In the 20 years I’ve been watching, reading, writing and speaking about stories of lesbians and lesbian relationships in anime and manga, a lot of things have changed. In the 1990s, western fans were coining phrases like “shoujo-ai” and “shounen-ai” to enforce what they saw as differences between pure” romance between girls and adult lesbian sex. The distinction was arbitrary, and more in line with western morals than Japanese standards. Those words have since been all but abandoned for being more related to pedophilia than woman or men in same-sex relationships. Likewise Juné, Yaoi, 801 have all come and gone and come back again to describe pretty boys in sexual and romantic relationships For the most part we’ve landed on “Boys Love” as the definitive (for now) genre term.
Yesterday on Anime Feminist I discuss why we call our genre Yuri and not, say, the (seemingly obvious) analogous phrase “Girls Love.” Even more importantly, I recall the roots of the term in lesbian culture, roots I and other lesbian creators and fans feel are critical to keeping the genre about us, telling our stories, as opposed to letting the stories be dictated by those who haven’t experienced them.
Take a look at Why We Call It Yuri on Anime Feminist – and thanks to the AF team for being so awesome and giving me space to tell my story!