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Do Heterosexual Men Dream of Homosexual Men?

Do Heterosexual Men Dream of Homosexual Men?

BL Fudanshi and Discourse on Male Feminization

Do Heterosexual Men Dream of Homosexual Men?
Boys Love Manga and Beyond
Kazumi Nagaike
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines heterosexual male readership of Boys Love (BL) in Japan. It draws heavily from Yoshimoto Taimatsu's study, Interviewing Fudanshi (Fudanshi ni kiku)—fudanshi (rotten men) being the term used to refer to heterosexual male readers—and extends his analysis of the discursive queerness reflected in heterosexual male readings of male homosexual narratives such as BL. Although it might be assumed that it is primarily gay men who are interested in these homoerotic narratives, as the chapter points out, gay men have had a sometimes problematic relationship with BL. As early as 1992, a “yaoi debate” (yaoi ronsō) emerged in feminist media wherein some gay spokesmen criticized women writers for appropriating and misrepresenting gay relationships and desire. The chapter also describes how the fudanshi demonstrate a subconscious psychological male desire for self-feminization through male readers' identification with those images of seemingly gay men that were originally designed by and for women.

Keywords:   heterosexual male, BL, Japan, fudanshi, Yoshimoto Taimatsu, Interviewing Fudanshi, homosexual narratives, yaoi debate, self-feminization

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