Why can’t I write about yaoi?

Posted on June 24th, 2010 by Ryu Sheng |

This is something that came completely out of the blue and has knocked me for six.

This morning I got up to find a new list of books for me to review, a lot of them were yaoi titles. I don’t like or dislike yaoi, since I’ve only read a few mild yaoi titles. I haven’t read enough of the genre to form an opinion of it.

I actually thought that would be a good place to start, since I wouldn’t be bias towards the titles I was reviewing, I’d either hate them cause I thought they were crap, or love them cause I thought they were good.

Not a genre I’m used to, and I wasn’t sure how to go about writing about it, do I just tackle it as I normally would, or in another way.

One of the circles I belong to has a strong yaoi group in it, so I thought “lets ring Jenny, she’s the local yaoi guru”. I was expecting a pleasant talk on the aspects of yaoi, and the differences between the different elements and between yaoi and shonen-ai (since apparently they mean different things).

What I got though was an hour long rant on how I shouldn’t review yaoi since I’m not part of the “community”. As someone who doesn’t know all that much about yaoi I shouldn’t write about it because I won’t be able to understand it.

I was also told that if I wrote a review of a yaoi title that the “community” didn’t like that backlash from it would be pretty harsh.

The crux of it was simple, I should stick to writing about anything non-yaoi

This really bugged me, since previously me and Jenny had gotten on rather well. The way she was today though you’d think I’d stolen some sacred jewels she had or something.

I spoke to an old colleague of mine who writes about japanese culture for magazines, and he said that was the pretty normal response I got. Apparently only those in the yaoi community can write a yaoi review because anyone outside of the community is an outsider and wouldn’t understand it.

That was the bit that got me, what’s to understand? If the manga (or anime) was good then understanding isn’t required. The series would explain itself and whether I was a yaoi fan or not would be irrelevant.

Surely if I (or anyone for that matter) enjoys a story, whether its yaoi, shonen, shojo, or yuri, is more important than if they’re a part of the “community”?

So if I don’t like a story and write a review saying I don’t like it, am I suddenly the enemy of all yaoi fans? Where’s the logic in that?

I’ve known for years that the manga community as a whole was odd, possessive, and a bit nutty, but I never thought it was to this extreme.

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