and communicating on this subject matter hopefully prejudice caused by ignorance will decline. Yes more quality yuri series in the future will definitely help as well. Here’s hoping for a yurilicious 2012!

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      Would you mind sharing your personal opinion on this matter? I’m intrigued to read what you think elder one. As someone who’s probably been watching yuri much longer than I have, I’d like your insights on this subject.

      Like

  4. Elkat says:

    I’m forced to summarize my thoughts…
    -homophobia (either born from certain religious ideals or just outdated ways of thinking) is rampant still especially in the States where gay marriage is not legalized in certain states.
    -“All men are perverts” belief born from an age long ago.

    While the former I encounter indirectly via the internet through reading responses to news stories around someone who’s gay (I think I got these stories from Shoujoai.com if I remember correctly), I can understand the latter thanks to all these mindless ecchi anime that promote perverted male leads. I HATE THOSE KIND OF PROTAGONISTS! I mean it’s only funny once in a while, but it gets old really quick.

    As for the idea of “male fantasies”, some more clarification is required. I consider a “male fantasy” concerning yuri being about anything you find in most mix-and-match fetish hentai where the girls not only had sex with each other, but also men as well as whatever else the story pertains which I do NOT CONSIDER TO BE YURI. Any pornographic material that has women having sex with anybody other than women is NEVER YURI even if they do have sex with other women. That being said, the “male fantasy” has NOTHING to do with lesbians, but bisexual women having sex with each other- it’s the fantasizing male’s duty to then place themselves in the story. That being said, no I never had such fantasies. Even when my head hits the pillow and I need to put my brain to use while I wait to drift into my sleep, my fantasies are strictly yuri in context, probably only because I identify myself as female in the dream, but that’s besides the point. I also find a yuri story with graphic sex scenes to actually be detracting as sex almost never adds anything to the plot, and when it does it could be placed in a single non-graphic scene that can be breezed by with a few joyful squees.

    That being said, I have been going for a more lust over love route for the yuri game I write, but never in gratuitous detail and that’s because I feel it’s easier and quicker to bind the character’s by normal human attraction to one another and then have them develop deeper feelings over their relationship as lovers (that’s when I decide to even introduce the characters as not being a couple yet!) Eh… Even though I tried to make my thoughts a little easier to read and understand, I fear I’ve delved into a mindless rant. I apologize for that as I fear I don’t type at the speed by which I think, I will likely skip over words as my fingers try to catch up to where my brain has gone. I don’t think most of the above is very insightful, but I fear it would take too much time and be futile to try to weed out everything that’s too heavily opinionated.

    Update:
    I’ve done it and in the meantime have tried to Googling some more articles to help me understand the exact case, however, I’m finding more topics related to the prejudice of yuri as you describe (such as one GaiaOnline thread that talked about the poster’s male friends thinking all RL lesbians were butches) or more on theme of prejudice towards yaoi with yuri thrown on the side (to be fair it also tried use Yaoi for a catchall for all BL like how Yuri tends to be for all GL). In short I’m getting my usual results when trying to Google anything specific: Almost everything unrelated.
    Alas I fear this trend may not be anything new, but not public enough to find with ease via blind search.

    That being said I also plan on a follow-up considering that one of the posts on your blog made a good point: Yuri on it’s own doesn’t do too well, but Yuri + another genre makes it more widely accepted, something I can vouch for myself, as I usually grow tired of slow yuri stories where they play “Let’s see how long it will take for these girls to be a couple game” and prefer series that treat us to something besides watching two girls second guessing their orientation and/or pondering over the possibility of being gay (if I’ve seen one teenage romance where the girls assume they are straight until they begin to realize they’re not, I’ve seen them all) or just speeds up the process (Prism’s only real flaw is that it took one too many chapters to form the couple when I felt they could have easily done it in the first without loosing much).

    Like

  5. Stevie Nix says:

    That was a wonderful article Overlord-G thanks for sharing. Like krillin1983 above I really wish people would stop judging about what genes people enjoy. Can’t we all just get along as anime and manga fans and celebrate our love for the art form?

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      If only it were that easy my friend, if only. Society sure has a weird way of approaching things.

      Like

      • Stevie Nix says:

        Very true.

        Personally the two reactions I have gotten about liking Yuri are: Either they think all anime is porn no matter the genre, or they are as surprised as I am that someone else loves it.

        Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      I’m guessing the ones who think Anime is porn come primarily from the Western Hemisphere. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. I have yet to find someone in the real world who legitimately enjoys yuri. I have to…influence them on the genre’s greatness.

      Like

      • Stevie Nix says:

        Actually all the people I was talking about I know personally and live in my town.

        If you figure a way out, let me know. I think I might be able to sway one person with the right argument.

        Like

  6. Elkat says:

    I like to thank EmperorG for paraphrasing my post and follow up on something @fkeroge pointed out. Yuri on as a stand alone romance I feel alienates those not familiar with the genre leading discrimination. However when combined with another genre (such as Yuru Yuri Slice of Life Comedy or the Action of Horizon) it becomes more viable as it draws from a larger pool of readers/watchers. There is some difference between Yuru and Horizon such as Yuru is straight up Yuri that covers up a very slow romantic pacing with the antics of a slice of life anime mean while Horizon restricts the yuri to members of the supporting cast, but isn’t shy to point they are a couple who are mutually in love with each other. On the other hand there has been good yuri manga/anime (in my opinion) with yuri at the forefront.

    Those would be “Wife and Wife” and “Prism” while the former shows the ordeals of a very lovey-dovey lesbian couple as they live together the later explores at a satisfyingly fast pace the development of two girls’ relationship based on a childhood crush from long ago. Both use elements of slice of life and comedy, but to different extremes. Prism may not be a barrel of laughs like W&W is, but is a very angst free story of the protagonist realizing that her childhood crush was actually a girl and that she loved her despite that fact. However such stories will stll recieve the same treatment as most slow-paced yuri manga/anime for the lack of anything else to attract viewers.

    Now I would like present some stoires I write posted on Fanfiction.net and Fictionpress.net that you can find by looking up my pen name (“Elkat”). I’m not trying to actually shameless promote so much as draw concrete examples to compare to your more usual yuri anime/manga. I’ll start with Dead Dog Days (D3) and Battle Dragons: Lust & War as they seem a little more popular. In D3 we have the story of college student Diana Peskost who becomes a undead slaying magical girl in order that her beloved dog (and that point only friend in the world) who just passed away can make it to the afterlife. The yuri comes in the form a new student in Diana’s college who winds up becoming involved in the plot after she gets a brush with death with a creature of the night. They are quickly drawn to each sexually, but not emotionally as they are total strangers and most of the story revolving around them not involving the undead is about them building a more solid friendship that rapidly evolves into a romance thanks to certain particularly odd circumstances. However the story doesn’t solely around them as the villians have their own agendas that Diana is only “delaying” at worst (and “helping” at best) involving a young girl who has her entire life turn episode down over the course of two nights and continues to spiral downwards no thanks to our heroine. If you haven’t guessed I’ll admit I’ve drawn inspiration from Modoka for this story, but I doubt I ever achieve the sheer hopelessness that Kyubey creates through his contracts.

    Battle Dragons appears to be your typical Sci-Fi story featuring a war between two sentient species, one a technologically advanced society of colonists turned soldiers and the other “primitive” tribesmen who in habitat the world where the war is taking place. From the “civil” colonists is Yoruko, your typical hotblooded soldier who thinks she can take on the whole world who after falling off a cliff finds herself in the hands of a member of the “primitive” tribesmen, Torakage who has been isolated from her people since childhood to not only be oblivious to the war between their people, but in desperate need of company. Thanks to a language barrier between them, Yoruko assumes she’s been taken prisoner while Torakage blieves Yoruko has been sent by the gods to be her companion and life mate. However as they make steady progress bridging the gap in ability to understand each other, they begin to grow close to each other physically with a shocking discover involving the fate of Torakage’s people forcing them to comfort each other as Yoruko begins to wonder if all she thought she knew about the enemy is wrong.

    I feel that if you change the genders of the characters in either of these stories, you’d still have the same storyline and though there is yuri it’s not always at the forefront of the story. Though I doubt they are as widely popular as Modoka, Yuru or even Horizon, but I feel they follow the idea of what made those series big.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      I should really check out your fanfics more often dood. At least they have more noble intentions than other disturbing fanfics I’ve read.

      The problem with me is that I’m so used to reading yuri manga that I rarely get bored. I guess it’s because I really am much more merciful to yuri over all other genres, especially basic harems. I don’t get the general public very well but it’s kinda sad that in order for yuri to succeed these days, you have to sneak it into a show of a different genre. It’s weird how society thinks.

      Like

      • Elkat says:

        Well technically D3 and Battle Dragons are both original stories on Fiction Press. My only true fanfiction Kunoichi Ai play yuri as it’s primary genre with action. I recruit Tenten into the role of a closet lesbian in fear of prosecution as the hidden villages cling to some outdated beliefs concerning homosexuality until she is sent with Hinata Hyuuga on a mission to the Land of Lilies, an nuetral nation that forbids men to enter out of politics and thus doesn’t not shun lesbains (which pratical makes most of it’s permenant residents). Though Hinata is still has feelings for Naruto, she finds herself finding she has rather “unusual” feelings for Tenten due to spending time with each other. More original characters than a fanfiction should have, but I’m trying my best to work in the canon characters though I fear my sense fo pairings are rather odd come from almost no where (the most recent one I’m digging is Temari/Ino go figure!)

        I’ve got only one other story, but I fear that’s not my best . . . Necroknight. =///=’ It’s one of my first stories and it’s really hard to write compared to D3 or Battle Dragons as it’s a little too focused on the main protagonist’s party though I’m trying to start a few side plots that will weave into the main story later on.

        Like

  7. Overlord-G says:

    Another nation member has brought to light some information about the paragraph concerning platonic yuri as incorrect because non-subtext yuri can be easily clarified. E.g. Strawberry panic, KNM, Kanamemo, Majikoi and even Horizon were all quite frank in showing that the characters have an adult relationship, even if the sexual acts themselves are not shown.
    Nanoha and YuruYuri could be described as “platonic yuri” shows, but they are actually a rare exception. It’s possible that the author also meant shows like Lucky Star, K-on and the like which are further into deniable subtext territory.

    Like

  8. Persocom says:

    Long live yuri and those who defend it. I’ve watched plenty of blatantly yuri shows and it seems that once you’ve become a yuri fan the goggles no longer come off, and you see everyone in every show, in some way or another involved in yuri relationship. I think yuri is often done very maturely and find it hard to imagine why many people are so against it. I’m not sure I consider myself a huge fan, going out of my way to talk about it, but I often enjoy a yuri anime and never feel the least bit of shame. I guess I just never thought into it deeply to wonder whether or not I needed to defend what I love to watch. I watch, I enjoy, I watch some more.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      It all depends on how close the women are to each other. Some can be blatantly seen as just friends, while others have “potential” shall we say of falling in love. We don’t always get it on screen but it never hurts to let our imagination run wild.
      For the most part, yes Yuri is taken seriously…except in most harem anime or blatant comedy yuri shows like Yuruyuri and Kanamemo.
      I don’t know why anyone other than homophobes would be against yuri either.
      You don’t have to be a real yuri fan with goggles on all the time, just the fact you enjoy watching yuri is good enough for me to label you a fan.
      You’re right, you like something, you don’t need to be the least bit ashamed of that fact.

      Like

  9. Baka says:

    You know, i told a friend of mine that i liked yuri anime. She told me that sooner or later i would only be watching yuri hentai all the time and that i would become a pervert and other stuff. Point is, this was 5 months ago and i still haven’t been considered a pervert for (most) people. Still, i stopped telling people that i like yuri. So it’s kinda bad to not have anyone to talk about it, and to have to hide it but it’s the only way.

    PS: i disagree about the “SS isn’t a work of art in terms of passionate yuri storytelling but SH on the other hand…” part. The H stuff is basically the same, but in my opinion for you to understand the passion between MaiXReo you pretty much have to play the game (i say it by personal experience).

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      It all depends on who you reveal the secret to. Never stop watching what you like to watch. If you aren’t breaking any important, life threatening laws, why would you stop? Again, only reveal this fandom to someone you KNOW won’t misjudge you.

      From personal experience, I’ve only revealed my passion to a select few. Most of my friends who know support my passion while others didn’t think much of it and moved on. I did try getting my past girlfriend into yuri but she couldn’t because it wasn’t her thing.

      I watched the OVA before playing Hanabira 3 and I understood their love perfectly. Maybe it’s because of my years of experience. Obviously the game explains more because it tells the events before Reo confessed and what Mai went through before reciprocating Reo’s feelings but what can one expect from watching a 20+ minute OVA? Despite the SH games not being very long, animated versions do need more than 20+ minutes to explain the relationships. Either that or you could have watched the ReoXMai Diaries mini-series.

      Ah whatever. Point is, the OVA’s awesome and while Mai and Reo aren’t my fav couple, they’re pretty cool.

      Like

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