Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Getting through the New Year, one yuri/lesbian AMV at a time

Well another “new year” which looks just as rainy and crappy (or creepy even) as “old year” did. And since I figure everyone is either hung over or grinding their way through the agony of the 9-5 life, I have decided that airing the crap in my life isn’t going to help either of us (lets just say that humans AREN’T my favorite species right now). Mostly I have been getting by with mainlining Anime AMV’s to get me motivated enough to give a....(insert colourful phrase here).

In the wonderful way that if you want something bad enough, someone will make it for you, someone has made an AMV (anime music video) dedicated to all the butch lesbians of anime called Bad Boi’s. It’s a pretty rocking video which requires absolutely no knowledge of anime to enjoy and it is pretty hard for me to imagine someone who doesn’t want a thumpa-thumpa song blasting out finishing with lesbians rubbing together for....um....warmth in bed together (I know that theoretically there are women attracted to guys, I just don’t “get it”).

Over the Xmas break I watched the anime Kaleido Star (all 51 episodes!), which is about a “plucky girl” called Sora who wants to become a top performer on an acrobatic stage. There is a AMV which gives you an idea about the anime (click here). There are, of course, lesbian pairings, including her two best friends, Anna and Mai (Anne is the butch; you can guess this from all the tuxedos she wears and that fact she plays the prince in Kaleido Stage’s performance of The Little Mermaid). I was asked recently what it is about anime that attracts me? After a very short period of thought, the answer is that Japanese animated series provide roles for women that simply aren’t available in western genres. For instance in Kaleido Star, Sora and those around her are constantly challenging themselves. Sora pushes herself in training, trying to achieve the impossible, and often failing. The pain required for physical accomplishment is never minimized as in one episode, in order to do a particularly difficult act, she must learn how to catch her own body weight using a 125lb lead ball, which impacts her body again and again, lifting her clear off the ground. Plus being a lesbian or having lesbian friends is pretty much assumed in any sort of female sporty/action anime. I have to admit that during intense fencing training I can’t watch TOO much anime because I start remembering my mortality, particularly when watching Battle Athletes and the main character’s friend and lover breaks her leg clear through in a running race, and has to be forcibly restrained as she drags herself down the track leaving a bloody trail behind her (the whole, “oh yeah, muscles and bones sometimes snap” reminder). If you are interested in the often overlooked Battle Athletes anime, there is a good AMV below.

Mai Otome, another popular girl’s anime, ends the first episode with our heroine having been body slammed into a wall, blood running down her face from cuts, but determined to stand on her feet, because she WILL achieve her dream, regardless. This is not to say that characters always or even often succeed; in Kaleido Star, the main stage star finishes an act she has been training for, even though she has now fractured her shoulder in so many places, she will never be able to perform again. For some reason that never made it into western films like Bring it on!, neither did it have female leads sobbing in pain from training or covered in bruises. I guess that’s why one of the few western films I like is Girl Fight (almost got me into women’s boxing) and Luc Besson French films.

This is not to say we don’t have words in the west to describe women who are determined and willing to risk and strive for personal dreams, it is just that they usually aren’t very positive (the most popular one starts with a B and ends with an “itch”). While in Shojo or female anime, particularly action or sports anime, the theme is, if you want something done right, regardless of pain, obstacles or personal cost – send in the women! After going out for another sporting event over Christmas break, I was reminded again that, yes, I have no natural sporting ability at all and that any accomplishments I want and any improvements will require a high physically and emotional cost.

My last AMV is to the song Any Time We Touch which is probably the number 1 song for lesbian AMV’s after Tatu. I like this version because to me, if life doesn’t make you feel like you’ve wiped out on a motor bike at high speed, your probably not doing it right (or maybe it is just a reflection on the kind of life I’ve lived that seeing a girl getting thrown across a room with a sword in her hands makes me say, “Finally, something I can identify with.”) Linda says that I like anime because it a combination of the reflection of my life as well as a longing for the innocence which is often a theme in girl’s anime. Linda likes this AMV because it has the phrase: “The good and the bad times, we’ve been through them all; you make me rise when I fall.”

Okay, back to the drudgery of this New Year.


Anonymous said...

I get it now.
But I still don't get it.

GayProf said...

Wow -- That's quite the anime content for this post.

Happy New Year.

Elizabeth McClung said...

yeah - it was a toss up between global politics and anime so I went with what was really important!

You know there is probably all sorts of gay amv's - I even accidently ran into a reedited short video using the film footage to make a Draco/Harry potter love story - I just tend to focus on the lesbian stuff. Gay stuff is called Yaoi, lesbian Yuri - and the gay stuff is about five times more common.

Sober @ Sundown said...

Happy New Year, Beth.

What kind of nude activities were you suggesting I try for this year?

Hope you are feeling better.

Anonymous said...

Apropros of nothing in particular on this particular blog entry, but I thought you *might* find something interesting here just the same, Elizabeth:


ABSTRACT -- Because athletics traditionally has been seen as incompatible with traditional roles for women, female athletes have been expected to experience gender role conflict as they attempt to identify with incompatible roles. However, while negative stereotypes of female athletes persist, research has found little such conflict. In this study, questionnaire and interview data from male and female college athletes and nonathletes suggest some explanations for this. The data showed: (a) Female athletes were accorded greater respect than were male athletes; (b) all groups' ratings of the femininity of female athletes were above the neutral point, though the ratings of men and nonathletes were significantly lower than those of women and athletes; and (c) consistent with the multiplicity perspective, female athletes reported experiencing their feminine and athletic identities as distinctively different aspects of self.

Elizabeth McClung said...

b.v. brus - thanks for the reference - It was an interesting article because while females do not see being athletic generally as being unfeminine, it showed that men do (almost 50% said it would depend on what sport) - particularly if women become physically stronger (at which the majority of men stated clearly "no, these women were not feminine") - for females, it was only when sports created a visable increase in muscle mass that they felt it was unfeminine.

Fencing would probably be in the middle - for the general public, while they don't realize how strong you get, swordplay isn't really "nice" but kinda interesting - and since most women tend to look toned instead of "built" - oh, those stats - my right thigh is 25 inches, my waist is 36 (might be slightly smaller now) my left thigh is 24 inches - so one thigh over 2/3rds the size of my waist (hahaha!) - I think male fencers would see female fencers as feminine based on style, since female fencers tend to have a difference style (and amount of shouting) in fencing, and I have heard various male fencers say that women simply aren't "agressive enough" to fight male fencers.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I found it in my perusal of various sports psych resources.

Re aggression: Although I have observed a difference in general attitude between many female and male fencers, and that difference is usually referred to by the general public as "aggression," I've never equated that trait on the strip as masculine (or non-feminine). ... But that's just me. I'm a little goofy that way.

Elizabeth McClung said...

hey wait b.v. brus - you didn't tell me whether one of your thighs is 2/3rds the size of your waist (I measure the thigh about half way down, where the muscle is the thickest).

I read today in a new book called "The female brain" that while both women and men have androgen/testosterone - that men have a minimum of 10 times more to a maximum of 100 times more - I am guessing the bellowing shouters are up around the 100 times more factor.

Linda and I talked about the article and how it would have been good if the researchers had first determined what the different genders thought when the word "athletic" or "sports" were used - I mean if guys are thinking gymnastics, tennis and figure skating when asked about "female athletes" that makes a huge difference - the paper also confirmed what I wrote about earlier - that generally the bigger a woman is (in this case in athletics - the less feminine she is percieved) - I have to admit that while I try to be objective in reviewing my own observations - I tend to see women who are 5'8" all the time, I view that as sort of standard feminine size, and I think of myself as feminine and sort of equate myself as a slightly "large" 5'8" - however, when I see a woman close to my actual hieght/build - it's a bit more "woah!" - not that she is unfeminine, it's just that she doesn't readily fit into any societal modes - like when I see a muscular woman, it is attractive (to me - when I met linda, she used to haul bales of hay (90 lbs) and straw (60 lbs) - talk about arm muscles!) - but then again, not unfeminine, but not in a feminine mode that can be easily classified - unless "farm girl" is a mode?

Anonymous said...

(heh) Last time I measured my legs, I immediately forgot the numbers -- the only aspect interesting to me at the time was the difference between them.

And I'm not sure I'm up to measuring my waist. Unlike you, I actually have a body-fat percentage in positive integers. (Said after munching on a deep-dish pizza for dinner.)