Sexualized Saturdays: UQ Holder and Genderqueerness

UQ Holder cover imageI am an unabashed fan of anime and manga, but unfortunately I don’t have time to get deeply involved in more than a few series at a time. Lately I’ve gotten into a new manga called UQ Holder, by Ken Akamatsu, creator of Love Hina and Mahou Sensei Negima (the prequel to UQ Holder). I haven’t read Akamatsu’s previous works, but I started this one because my favorite scanlation group had picked it up, and I trust their judgment. And boy am I glad I did, because it is slowly taking the place of Naruto in my heart as a source for my weekly action shounen fix (believe me, that is high praise). I was drawn to it because its first chapter featured a strong female character and a lot of excitement. Later, the introduction of a gender-ambiguous character made me think the series could be trying to do something super interesting with gender, and I was hooked for good. That’s not to say it is perfect in its representation of gender, however. Beware of spoilers in my summary and analysis below.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Derek Hale

Teen Wolf Season 3B is almost here and I said I would address the possibility of Sterek happening before the premiere. I have already discussed Stiles’s sexuality, so now let’s take a look at Derek.

TeenWolfSeason3I mentioned with Stiles that one of the reasons I love his character is that the question about Stiles’s sexuality is out in the open, where with most other characters and pairings there is nothing but subtext. Stiles’s questions about whether gay guys are attracted to him and his flirtations with Danny, while not explicit, set up the potential for a natural build to Stiles being revealed to be bisexual. Most other characters, in contrast, have some queer subtext, but it’s mostly used to queerbait fans of the show. With Sterek, there seems to be nothing but subtext, but I don’t see this as a huge loss. I fully support Derek and Stiles not being a couple as long as I still get a bisexual Stiles. But if Sterek doesn’t happen, does that mean there really is no hope for a queer Derek? Well… not necessarily. Continue reading

Sexualized Saturdays: The Failings of Reddit

Sadly, Santa decided that Christmas was the best time to gift me a horrible chest cold. As such, I have been stuck in my bed most of this Christmas break, surfing the web for things to entertain me.

reddit-alienNow, while I already knew about the popular social aggregation site Reddit, I never spent much time there other than the home page. So, I did some digging through the subreddits, and I was discouraged by the general lack of any conversations over LGBTQ+ issues as it pertains to geekdom.

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Sexualized Saturdays: The Doctor Who Issue

Obviously, the Doctor Who fandom is still bathing in the afterglow that was Day of the Doctor. It is at this point that I want to bring up something that has been discussed by a couple people, but never by me.

I am of the opinion that, as long as Steven Moffat is the executive producer of Doctor Who, the show will not be able to grow as a series.

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Yeah, I’m using this .gif again. Wanna fight about it?

Pope Alexander recently wrote an article on Moffat’s inability to properly kill characters, so I’m going to avoid that. Instead, I’m going to focus on his inability use the full scope of the human condition. Specifically, the lack of LGBTQ+ relationships.

And this lack of LGBTQ+ relationship is not an LGBTQ+ or heterosexual issue. It’s both.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Queer Representation or Ship Representation?

Slash-ship-Dean-Castiel-DestielQueer representation or ship representation? Obviously the two aren’t mutually exclusive, but there is a big difference between wanting Destiel to happen in Supernatural and wanting Dean to be bisexual. Or wanting Sterek to happen in Teen Wolf and wanting Stiles to be bisexual. It’s a distinction I think is often forgotten by the fans.

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Sexualized Saturdays: It’s Getting Medieval Up In Here

Renly_profileSince Game of Thrones hit the mainstream viewership, I have pondered the concept of alternative sexual lifestyles in the medieval, fantasy setting. It’s an interesting concept, and one that surprisingly hasn’t been touched on much in a lot of famous Middle Age pieces, like the Arthurian legends.

I always found this weird. Anyone who knows anything about Roman and Greek culture knows that homosexuality was not “taboo,” so to speak. Art, stories and historical records talk about LGBTQ+ relationships. Even Zeus had a relationship with Ganymede, who was described by Homer as the the most beautiful mortal ever to exist.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Twincest

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You know, for living in a society that generally disapproves of incest, there are a lot of incest pairings in nerddom. And incest between twins, or twincest, even more so. So this Saturday, I’m taking a look at a few different examples of twincest and whether or not these relationships are actually healthy. Buso Renkin, Game of Thrones, Saiyuki, and Ouran High School Host Club after the jump.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Non-Human Characters Outside the Gender Binary

Lal: “I am gender neuter. Inadequate.”
Data: “That is why you must choose a gender, Lal, to complete your appearance.”

the-offspringOh, Star Trek, you are one of those shows that consistently disappoints me. This conversation from Star Trek: The Next Generation perfectly illustrates how our society tends to view gender in a strict gender binary. In the episode “The Offspring”, the robot Data creates his own android progeny named Lal. He decides to create Lal gender neutral, so that Lal can choose what gender to be. It seemed like a great idea, but it quickly turned problematic when Lal declared gender neutrality “inadequate” before promptly choosing a female gender. For people who don’t fit the gender binary, this statement is wildly offensive. The message seems to be if you aren’t male or female then you are… inadequate. How fucked up is that?!

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Sexualized Saturdays: All I Need to Know I Learned From GTA V

I’ll take “Titles I Never Thought I’d Use” for $500, Alex.

clue (1)I was all ready to chalk Grand Theft Auto V up as a failure in representation. In all fairness, I didn’t expect to ever see a Grand Theft Auto game actually stop taking potshots at the LGBTQ+ community. Since I started playing GTA games with Grand Theft Auto 3, there was always that one character created as a stereotype of a gay male, complete with an effeminate voice, color-coordination, and neckerchief. The game developers over at Rockstar North aren’t all that subtle. 

BernieCrane-ArtworkThat’s Bernie from Grand Theft Auto IV. He is a former soldier who came out sometime after the fictional war he fought in. That’s great, but the way protagonist Niko describes Bernie’s soldier ways compared to today gives the audience a not-so-subliminal message that, because Bernie is gay, he is automatically different.

While it’s not always the case, I don’t know of any cases in real life where someone coming out changes the essence of who they are as a person.

Fast forward to Grand Theft Auto V, which just came out Tuesday, where I have noticed some subtle changes to the GTA universe that hint that Rockstar is moving away from stereotyping LGBTQ+ characters. In one of the first missions, protagonist Franklin gets into a discussion with a bigoted paparazzi member, Beverly, concerning in-game gay rapper Clay “PG” Jackson.

Man, who gives a fuck if he’s gay or not, man? The man is not married. It’s his business. Leave motherfuckers alone… why do you care, man?

I found this to be a drastic change from previous GTA games. Instead of the protagonist staying neutral, like Niko did frequently in cut scenes, Franklin makes a logical statement concerning Jackson. Beverly’s statements, in comparison, seem about as ridiculous as they are. Franklin makes sense. Beverly is a dick.

While this is the only reference to the LGBTQ+ I have run into yet, Rockstar North has been taking steps away from relying solely on stereotypes. In 2009, Rockstar North released Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony. The focus of the game centered on Gay Tony, a nightclub owner in the fictionalized Liberty City.

6406-gta-gay-tony-prince-artGamers can see the development of Rockstar North’s thought process in The Ballad of Gay Tony. The character still holds traits that could be considered stereotypes. His voice is slightly effeminate and his nickname itself is a label. But the focus on the character analyzes his humanity, not his sexual preference. The fact that Tony is gay doesn’t really matter to the development of the story arc.

Now, I’m only halfway through the game as of Friday morning. The end scene could have a character that uses and abuses every LGBTQ+ stereotype in record time and if so, I will definitely write about that. But I’m finally getting the feeling that Rockstar is realizing that compelling story-telling trumps malicious stereotypes any day, and it’s making me look forward to the potential addition of an LGBTQ+ character in the game’s DLC packs.

Sexualized Saturdays: Sexy Costumes, Slut-Shaming, and Female Superheroes

When it comes to female superheroes and villains, I constantly hear debate over the sexy costumes. On the one hand, it is ridiculous that female characters must be constantly half-exposed in order to be in comics. On the other hand, one could argue that criticism of what these characters wear can devolve into to slut-shaming and placing standards on female characters that would never be placed on men. In real life, cosplayers wearing revealing costumes experience both harassment and slut-shaming from both men and women. But for this post, I just want to discuss the characters. Why am I so offended when female heroes and villains are constantly depicted wearing sexy revealing costumes?

1438430531_1094_emma_frost-47405828520_xlargeLet’s use Harley Quinn and Starfire as two modern examples.

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