In my final blog, I decided to explore my last arguably most important epiphany during my reading of Fake – the ethical and legal lined which Yaoi seemed to surpass. I was left feeling puzzled by how such explicit and sexual images were aimed at teenage girls. Furthermore, in a particular scene, despite Ryo saying that ‘he’s not ready’ (for having sex), Dee pushes him to the bed and shouts ‘silence, love-slave!’ as it was time to have ‘fun, fun, fun’. I was shocked by this because it essentially violates the fundamental legal notion of ‘consent’ to sexual intercourse. I must admit, I did not appreciate that particular part of the text.
During my reading, I questioned how could such texts be appropriate for teenage girls when pornography clearly is not? Furthermore, while Fake does not present this, Yaoi often depicts homoerotic relationships involving underage boys. As a student of legal studies, I was left wondering how such texts could be allowed in Japan when such images are defined as ‘child pornography’ in Australia? For example, under section 91H of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), any films or publications that depict children actually or apparently under the age of 16, in a sexual context or victims of cruelty, physical abuse or torture are criminalised. Thus this left me in a dilemma; is Yaoi manga art or pornography? Such laws exist to protect children and criminalise material that advocate for the sexual abuse of children. However, while I am no expert in Yaoi manga, I do not believe Yaoi is used as a genre to cause harm to children. Furthermore, as McLelland (2005, p.69) argues, ‘the highly stylised nature of the illustrations and conventional plot lines of the narratives…militate against any realistic interpretation of these stories’. Such laws inadvertently criminalises a large, female yaoi manga fans, who comes together to share their love for fictional ‘beautiful boys’. Indeed, this can be problematic and arguably harmful to young people as it restricts their freedom to express sexual fantasies in a secure and supportive environment (McLelland & Yoo 2007, p.1) – this can be viewed as an important issue of censorship.
While I am currently restricted with time, I am particularly interested in this issue. I plan to further my research in this area and develop and understanding on whether Australian policy-makers have addressed this legal issues. I think it is worth considering the utility of these laws through their extension in application to such comics. Indeed, the law seems more draconian in this area.
McLelland, M 2005, ‘The World of Yaoi: The Internet, Censorship and the Global ‘Boy’s Love’ Fandom’, The Australian Feminist Law Journal, vol.23, pp.61-77.
McLelland M, Yoo, S 2007, ‘The international Yaoi boys’ love fandom and the regulation of virtual child pornography: current legislation and its implications’, Journal of Sexuality Research and Social Policy, vol.4, no.1, pp.93-104.