One of the things that irks me as a yuri blogger is heteronormativity. Can we talk about this for a bit?
(Slight spoilers in this post)
First things first: all of this is just my opinion. A lot of this is also me just going with my gut since I only took a single gender studies class back as a freshman in college. With that in mind, go easy on me.
Second things second: what do I mean by “heteronomativity?”
Well, it’s “
Notice the bolded words. I’m not against straight couples. Not at all! I’ve watched and read my fair share of shoujo series where the female lead falls in love and ends up with a great guy. Same with action series, where the overpowered hero gets with his biggest fan. Good stuff. Gets me weepy every time.
No, what I’m against is the assumption that characters (and people) are considered normal if and only if you are heterosexual. Furthermore, it’s expected that girls have to act like how girls are “supposed to act.” Same goes with boys. Ugh!
Let’s go over some examples.
3. “But they’re both girls”
Ah, a staple in the yuri genre. So the knee-jerk reaction by default is to claim two individuals can’t romantically love or date each other simply because they’re both girls?
This also can and will happen to the two girls who are directly involved in such relationship drama. To be fair, sometimes romantic developments might catch the girls off-guard so their thoughts are all a mess, but doesn’t the line of thinking shown below kind of comes across as being closed-minded?
Then again, the yuri genre sometimes play up this sort of relationship drama for… well… drama, basically. For example, peers and neighbors alike will relentless mock the lesbian couple in some settings.
So while I’m rather tired of seeing characters automatically assume that only heterosexual relationships work out, I realize these sort of reactions are realistic given the startling amount of homophobia we see in real life. As a result, both characters and people have to really consider their feelings and actions in order to avoid getting hurt. Isn’t it a shame that they feel like they’re walking on egg-shells?
Furthermore, a lot of us have also held such sentiments at one point in life, as well. I’m only speaking for myself, but I was raised in a Christian upbringing where I was taught homosexual relations are “evil” and “not right.” Eventually I was able to realize that’s simply not true. And characters are the same way! They eventually realize and correct their shortsightedness! Some of them do, that is.
2. “Cross-dressing is gross”
I always feel terrible for the trap (aka the male who dresses like a female) who has to endure insults from both loved ones and friends. You can see this happen in Past Future since the main character, who used to be on great terms with his younger sister, get treated like garbage once he starts dressing like a girl.
To me, traps are a symbol of courage. They are brave for trying to look and act cute while enduring the negative reactions most people have towards cross-dressing. Not to mention that their time as a trap usually is quite limited due to puberty (unless certain steps are taken…) Hang in there, characters who are both cute and cool!
1. “You’re not girly enough”
Tomboys, my heart goes out to you girls, too. Why do people have problems with boyish female characters? This is perplexing.
Often times, a tomboy is told she’s “not feminine enough,” which causes her to try to act more girly in order to better fit in. This sort of behavior seems to imply that it’s better to deny one’s true nature in favor of joining the masses (PEOPLE ARE SHEEP, in other words). The mannerisms these tomboys demonstrate as they try to act more “girly”also tend to be exaggerated.
After being told that she’s too much like a guy to attract any attention from the boys, Riko (from Love Lab) starts wearing ribbons in her hair and making funny sound effects while weakly punching her snarky senpai. The implication that guys only like girls who act in a certain way is kind of upsetting.
A similiar stituation happened to Futaba (from Sansha Sanyou). As a girl who can easily complete eating challenges, Futaba gets told off by her younger cousin that she’s too much like a boy. As a result, Futaba starts trying to change her behavior. Why? I have no idea. The implication that she’s supposed to act more girly and she has to change her behavior is also upsetting.
…seems like hair decs are a big deal for a girl, huh? Thankfully both girls realize that what they’re doing is pointless and that it’s better to just be themselves.
My pet theory is that people prefer distinct classifications. No fuss, no muss! Things either go over here or over there and that’s that.
So of course yuri messes with the whole heteronormative setting, as with traps and tomboys. The boundaries society imposed between gender and behavior then become vague and blurred, which bothers some people. This leads to them acting like bigots, I suppose. I don’t know, that’s probably how it goes?