If you followed my episode-by-episode reviews/recaps of ToraDora!, you’ve known this was coming for a while. If you haven’t followed my episode-by-episode reviews/recaps of ToraDora!, nothing to worry about: they aren’t required reading, though this post is the culmination of some thoughts and observations I had while rewatching the show. Namely, hey, wow, Minorin isn’t very straight, is she? Or at least, there’s no reason why she has to be.
As with my previous Make It Gayers, this post will be half textual analysis and half “look, why not? What if?” ToraDora! is a delightfully tangled-up love quadrangle that could only get more delightfully tangled with the addition of LGBTQ+ affections, and having Minorin be secretly in love with a girl rather than a boy doesn’t actually change her character arc, the themes of the show, or indeed any of the plot. If anything, her secretly being in love with a girl makes more sense than secretly being the third character in the show to fall for Ryuji, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves… Continue reading
Until Dawn is one of the most aggressively straight pieces of media I’ve come across. All but two of its eight main characters are set up as romantic/sexual pairs, and defined as this in the quick flash of character introduction we get at the start of the game. It’s equally important for the player to know that Ashley is “academic” as it is to know that she has a crush on Chris, and given how wafty the characterisation in the game can be, their relationship status becomes one of the few concrete things we do know about them. The only two characters who aren’t either dating someone of the opposite gender or mutually crushing on someone of the opposite gender are Josh and Sam, and Josh spends half the game making lewd jokes like “I just want to push her down and make some snow angels you know?” about the girls.
Sam is a strange outlier in that her relationship identifier is “Hannah’s best friend” rather than “Emily’s boyfriend” or “Mike’s ex” or “has a crush on Ashley”. Josh is noted as Hannah and Beth’s older brother (for clarity, mostly, so in case you missed the brief mention of it in the prologue you know this important bit of information and the story will make sense), but this still leaves Sam as the only one defined by a platonic relationship. Which really, really sticks out like a sore and lonely thumb when everyone else is paired off for their respective storylines into romantic couples rife with sexual tension, some… more believable than others.
You spend enough time with Jess and Mike to see their chemistry, but Emily and Matt seem to just fight and belittle each other the entire time save for occasionally announcing that they really, really want to sleep together. Which is not what a healthy, normal, or well-written relationship looks like. Frankly, it feels forced, like the writers jammed them together into a couple because that’s just what teenagers do, right? Are horny for each other? Continue reading
Fangirl was/is a very important book to me. It did so many things that I rarely saw and it did them relatively well—a character deeply ensconced in fandom, who writes fanfiction on an industrial scale and deeply loves it, and isn’t presented at all as a parody or something awkward to kind of laugh at; a look at the way fandoms can shape and help people and the incredible catharsis that can come from engaging with a creative work; a protagonist with anxiety disorder; a fictional mother that left rather than tragically dying as is the norm; the horrors of plagiarism as a legitimate antagonistic plot device; and, and this is one of the big ones honestly: a YA love interest I actively liked.
Guys, Fangirl was good. Cath was a great, relatable and three-dimensional protagonist and I came to really adore her and support her, and in the end her coming of age didn’t involve her leaving fandom and fanfic behind so much as branching out and embracing other kinds of creativity and friendship as well. And good lord, her relationship with her soft, sweet, good-hearted but ultimately flawed and human love interest Levi was a rare gem of teen romance that I really connected to and enjoyed.
Upon finishing this novel, filled with the popping candy joy of completing a good book, I realised something I hadn’t really thought to notice while reading it: gay people only exist in fanfiction. Continue reading