Putting the “En(d)” in Otomen: Queerbaiting and the Loss of LGBTQ+ Stories

By now, dear audience, you’re probably a little Otomen-ed out and are wondering when I’m going to stop talking about this series. Fear not; this is the last one (unless something ridiculous happens in the last volume, which I highly doubt)! You made it! Give yourself a pat on the back.

Otomen Asuka JutaHaving tackled the issues of Aya Kanno’s dichotomy concerning gender roles and the confused tone of the series, it’s about time to look at one of the more obvious points of contention: LGBTQ+ representation. It saddens me to say this, too, because starting out I really thought this series was going to be progressive in that sense. However, much like most media here in the States, a lot of the queer plot points are left to subtext and essentially ignored in favor of giving everyone heterosexual relationships. The most offensive example of this blatant refusal to address this issue shows up in discussions of Asuka’s dad, Hiromi. Continue reading

Wonder Woman and Transphobia

If you have been spending any time on Tumblr recently, you have probably seen this page of a Wonder Woman comic that not only implies that the Amazons accept trans women, but that Wonder Woman herself is a trans woman. It’s beautiful and makes you happy to be alive just reading it, but, sadly, it’s not real (here is the real picture). As of right now, DC Comics only has one trans character, Alysia Yeoh, Barbara Gordon’s roommate in Batgirl. DC has never really been great when it comes to minority representation. For a while they did have more female-led comics than Marvel, but it was debatable whether those comics actually portrayed their female characters with respect. DC did, however, beat out Marvel when it came to trans representation, and though Alysia is not a trans superhero it is nice to finally see a well done and respectful portrayal of a trans character in a comic book. The inclusion of one character is not enough to really be authentic representation, though, and with transgender rights finally gaining more visibility, fans are now turning critical eyes on to Wonder Woman and the often transphobic portrayal of the Amazons.

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1,000% Done with Sexist Happy Meal Toys

There are not many places to eat near where I work. There is a Subway, a Wendy’s, a Chinese restaurant, and a McDonald’s, and with the exception of the Chinese restaurant (which I can really only eat at when I have a few more dollars in my wallet), I usually eat at the McDonald’s. It’s an ideal lunchtime work place. The food is cheap, there is a wi-fi connection, and I get to leave the office for an hour, but every time I set foot into McDonald’s I’m confronted with the one thing feminists hate about McDonald’s—the Happy Meal toy display.

SpiderToys02Recently I have been especially pissed off about the ridiculously gendered Spider-Man toys.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Polyamory in the Media

We talk about a lot of different kinds of relationships on this site but we’ve never really spent much time talking about polyamory. We have recced fanfics and there have been OT3s on our Valentines lists, but we have never focused our attention on polyamory or polyamorous relationships. So that’s what I’m going to talk about today.

OT6

OT6

Polyamory is something that people, at least in the Western world, seem hesitant to discuss or even mention. There are a couple different reasons for this.

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Sexualized Saturdays: “It Was Just A Phase. I Didn’t Think It Would Count”: Scott Pilgrim vs. The Kinsey Scale

I was watching Scott Pilgrim vs. The World for what has to be the billionth time recently and found myself reflecting a little more on the relationship between Roxy and Ramona. Not long ago I introduced this movie to some of my friends, one of whom is bisexual, and despite not being a geek, she seemed to be really enjoying it until the fight with Roxy came up. In the scene, Scott Pilgrim is shocked to find out that the girl he’s interested in, Ramona, “had a sexy phase”—meaning she dated a woman. Ramona explains that she was just going through a bi-curious phase and didn’t even think her relationship with Roxy would count. This, of course, enraged my friend for a variety of reasons.

Roxie_VS_RamonaHaving characters who are “just going through a phase” isn’t good queer representation. It makes being queer seem like something someone can just opt into and then get over. This becomes even more problematic with how almost every character who is “just going through a phase” tends to be a woman. One reason for this is that female sexuality is seen as much more fluid than male sexuality. It’s an attitude that is offensive to both queer men and woman because it is built on the belief that women can’t really live without heterosexual sex (even if they do dabble in homosexual sex). For men, it’s assumed that the only way a man could stand homosexual sex was if he was a hundred percent gay—if he was attracted to women why would he ever sleep with a guy? It’s absurd, biphobic, and sexist.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Magical Obligatory Queer Dating

In the 3B season finale of Teen Wolf last month, we were treated to one more unpleasant turn of events in a season full of unpleasant events: Danny broke up with Ethan. The moment left me with so many questions—was this just because Charlie Carver already has a new show lined up? Would they have stayed together if C. Carv didn’t get a new job, or was this just where the characters were headed anyway? Was it prejudiced for Danny to not want to date a werewolf? Why do I cry so much about fictional characters? But then I started to think about a more pivotal question: why did they start dating in the first place? It led me to a theory I call Magical Obligatory Queer Dating. Let’s take a closer look.

soooooo precious!!!

Soooooo precious!

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Theatre Thursdays: Hedwig and the Angry Inch

hedwig_neil_patrick_harrisAs you may or may not know, Neil Patrick Harris is opening a production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, performing in the titular role, and he looks fabulous. If you’re not familiar with the material, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a 1998 musical written by and starring John Cameron MitchellHedwig tells the story of an East German singer who goes to great lengths to marry an American soldier and leaves for the United States to pursue her dreams and a better life. Those great lengths include a botched sex-change operation, leaving Hedwig with the titular “angry inch”. Eventually, she makes it to the United States, but in a perfect storm of insult and injury, her husband leaves her on the day she learns that the Berlin Wall has fallen. The real meat of the story is in how she uses love and rock n’ roll to recover from that and pursues her own identity. The Obie Award-winning musical originally ran for 857 performances, and has since seen performances in no fewer than eleven countries.

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Teen Wolf: “The Divine Move” Season Finale Review

7165044izdsoxmu-1I don’t know how I feel about the season finale. I’ve got mixed feelings not only about the resolution in general, but also about the last ten minutes of the episode that set up next season. Welp, let’s get on with this. In this episode, Stiles is possessed by a spirit who just wants to play Go and teaches Stiles how to play, which inevitably gets them into all kinds of shenanigans. Wait, wait, sorry, no, I’m thinking of Hikaru no Go. Wrong show.

Spoilers below the cut.

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A Cry for Action at GDC 2014: A New Dawn for Diversity in Gaming?

If there’s one thing we gaming reviewers at LGG&F can agree on, it’s that there needs to be more diversity in video games. This isn’t some revelation I’m pulling out of my ass: we’ve been saying it since the start, whether it be more people of color placed in the spotlight, women being allowed to have characterization beyond the easy pitfalls of tropes, or any representation of the LGBTQ+ community. Basically any character that’s not a chiseled, cishet, 5 o’clock shadow-ed white dude. Cries for a wider cast of characters have echoed across the subculture for what feels like eons, but the fact remains that until the industry decides to take up the mantle, the opportunities for change will be limited to break-out indie hits. However, my conscientious readers, we may be on the precipice of a new dawn. That is to say, the industry may have just had a breakthrough.

Manveer HeirJust a few days ago at the Games Developer Conference in San Francisco, Manveer Heir, a gameplay designer for BioWare Montreal, took the stage in front of a packed room to deliver a panel entitled ‘Misogyny, Racism and Homophobia: Where do video games stand?’. During the panel, Heir called out the Western games industry for clinging too closely to the AAA game formula of white straight dudes saving the girl and doing cool things, and called for a change in not only how the games industry forms their future stories, but also how they view their audience. In a wise move, Heir reassured his audience that his speech wasn’t made so he could waggle a disapproving finger at his fellow game devs; instead it was to be seen as a nudge to an industry that has grown all too comfortable in their safe little niche. It’s a nudge well-needed, however.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Trans, Intersex, and Non-Binary Headcanons

Fanfiction is often used to give representation to minorities that wouldn’t normally be featured in the mainstream media. While this doesn’t always work out, fanfiction in general has done a decent job at providing representation, especially queer representation. And while most fanfiction featuring queer relationships is comprised of slash fanfiction (fanfiction featuring male/male pairings), some efforts have been made to give more representation to the rest of the LGBTQ+ community. For example, last month was Femslash February, which focused on celebrating queer women. Fanfiction authors who wanted more ace representation have started Asexy April. So while the majority of queer pairings in fanfiction are still m/m pairings, there has been a push in the fanfiction community for more inclusion.

Laverne CoxHowever, when it comes to transgender, intersex, and non-binary characters, there is noticeably less representation, both in mainstream media and in fanfiction. Recently, I have seen some more trans and non-binary headcanons, but there are still very few intersex headcanons. Headcanons, for those of you that might not know, are fans’ personal idea about characters which could fit into the existing canon of a show, even if the show itself has little to support the idea. Usually headcanons have some sort of explanation or evidence to back them up.

So to encourage people to write more fanfiction with trans, intersex, and non-binary characters, I’m going to talk about some of my favorite headcanons.

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