Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Plushie bears and comics

Back in November, my favorite SFist contributor Mattymatt wrote a fun article about going on a bunny hop in the Castro. Imagine a bunch of guys and girls in various bunny costumes descending on the relatively straight-laced (so-to-speak) Harvey's. I still remember this bit of the story:
"It's like being a little kid and playing pretend," says Bouncy Bunny. But sometimes the childish aspect can be a source of discomfort, according to ScooterX, who made his first costume - a bear - for the Folsom Street Fair five years ago. At the time, he just thought that it was a high-larious visual pun - he's a bear! And he's in a bear costume! Ha! But it turned out that the fair's frantically sexing celebrants wanted nothing to do with a man in an animal costume. "You never mess with someone's fetish," he says, sort of wistfully. They saw a guy dressed in what looked like adorable PJs and a cute hoodie, which in the fetishistic language of the street fair they misinterpreted to be signals for some kind of infanti1ism thing - or b3stiality - and ignored him. Tonight, ScooterX is dressed as a tiger, and very popular with the crowd. He's delighted by the attention: "Bunnies are an excellent source of protein," he tells us.
Mattymatt has written another article about ScooterX's yaoi comics, which are available at I've got some problems with yaoi, I'm starting to realize. On the one hand, I'm not really interested in the usual artistic style. Most yaoi is created by women for a women-intended audience, even though the characters involve male relationships with other men, and often times I feel I'm going to drown in swirling fabric and androgynous knowing glances.

On the other hand, though, much of the yaoi that I've seen seems to be overly interested in underage sex, and that just creeps me out. In the comments to this post, Lyle spells out some of my reservations, talking about yaoi and shounen-ai comics in really general terms:
Underage protagonists seem common; sometimes they get involved with adults. I understand rape turns out to be in the characters' pasts. A lot of shounen-ai and YAOI artists draw rather fey and wispy men, which dulls my interest. Also, a lot of the genre tries to separate the couple into typical male/female roles, with the protagonist usually "being the girl".
Manga isn't the only place that young men are overly sexualized (Ambercrombie & Fitch... XY Magazine... twink porn...), but it's still part of the problem.

No images, because I'm feeling skeeved out a little bit.


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