The All-Gender Gaze (also Chapter 22 of Spotted Flower)

I’m sure somebody has made this point before, but I thought of it on my own so whatever. Genshiken the original focuses more heavily on the male gaze and how the largely male cast observes female anime characters as objects of lust. It doesn’t take long for Ohno to be introduced, but she’s kind of the outlier as a general nod to “Not all Otaku are male guys!!” Then we get Ogiue, who really expands the perspective of Fujoshi and clarifies that it’s not just how this one creepy girl really likes butch men but still lets herself be objectified to fit in with the dudes. By the end of Genshiken the original there’s a pretty even split between showcasing the straight(?) male and female gaze while still existing under the construct of a male-dominated Genshiken where by default, the girls are being objectified most (see: cosplaying).

Genshiken Nidaime initially sets itself out as “just a reversal” of this by having the female-dominated Genshiken where by default, the male are being objectified most (see: literally the entire fucking manga they’re shipping the past male members of Genshiken). We’re given our token male character, Kuchiki, who, while happy to view himself as the member of a harem (ironic, isn’t it, that he’s the only “male“ character of the Genshiken who doesn’t in Nidaime?), is only viewed a component of the fujoshi’s shipping. (As you totally-not-alt-right youngins would say, get cucked!) But besides this and a fu”danshi”, it’s just doing the opposite of before, right?

Heh. Heh. Time to pull out my large, round spectacles and kale smoothies, my friends. It’s queer time. I’ve probably said it before, think about it for two seconds and you can understand, but Hato exists largely as a fujoshi, not as a fudanshi. It’s fucking spelled out for you by like, the fourth chapter or something, I’m sure you know the explanation by now. If not just ask me and I‘ll make a separate post on it. Anyway, Hato kind of is this catch-all of gender and sexual exploration. Don’t say they aren’t… come on. They literally prefer to live as male and female part time in Nidaime and !Hato presents as female in Spotted Flower and has gotten a boob-job to boot. There’s your gender exploration. Now how’s about the big question that becomes the central plot of like, a few volumes of Nidaime about how the fuck is it possible for somebody who reads that much yaoi to not find themselves a little bit attracted to men. Tada!! Queer representation, guys! Y’all straight people can do it too, you know? Just don’t make it a super negative representation and have a good grasp on how pronouns work… maybe have done some research about discrimination queer people face… yea, okay, fair enough, I see why you don’t, but Kio did and it makes me happy (disregard the pronouns bit; I’m not sure how common gender-neutral pronouns are in Japanese so he gets a pass). Anyway though, Hato’s purpose is largely to demonstrate how fucking interesting a queer perspective of traditionally binary objectification in manga can be. I know it takes some research, but it makes your story so much more interesting.

Spotted Flower, I don’t even know what the fuck it does. It’s 4D chess or something. (It doesn’t help that my translation of what Chapter 22 says is provided by Google Translate.) Muda-kun has probably covered this better than I can already, but lemme do my best. I’m only like, four months late to the hype train. We were talking about the objectifying gaze, but let’s just address the elephant in the room.So basically !Madarame is making !Hato an option, he’s letting himself be seduced by them, because he’s been weighed down by all the responsibilities of marriage and having a life and garbage like that. He says (according to Google Translate anyway), that he doesn’t want to make his wife embarrassed by his childish interests and behaviors, but also how this in itself is childish behavior, letting himself be changed by his desire to please the woman who pleasures him. And Hato, ever the beautiful succubus, asks if he wants to become a dirty adult. Not only this, but they’ve prepared. They’ve always been waiting for this moment to happen (and they fucking say it too). They’ve researched all about how two penis-havers actually do it (not like all that yaoi shit). Madarame (shit, sorry, I meant !Madarame) realizes partway through that he really is a sou uke at heart (It was always meant to be HatoMada. You know it. MadaHato was just the excuse so he could maintain face of still being straight. Now that Hato’s got boobs though, he can handle getting fucked in the butt.) and Hato’s TRUE POWER LEVEL IS FINALLY SHOWN. YEAAA!!! They become God, literally, and satisfy the dream they’ve had for like, the past 10 years or however long it’s been since Genshiken (shit, they’re separate timelines guys, okay?!) about being THE REALEST BOI!! Google Translate may not be much, but I understood the part where they say “I will love you with all my body and mind… relax and let me do it… (p 25).” I don’t think there’s much lost in translation there. (Also in the next chapter they literally say they did more giving than taking. I’m pretty sure it was Hato’s dick in Madarame, okay?)

Um, was I going to analyze something here? Oh, right. So Spotted Flower said fuck you to the traditional notion of male / male yaoi (Imean, they are both biologically male, but that’s about it). Instead it embraces the more gender-neutral satisfaction of shipping two characters, not to appeal to fujoshi, but to appeal to fans of HatoMada. Actually, let’s be real, it’s probably just to piss everybody else off. I’m sure some HatoMada fans are pissed too since their love is only satisfied in a kind of disgusting affair (dude, your wife just gave birth and you’re cheating on her. That’s pretty fucked), but you know what? I was depressed on a likely clinical level after it dropped that Madarame wasn’t going to pick Hato and once again when Madarame picked that fucking bitchass twat Sue. So to see HatoMada come to fruition in any extent pleases me greatly. Not to mention, this is undeniably Madarame’s fault here. Like, say what you will about Hato being guilty for preying on him, but Madarame called them over, Madarame asked them for sex. It is his fault 100%. And you know what, I’m not a fan of HatoMada because I sympathize so deeply and truely with Madarame. It’s because of Hato. Even beyond this too, Hato makes the extra good boi move of telling Madarame he shouldn’t and that it’s betrayal et cetera. So, you know what? I’m pretty happy with this.

Also, you know what, fuck you Angela! FUCK YOU! You said that Madarame sou uke was fiction and this was reality, but you know what the real reality is? IT‘S MADARAME GETTING THE D BOIIIII!!!! AHA!!! I WIN! HATO WINS! IT’S THE BEST!!!!!!! Madarme fucking asked for it. HE ASKED FOR IT. All you faithless, weak-hearted sorts didn’t believe, but I did. I never stopped believe in HatoMada. Ask my friends, even, I’ve had debates over death of the author being used to the extent of not accepting the last volume of Genshiken as canon. I ALWAYS KNEW AT HEART THAT HATOMADA HAD TO BE TRUTH.And if this is all that happens— if the two never fuck again, I’m still satisfied. I don’t need a relationship even. I just needed to see HatoMada be true once. And oh boy it was, in gratuitous detail. The irreverent, non-hyper-sexualized, non-pornographic even, tone that it takes only makes it better. After all, I’m too much of a queer boi to be turned on by such normal interests as penis-in-butthole sex pumping back and forth.So basically woohoo! We’ve got our queer representation of sex in !Genshiken. Something about the queer gaze … I guess it goes that Hato is queer and they lust after Madarame, male (though as the traditionally feminine role in yaoi, which in itself is interesting, since the original intent of yaoi was for the uke to be relatable to the female reader and further satisfy the male-dominant, female-submissive cultural notion where the man takes what he wants and the female is helpless, but here Hato is, undeniably serving the  role still as a fujoshi and yet lusting and relating to the dominant position… is it somehow because they were assigned male at birth?), but also after women (as evidenced by the fact that their partner is Yajima), but they kind of exclusively read fujoshi-oriented manga i.e. male-male yaoi. It’s almost as if Kio knew about how the uke is supposed to be what “straight” women “project” themselves onto and also about how fujoshi really don’t project themselves onto either character per se but rather just take the truly position of power by being just an observer, a powerful observer, who derives sexual and non-sexual pleasure just by seeing how it all goes down. And also about how by fujoshi sharing their fantasies they occupy this virtual lesbian state (see: Akiko Mizoguchi’s “Reading and Living Yaoi”). And also about… you know. Point is he gives a good representation of fujoshi and shit. It’s pretty cool.

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2 thoughts on “The All-Gender Gaze (also Chapter 22 of Spotted Flower)

  1. WHOOOOOOEEEEEEE!

    Your power level is at 8000 because your heart is pure. Also, your HatoMada-fu. I will re-read this post a few more times to absorb more of the glee. It is refreshing. Also, thanks for the mention. Commendations for sitting down and doing the Google translate work to get a better reading of c22. Every time I tried on the European scanlation I kept being sidetracked into looking up the libretto for ‘Un bel dì vedremo’, and promptly forgot what I was doing as I diverted to Callas clips on Youtube.

    Perhaps it is because I remain stuck in my oyagi headspace that I initially read chapter 22 as disenchanted, with the wind-down bit w. !Yajimacci as a tip of the hat to a certain theorist’s hate-on for Maka-Maka (as prime example of how NOT to represent lesbians as friends-with-benefits waiting for the righ guy, circa mid 2000’s). Meanwhile the elephant in the room, the elephant that has always been there since the beginning of the Genshiken was doing a happy dance and handing out lampshade hats.

    Fans are weird and frightening creatures. Their enthusiasms call out for their kind. One day the Japanese will glom onto Furries and the gates of hell will open. They are already doing wonders with Steampunk. Fear next summer in the Harajuku. Ok, yeah (mumbles the old guy) I suppose it is queer as all fuck, too. Up for a multi-post friendly debate over whether its the queer or its the fannish that most compelled those two? Hmmmmm?

    So it took a while to sneak up on me. Once it did, !Hato!Mada!Hato became inexorable, especially if the outfit !Hato wore to !Mada’s place was cosplayish. And that vow.. I have a thing about the bishonen era vow as massively important, if only as a marker of an older shoujo-bishonen fluid take on gender and sexuality as opposed to more formulaic “BL-normalities”.

    The English scans of C21.5 are out. !Hato is going on about some chara they will draw getting pegged for 30 minutes in a way that is reminiscent of the way a certain sempai would gibber on over their fave stuff…

    Fans.. Jeesh…

    Congrats and thanks for these posts.

    Like

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