Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Take a holiday from the hetero way: Yuri and Shoujo-ai

It has been about five months since I’ve talked face to face with a lesbian other than Linda (at least an “out” lesbian – I still have hopes about that toned and tanned golf playing butchy girl at the post office). So I am in major lesbian gossip withdrawal. I mean, playing celebrity “I know she’s really a lesbian” just isn’t the same by yourself. As for playing it with straights, pphffff, forget it; “What, you think Angelina Jolie is bisexual, no way?” (Hello? The film Gia and her girlfriend give you a clue?). I miss the book and movie recommendations, the travel dialogue, the discussions about Olivia Cruises, the L-word, Sugar Rush, the stories of stupid things people say when you come out (“I knew you were a lesbian cause you drank beer”) and the twists and turns of semi-closeted lesbian lives and loves (“She’s joined a tank battalion and she and the gunner first mate are going out.”; “What about ‘don’t ask, don’t tell?’”; “I guess they don’t talk a lot.”).

So when all else fails, I turn to the one place where I can be assured of a decent queer love world view: anime. Sure there is an aspect of fantasy here; since few lesbians I know remember spending high school making out in perpetual embraces between brushing their long flowing hair. But at least there is a decent representation of falling in love and having relationships between girls (those who don’t turn evil, anyway). The Yuri AMV below gives a good visual survey of the many relationships already out there in anime land (just hang in past the stupid phone conversation – the song gets better).

But wait, that’s not all! Another reason I like yuri and shoujo-ai anime is that often these aren’t girls who just stand around all day dreaming of each other and picking flowers; no, they have SWORDS! Yes, these are women who slice and dice and blow up things and are secret agents (even when they are bookish like in Read or Die). Not only do they have swords, they have swords and heroic love quests. The idea of the Heroic Quest is best seen in the first work of literature; The Odyssey, where Odysseus fights against danger, death and the odds to return home to his love Penelope. Sound familiar? It should since it is the source of every action romance. Only where are the heroic lesbians battling to be by the side of their beloved? Not in the culture of western society. Lesbians can be killers, psychos, schemers or occasionally quiet lovers but no grand heroic center stage please! Of course my favorite anime, Utena is about a girl who fences all comers to protect her Rose Bride. The yuri AMV below is about another anime, The Book of Why, where Hatsumi is doomed at midnight on her 16th birthday to shift dimensions/alternate universes leaving her lover, Hatsuki, behind in a reality that tries to convince her she never existed. Hatsuki grabs her sword and leaves earth behind in her search through the dimensions, finding look-alikes and dead ends in her quest to rejoin her beloved. (this video, containing the narrative of that quest, won 2nd place at the Anime North Convension).

Hmmm, now that I think about it, there seems to be a slight connection in girl-on-girl and lesbian themed anime to athletics. Elizabeth’s life: lesbians and atheletics, check! Elizabeth’s life: swords and shouting, check! There is also a theme in yuri anime about pain and injury as a sign of dedication/obsession. Elizabeth’s life: pain and obsession, check! Anime even has a sort of lesbian Olympics called Battle Athletes where girls are breaking bones and doing all sort of harm in pursuit of personal excellence (Go Kris!). Gee, I wonder why the idea of going to the lesbian olympics appeals to me so much? Oh well, off to do some more fencing practice (two weeks and 5 days to competition!), I leave you with the AMV video Butterfly Yuri (“Someone who is strong, still a little shy, yes I need, I need my samurai”) – oh yeah, what might look like guys in the video are known in the lesbian world as butch (or stone butch, bull dyke) – but still girls.

That’s it, back to work. The message of this post: I’m lonely and I’m tired of living in a straight world (p.s. Hollywood please hire me to write lesbian scripts and TV shows – I can give you three quick points to make Battlestar Galactica better with lesbian lip lock).

1 comment:

Cap'n Dyke said...

Ah, Kerfuffle, grab Linda an' get down here t' th'farm. We live in the only homosexual-friendly town in four states -- an' we have bonfires every week!

Between bonfires, I'll practice skewerin' ye with me sabre. That should help ye with th'nationals.