My study deals with a genre of Japanese comics called yaoi, or boys’ love. My aim is to study masculinities appearing in this genre and how they interact. In my stories, a younger boy and an older one, or a grown man, fall in love and sometimes come as far as intercourse. The young boy behaves in a way that could be interpreted as him being a girl under cover. Because of that I also discuss if yaoi is a challenge to heteronormativity, or if it actually confirms it.
In support of the view that the boy could be read as a girl is the inequality in power between the two lovers, but also the way the young boy is depicted; he is always drawn as smaller, with large eyes, whereas the older part is taller with broad shoulders. The older boy/man may represent one of two kinds of masculinity. Either cruel, brutal and violent, or kind but manly. Both these kinds of personality are very protective, sometimes in a way difficult to separate from controling, and they also harass the younger part with kisses and caresses and sometimes rape. The younger boy represents a masculinity which is more passive and sensitive. The harassment and even the rapes are accepted without further comments as acts of love.As I see it, with the help of Janice Radway, the young boys’ accepting of their lovers scorn and violence, legitimizes male dominance over women and subordinated masculinities. That’s why yaoi may be seen as confirming heteronormativity instead of questioning it.