I hate to be the one to break this to you, dude, but as a general rule, women don’t pretend to virulently hate men they’re secretly in love with as some sort of elaborate courtship ritual. That’s a trope we made up to justify why the male protagonist always gets the girl in the end even when it’s starkly at odds with prior characterisation. In real life, if she acts like she thinks you’re a creep, it’s because she thinks you’re a creep!
Ever think about the fact that when Konan died she was literally erased from the whole narrative? She wasn’t brought back by Edo Tensei like the other members of Akatsuki, in fact she wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the 4th war. Obito doesn’t mention her, neither does Zetsu, Madara doesn’t ask, Naruto doesn’t think about her at any time, not even Nagato takes a second to angst about her. In fact it’s possible Naruto doesn’t even know when, where, and how she died. It’s possible he doesn’t know she died at all. I doubt Nagato or any of the other reanimated Akatsuki members knew, since they were all already dead when it happened and no one mentioned anything about her. It’s possible no one knows about the sacrifice she made, about the ideals she died defending, her legacy. No one remembers. No one cared. It’s possible no one even retrieved her corpse, she decomposed at the pitch dark bottom of the sea as if she were nothing but garbage. After being denied a family, a happy childhood, a healthy relationship, a stable adolescence and adulthood. After being denied so many things her whole life she was also even denied a proper burial alongside her childhood friends. She died like an animal. Worse than an animal. She was completely deleted from the narrative, as if her character had been completely useless and her presence had never affected anything in the story, as if she had been nothing but a cheap plot device that lost it’s purpose after Nagato had a change of heart. Every male character that died in the series, no matter how important or unimportant they were to the plot, left a legacy and were remembered after they died. Why couldn’t Konan get the same respect and honor? Why did the story continue on as if she had never existed?
Looking at bi women in media and trying to distinguish Good Sexy Bi Rep from Bad Sexy Bi Rep is hard sometimes but there are some distinctions that heavily tie in to the way we’re perceived in real life.
1) The Fantasy: Probably the most obvious, the Fantasy bi woman is a character that only exists to facilitate a male character’s sexual awakening. She’s there to titillate him with lines about how she “experimented” in college, orchestrate a threesome, or otherwise. Her bisexuality is never given any meaningful insight and is only ever perceived from the male character’s perspective, and once her sexuality – or character in general – is no longer useful to his narrative, she’s killed or otherwise vanishes from the story.
2) The Hedonist: This is the bi woman known for partying and sleeping around. There is an important factor that distinguishes her from a fun, fleshed-out character who may be relatable to real-life bi women who also like sex and partying: her attraction to multiple genders is not portrayed as genuine or meaningful, just an avenue of satiating lust. This character will go to any length to receive sexual satisfaction and attention, even if it means “resorting” to the same gender. Her sexuality is just a manifestation of her selfishness, and her partners are a means to an end for her, rather than a being she is actually attracted to. Watching her interactions you wouldn’t be able to distinguish her likes and dislikes in a partner, because they’re deemed unimportant by the narrative: she’ll take anything she can get. Note: this is NOT the same as a well-developed character who is dealing with hypersexuality as a symptom of trauma or illness.
3) The Turncoat: She’s probably mean, cunning, and full of secrets, in a story where she is directly positioned against characters who are portrayed as righteous (eg. a morally grey character in a story about gangsters or pirates or spies or so on is going to have a little more leeway). Like the Hedonist, her likes and dislikes don’t matter and her attraction isn’t genuine – her partners are a means to an end, be it information, blackmail, a distraction, etc. Her identity is likely faked – her name has been changed, her hair dyed, her wallet full of stolen credit cards, and whatever she’s doing, she’s only doing it for personal gain, be it money or power. She switches sides as it suits her agenda, and doesn’t care who she hurts along the way.
For all three of these archetypes, these behaviours are portrayed as an obvious flaw. Sometimes the characters are “redeemed” – either through their falling in love with a man, being killed off, or both.
It’s not hard to see how all of them are a result of, and a direct contributor towards, biphobic misogyny:
All are without genuine attraction to men and women, especially women, sometimes with the exception of the male love interest that “saves” her; their attraction is only performed to the point of them gaining something, the titillation of the audience, or the arc of a male character.
They are almost always purely selfish. They are manipulators and infiltrators, indecisive and immature, always postured outside the norm of the heroes and as their fatal flaws – often ones they never overcome, leading to their downfall.
If we are meant to understand them, it’s through a weakly-woven “daddy issues” backstory; never an insightful abuse narrative, but a dime-a-dozen stereotype that boils her actions down to “fuck you, dad!” and childish rebellion. It’s not a matter of gaining audience sympathy so much as pity.
These sentiments will sound familiar to most bi women, but not just because of whatever we just watched on tv, but in the way that real people treat us, refuse to trust us, and degrade us.
It’s really not hard to see how these characters warp people’s perceptions of bi women, and are themselves are products of people’s warped visions of us to begin with. The idea that our attraction to women is lesser or even false, that we’re trying to “infiltrate” LGBT communities, that we’ll always “end up with” a man, exist only for men, or are always too young and immature to understand who we are.
Identifying these tropes and our unconscious tendencies to use them as shorthand for real people is crucial to unraveling the mistreatment of bi women and our own internalized biphobia – not only in media representation, but in our everyday lives.
I think a factor a lot of the magical girl discourse on Tumblr is overlooking is that there is a fundamental difference between a teenage girl writing a dark, bloody magical girl story to express what’s going on in her life, and a middle-aged man whose most notable prior work was an underage porn game about loli Cthulhu writing a dark, bloody magical girl story because he thinks it’s objectively evil for women to have aspirations.
What she means:
Konan should have won or at least survived the fight against Tobi. She had the strength, wit, abilities, determination, and had spent years studying him. That thing where she filled the whole ocean with billions of explosives should have killed and rekilled him and the explanation as to how he survived was absolutely bullshit. Her being defeated and dying (In a unnecessarily cruel way, btw) didn't serve no purpose to the development of the story, she already had her whole character reduced to support for Yahiko and then for Nagato, the tvtropes page explains it quite well (Satellite Character: Take away Yahiko and Nagato's influence on her and what do you have left? A near-emotionless woman with paper powers who likes to do origami.) And ok i get it that Obito & Madara were some of the ultimate villains and had to have their own arc where Naruto defeated them at the end but Konan could had survived her fight against him and become a extremely powerful ally to Naruto and the shinobi alliance during the fourth war arc now that she was free from the shackles of Yahiko/Nagato/Pain she could become her own character with her own desires and motivations instead of being decoration for male characters, and the fact they decided to kill her almost immediately after Nagato/Pain died confirms that the mangaka only ever saw her as an extension of a male character instead of her own individual character and that's terrible. She deserved better. Every single female character in this franchise deserved better. She was so powerful but we almost never see her fighting or doing anything interesting. The fight with Jiraiya was a huge opportunity for her to show off her abilities but Nagato/Pain just had to step in and take the spotlight. We never get a chance to see her character develop emotionally, girl was forced to hang around the corpse of her deceased boyfriend who was possessed by the soul of her chronically ill childhood friend and yet her feelings about this bizarre situation were never acknowledged. Not to mention this hell fandom still reduces her to "the group's mom friend" and "pain's wife" or a "bitter old bitch who gets in the way of the yaois uwu" and completely ignores all the potential she has to be so much more. And I'm still pissed about all this. I'm still pissed!
We need much more media that features women of color in relationships with other women of color. Most of the media that does show lbpq women of color characters puts them in relationships with white women/white people. And those relationships, predictably, tip the balance of power in favor the white person. You’ll notice that plot narratives center around emphasizing the autonomy of the white woman/white person at the expense of the woman of color’s health/wellbeing/autonomous development.
Also, it’s incredibly important to show healthy romantic love between two women of color. We need the power to reclaim our capacity to love, to be loved, and to rid our lives of whiteness and the white gaze as much as possible.
Not naming any names, but I’ve gotten to the point where I’m automatically suspicious when I see a book or a movie or whatever by a male creator that has an unusually high number of well-developed ladies in it. There’s always that nagging question at the back of my mind: okay, is this dude legit, or did he set things up this way because it’s more fun to torture, humiliate and kill them when they react like real people?
(Bonus points if there’s a book/season two bait-and-switch where the leading lady gets hit by a bus and it turns out that her plucky everyman sidekick was the real protagonist all along.)
you do know that YOI was actually created by a couple of straight women with a female audience in mind right? Personally enjoying it doesn't actually change what the series is.
I’ve literally interviewed the people who created it. With that plus that I’ve watched all of Yamamoto’s other anime, I think I have a better understanding of where they’re coming from with YOI than you do, anon.
I guess I would ask you and the rest of Tumblr fandom who like to circulate this reductive, shallow argument in a complete vacuum why you assume that people who don’t label their sexualities (and that you know they can’t publicly, because they are are in a position where they can’t really talk about that topic at all) must be “straight.” I think there are some heterosexist assumptions y'all need to question before you can start tut-tutting others about it.
Regardless of all that, it’s obvious to me (as an LGBT person but also just as someone who studies cinema, and anime specifically, and is deeply familiar with the medium’s history of LGBT representation) from just watching YOI that it’s been created with much more affection for and knowledge of LGBT people and relationships than any other sports anime, and in a way much closer to other queer-themed anime with an actual queer audience in mind. For example, Kunihiko Ikuhara’s work. Despite being a man, his portrayal of lesbian issues in anime like Utena and Yurikuma Arashi is very obviously different from your more standard yuri-for-straight-people, dealing with complicated issues lesbians face like compulsory heterosexuality and fetishization and criticizing that. YOI is different because it’s less obviously political, but it treats gay men like people, and shows an awareness of actual gay icons and culture (e.g. the repeated references to actual gay men in Victor’s character design) and relationships that you just don’t see in stuff that’s just “fujoshi pandering.”
It’s interesting to me that, people uncomfortable with how sexual his work is aside, Ikuhara being a male director who Gets Lesbians/LGBT Stuff is largely taken as a given on this site. And I’m not disputing that! But you have a woman who makes a show about gay men, even one that’s obviously different from all the other anime like that, and people assume she MUST be fetishizing and “BL-pandering.” Hmmm. I would unpack that? Also note that it’s the same thing sexist male anime creators (like that Welcome To The Ballroom director) are saying about those creators and that show. What does that say about what you think about women if you’re echoing them?
So long story short: no, I’m not just “excusing it because I like it.” I think the common Tumblr argument about it is wrong. And this whole mode of “criticism” that says “oh person of X identity made a thing about Y, ergo it’s bad, no actual thought or engagement with the actual work required!” is stupid and beneath me and probably beneath you, too.
me on Tumblr: imo hating men, white & straight ppl isn’t better than hating women, poc & lgbt+ ppl
Tumblr: um??? lmao we r just venting bc all str8s & all men & all crackers r our abusers. ur an evil abuse apologist yikes™ lmao bye
me on any other social media site: tbh I think treating women like objects sucks
other users: omg are you triggered sjw?! maybe you should drink some male tears against your period cramps
how about Pepperony + pregnancy announcement for trope prompt?
(Warning for misogyny).
Pepper lectures Tony for four consecutive hours over keeping his mouth shut. She has it all planned out. Quiet announcement at the four month mark, about the end of the time where she can get away with keeping it private, if she wants to remain a public figure.
And, god, Tony is so proud, so over-the-moon-excited-proud, and so prone to bursting out good news when he feels that people should be celebrating with him. But they’re going to wait.
First, they’re going to wait to make sure this is a sure-ish thing–she doesn’t mention this to Tony even though she’s sure he’s thought about it, but she’s over forty now, in a high-stress lifestyle–then give themselves as much time to handle this privately as they possibly can. The longer she can go without paparazzi hounding her for baby names and belly shots, the happier this pregnancy will be.
Tony agrees instantly, and she’s pretty sure he’d agree to anything she wants, a theory tested and proven when he runs out at nearly midnight to buy cherry Garcia ice cream because “cravings,” even though cravings in the first trimester aren’t typical and she’s certainly not having any stronger than usual.
Still, Tony’s sweet and accommodating, and, as previously noted, over-the-moon at the idea of a baby. Their baby. He’s nervous, too, but thankfully not to the point of nervous public babbling.
It probably shouldn’t surprise her that she’s the one who blows it, even if only by technicality.
She’s just past the three month mark, so she supposes she made it further in this than she truly expected, given the total lack of privacy in their life. She’s started to think about finding an interim CEO, to take her spot while she’s on maternity leave and Tony taking his paternity leave. She’s started to discretely shop for larger maternity clothes, and has conceded defeat in the heel department and invested in some good, dependable flats.
“Mr. Stark,” a paparazzi asks, cornering them on their way home from a lunch out. “What do you say to rumors that you’re planning to leave Ms. Potts, now that she’s started to let herself go?”
Tony looks so angry he could spit, red in the face and fists balled up.
Pepper starts to laugh. “Not happening, he’s stuck with me now,” she says, tugging on Tony’s shoulder so he turns to face her.
“Has he proposed? Is that why you feel the ability to focus less on appearances?”
Pepper snorts. “No further comment,” she says, before dragging Tony away before he can get a word in edgewise.
From there, it takes the gossip rags approximately four hours to put it together, her wearing flats, her not drinking when they go out, the weight gain.
“Potts and Stark–Iron Baby on the Way?”
“Next Generation Stark Heir”
“Potts Tames Playboy”
Of course, Pepper’s never one to be outdone, and she did have a reveal planned.
So she waits twenty-four hours, then has FRIDAY snap a picture of them, Tony’s face pressed against her belly. He likes to whisper to the baby. Tell the truth, she likes it too, which her fond expression in the picture makes evident.
She uploads it to Tony’s instagram account with his murmured permission–he barely looks up from her stomach–with nothing but a heart as a comment. The world can make what they want of that.
She and Tony are busy having a conversation with their baby.