Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

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Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby LuckyDucky » June 10th, 2014, 8:27 pm

I'm only going to talk about physical abuse here:

When it's a boy x girl relationship, when a girl hits a guy, it's usually not considered abuse.

But when it's boyxboy, is it considered abuse if they were to hit their partners considering that the other partner has equal strength and CAN fight back? In friendships it seems perfectly fine to punch them when they do a jackass thing. (like one punch and over it) Heck, it's even shown in femalexfemale friendships, those bitch slaps. And it seems fine when a girl slaps a guy in the face too, but it's socially unacceptable when a guy slaps a girl in the face.

----------------Do you consider it abuse if it's between two males?

I personally am not hot with the idea of punching anyone you're in a "good' relationship with, BUT I do not consider it abuse if the reason is that the other person did a jackass thing, like cheating. However, if one guy were to hit the other to dominate him or to "discipline" him, then I'd call that abuse.

Another thing is the whole seme/uke business. It seems more acceptable when two guys of equal strength punch each other, but when one is a flowering peach blossom and the other is some macho guy, it suddenly looks bad if the macho guy goes even a LITTLE rough on the peach blossom guy. Is it because it's unacceptable to "bully" someone a smaller size than you? Or because -BAM PLOT TWIST- Seme and Uke relationships are not actually [BOY]x[BOY] but [BOY]x [GIRL with a penis]?

So... what do you think?
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Re: Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby robybang » June 10th, 2014, 8:51 pm

In general, physical abuse in a relationship is never okay regardless of who is doing it. But some of it in fiction depends on context. Like if it's play fighting or rough sex or something, there wouldn't really be a problem, but that's because there's a clear indication of consent and limits. If someone says to stop or they're in pain and the other person doesn't stop, that's crossing a line and it shouldn't be viewed as okay or sexy.
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Re: Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby LuckyDucky » June 10th, 2014, 9:45 pm

What if it's not playing? What if say they did something really asshole-ish, Like if they cheat on you, does it seem reasonable to sock them in the face or slap them? If a girl did it to a guy it wouldn't look bad, but it would look bad if a guy slapped a girl for doing so. So what about between two males? What if the macho seme slaps the uke or punches him for cheating? Honestly, do you think it looks any worse or better than if the uke slaps/punches the seme for cheating on him? Is it considerd "ABUSE"?
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Re: Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby SkyWithFluffyclouds » June 10th, 2014, 10:41 pm

Abuse in any relationship is about a power imbalance which causes harm and was probably created by it too, whether it be physical or not. You also have to understand that beating someone up isn't just physical abuse therefore it's not really about who's the strongest physically but about who has a hold over the other.

And because this stuff is pretty ambiguous and specific to each relationship's dynamic it's also possible to be mutually abusive.

As in: the assholeish thing affects you emotionally/psychologically and you respond with violence and it probably would go on until something or someone gives. It's still not acceptable, you should break it off and walk away.

Stuff that's not directly related but I think it's relevant (ventish though).
Spoiler! :
In my opinion there's this idea in society, not only in BL (though it's blantantly displayed in it), about sex that one person has to be dominant while the other submissive, one prey the other predator. I think it's bullshit, it just gives way to unhealthy ideas about sex, and relationships (because people have a hard time separating the two). And this frame of mind bleeds over to other things because our society seems to be pretty big on sex, it's there implied but people don't actually talk outrightly about it and that just means unspoken "rules" that can be easily twisted. It sucks.


And finally, under no circumstance is it acceptable to bully someone. (well,though that's without taking extreme situations of bad or badder into account)
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Re: Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby blankd » June 11th, 2014, 12:02 am

LuckyDucky wrote:I'm only going to talk about physical abuse here:

When it's a boy x girl relationship, when a girl hits a guy, it's usually not considered abuse.

There's a lot of social sexism that lends to these misconceptions; abuse is abuse.
LuckyDucky wrote:Another thing is the whole seme/uke business. It seems more acceptable when two guys of equal strength punch each other, but when one is a flowering peach blossom and the other is some macho guy, it suddenly looks bad if the macho guy goes even a LITTLE rough on the peach blossom guy. Is it because it's unacceptable to "bully" someone a smaller size than you? Or because -BAM PLOT TWIST- Seme and Uke relationships are not actually [BOY]x[BOY] but [BOY]x [GIRL with a penis]?
Some creators do stick to this heteronormative portrayal of a homosexual relationship and such variations do exist but the "classic" seme/uke thing is popular and the social sexism carries on there. Most problematic yaoi (unfortunately the popular ones) utilize a lot of emotional/psychological abuse that is often similar to it's heterosexual romance counterparts. On the other hand, there are vocal fans who do not recognize this kind of emotional abuse which is in of itself a problem but another topic.

In regards to abuse in bl/yaoi, generally speaking, if one party is feeling or depicted as feeling unsafe, uncomfortable, terrified, etc. due to the actions of their partner it is very likely abuse. It is also entirely possible for both parties to consent to "rough treatment", the important thing to convey is that they both want to be there or that leaving/ending the relationship would not endanger them.

Another thing you may worry about is depicting a Stockholm relationship wherein a character does a 180 during the relationship where they "accept" the abuse. Generally this can also be avoided if both people are shown compromising instead of one party having to bend exclusively for the benefit or pleasure of the other (especially at the cost of their own happiness, interests, etc.).

Hope this helps.

EDIT: Also the reason why male on female violence is often seen as deadlier is because statistically it is vs the opposite.
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Re: Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby LuckyDucky » June 11th, 2014, 9:16 pm

@SkyWithFluffyClouds: I see. I'm not sure about this.. I mean using violence is considered unacceptable under any circumstances (i mean unless for self defense or something) but I think people might be overreacting with the abuse thing. How should I say this... okay. Suppose you broke something, and your mom spanks you. Is she abusive? Or your boyfriend/girlfriend cheats on you, and you slap them in the face. Is that abusive? And in response to your spoiler, I think people just like the idea of one of the guys acting "bottom"/female so >target audience females< can relate to it.
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Re: Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby LuckyDucky » June 11th, 2014, 9:28 pm

@blankd: I agree with the sexism part, but I can't really blame people for that. Routines are hard to break.

I'm just not getting what people consider abuse. Does slapping someone = abuse? Does that mean your parents are abusive because they spanked you?
I mean, if someone is manipulating you, threatening you, or controlling you through force. Then that's abuse.
But consider these 3 scenarios and honestly choose which ones you feel are more acceptable:
[for all of them: the violence has nothing to do with control and dominance]

scene 1: "Seme" punches uke for cheating on him.
scene 2: ""Uke" punches seme for cheating on him.
scene 3: -both guys have the same build, equal relationship- guy1 punches guy2 for cheating. [guy2 can defend himself]

Would any of those scenarios be considered abuse?

Is violence automatically = abuse? or is it more of the reason behind it? or how it affects the other partner?
Is a punch or slap >less< unacceptable when it's thrown NOT because the person wants to Controll or DOMINATE?
Is beating someone up more acceptable when the victim does NOT feel unsafe, terrfied, etc as you stated because they can FIGHT BACK?
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Re: Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby eishiya » June 11th, 2014, 11:04 pm

If you want to reply to multiple people, please do it in one post. Double-posting's generally frowned upon.

All of the examples you provided are physical abuse, yes. Spanking children is a form of abuse that's often afforded special status because of its traditional status in western culture, but it still fits many legal definitions of the term.

Violence in the context of a relationship is abuse. If a stranger beats you up, or your police officer spouse beats you down while you're involved in a riot, those are different categories of violence.
A punch or slap is only more "acceptable" when it's not intended to and does not cause harm or fear.
Beating someone up in a relationship is abuse even if they can and do fight back. However, in real life, this type of abuse often goes unreported, or the initial abuser often even acts as the victim. Although, the abuser playing the victim is common even in situations where the real victim cannot defend themselves.

All of the above can have exceptions if both parties consent to the behaviour. Partners sparring is not abuse (unless coercion was involved, but in that case, there's no real consent). Partners making a habit of lightly punching or slapping one another when the other says something daft is not abuse.


I think the most common and problematic type of abuse found in BL is emotional abuse. I don't see physical abuse in BL anywhere near as often as emotional abuse, and physical abuse is often perceived by authors and readers as at least somewhat problematic, while emotional abuse is often seen as normal, or even desirable.
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Re: Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby blankd » June 12th, 2014, 2:54 am

LuckyDucky wrote:[for all of them: the violence has nothing to do with control and dominance]

scene 1: "Seme" punches uke for cheating on him.
scene 2: ""Uke" punches seme for cheating on him.
scene 3: -both guys have the same build, equal relationship- guy1 punches guy2 for cheating. [guy2 can defend himself]
Eishiya has covered this in her reply, but since you asked for my response I'll try and cover what she didn't (at least my view of it).

A "spur of the moment" violence in scenarios 1 and 2 are violent and generally not acceptable but typically "forgivable" if it starts and ends with a slap/punch out of feeling betrayed since 99% of characters reacting like that are doing it in a "how could you?"/lashing out sort of way. It isn't right but most wouldn't call that abuse, "merely" violence.

Now where BL/yaoi OFTEN expresses violence/abuse from "feeling betrayed by the other cheating" is that one party's definition of cheating may be a HUGE scope all the way to "I have a monopoly on you, I'm angry when you aren't specifically MINE". This abuse can be expressed as punishing the other person with assault/rape, slamming objects, tantrums/yelling, etc. These acts can sometimes be somehow seen as "well he just loves him too much" or feebly justified that the jealous party had a craptastic history and "he can't help it".

Back to your scenarios, most likely you are talking about adultery where one knowingly cheats in an intentional way (no coercion from the person they are cheating with). Either party punching the other would be considered violent and "acceptable" (not abuse) if again, that is the only act of it and it's left at that.

Abuse is often characterized by dominance/control, generally reacting to an isolated incident will not be considered abusive. It will probably be considered emotional/violent unless we get into more unrealistic territory where the punch does something else.

Other context to consider is what you are trying to convey with this punch/violence, is it an expression of this character's frustration or are you using this element because it is common in media and it seems "most natural"? Do you want to express catharsis or deal with how a character may react to this violence or the consequences of this character's behavior? Supplying some details for why this scene is to occur may provide better insight and more accurate information.

*I am assuming that it is a lone punch and the relationship being broken, not some kind of crazy prelude to hospitalization/death.
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Re: Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby maplebee » June 12th, 2014, 7:29 am

So most dictionaries define "to abuse" as something along the lines of "to treat (a person or an animal) with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly". I think the sort of abuse you're looking at constitutes a pattern that becomes established where some kind of mistreatment is occurring more than once.

Personally I wouldn't consider one partner hitting the other for cheating (or some major betrayal) to be abuse - IF it's a one-time reaction to the news. Now, if that same partner started regularly striking, threatening, or harming the offending partner thereafter, it would turn into abuse.

Abuse also has a central element of control to it, where one partner uses it to keep the other in line (by whatever their definition of 'in line') is. A one-time punch caused by emotional distress isn't meant to control anybody so much as assuage the puncher's hurt. There are things people do that, frankly, can deserve a punch; however, I would limit this to individual actions and reactions. Once a pattern is established of a partner intimidating, manipulating, or harming another person in order to control them, then it's abuse no matter the gender, sex, size, age, strength, etc, of those involved.
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Re: Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby mitchellbravo » June 12th, 2014, 2:41 pm

maplebee wrote:So most dictionaries define "to abuse" as something along the lines of "to treat (a person or an animal) with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly". I think the sort of abuse you're looking at constitutes a pattern that becomes established where some kind of mistreatment is occurring more than once.

Personally I wouldn't consider one partner hitting the other for cheating (or some major betrayal) to be abuse - IF it's a one-time reaction to the news. Now, if that same partner started regularly striking, threatening, or harming the offending partner thereafter, it would turn into abuse.

Abuse also has a central element of control to it, where one partner uses it to keep the other in line (by whatever their definition of 'in line') is. A one-time punch caused by emotional distress isn't meant to control anybody so much as assuage the puncher's hurt. There are things people do that, frankly, can deserve a punch; however, I would limit this to individual actions and reactions. Once a pattern is established of a partner intimidating, manipulating, or harming another person in order to control them, then it's abuse no matter the gender, sex, size, age, strength, etc, of those involved.

I'd actually say with regard to your last and second paragraphs, if you hit someone once and the intent is to say (even if it's not explicitly spoken) "Never do that again or I'll hit you again and it'll be worse next time," that is definitely abuse.

Semi related: Even if someone cheats on you, it doesn't give you the right to hit them. It makes it more understandable that you'd want to, but if we just went around hitting people all the time who we thought deserved it, let's face it that most of us would be a lot more black and blue all the time and hospitals would have a lot more shit to deal with.

Abuse of one kind does not justify abuse of another. Not to say that it justifies abuse in kind either, but like, let's not have a race-to-the-bottom of what's the minimum amount of socially acceptable behavior we ought to aim for.
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Re: Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby LuckyDucky » June 12th, 2014, 6:18 pm

@eishiya: First time really on a forum, never knew about double posting, but thanks for pointing it out
Okay, I get what you're saying. And actually, for physical abuse in BL, I see a lot of 1.) slamming hand on wall to block person's path. 2.) slamming person and trapping them against the wall 3.) rape (normally not violent but it's like the stuff where they're like "o look ur body seems to react to this") Not sure if 1.) and 2,) are considered physical abuse though because they're technically not touching the person.

@blankd: Generally I get the idea of what people consider is abuse now though I still believe that abuse(ers) get off lighter if they're weaker than the abuse(victims). A ton of stuff stir up controversy, and especially in bl people tend to really pick on the flaws of the relationship. I mean, I get that slamming someone, forcing someone, raping them are abuse, but there's just certain situations... Not saying that violence solves everything, but sometimes it's just the personality of the character or heat of the moment. Here's just a random example:
guy one (BOB), and guy two (BUB)
-----Bob and Bub are friends. Bub did something stupid and was drunk driving and ended up hitting Bob's mom. In the hospital, in a fit of anger and confusion Bob smacks Bub in the face.
Now replace the "friend" relationship with "lovers".
-----Bob catches Bub cheating on him, again in a fit of anger and rage he smacks him in the face.
I don't think those are abuse.


@maplebee: I think my definition of abuse is prettty much the same as yours hehe.

@mitchellbravo: your second paragraph is pretty amusing. Well, not everyone resolves to violence but most people do react somewhat to situations even if their actions don't justify anything. Rarely do you find someone who just shrugs off everything people throw at them.

Anyway, thank you people for answering. I get the general idea of abuse now, and I hereby conclude that babies are emotionally abusive and manipulative, same with small children and toddlers.
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Re: Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby mitchellbravo » June 12th, 2014, 6:41 pm

LuckyDucky wrote:@mitchellbravo: your second paragraph is pretty amusing. Well, not everyone resolves to violence but most people do react somewhat to situations even if their actions don't justify anything. Rarely do you find someone who just shrugs off everything people throw at them.

Right, so it's a pretty good thing I didn't say people ought to do that ;) All I'm saying is that someone else treating you poorly does not mean you get to do tit-for-tat retribution with a totally clear conscience. I know that everybody reacts to situations when they're hurt. I understand why they do it. That doesn't mean I condone actions they may take int hose scenarios.

Honestly, I'm not some robot programmed to turn the other cheek. I've lashed out at people who've upset me. That doesn't mean I'm proud of the actions I did those times, nor does it mean that that person would be obligated to accept my eventual apology just because "they hurt me first."

Anyway, just my 2 cents.
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Re: Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby blankd » June 13th, 2014, 2:52 am

LuckyDucky wrote:@blankd: Generally I get the idea of what people consider is abuse now though I still believe that abuse(ers) get off lighter if they're weaker than the abuse(victims). A ton of stuff stir up controversy, and especially in bl people tend to really pick on the flaws of the relationship. I mean, I get that slamming someone, forcing someone, raping them are abuse, but there's just certain situations... Not saying that violence solves everything, but sometimes it's just the personality of the character or heat of the moment.

Then that's just victim-blaming. "You're big guy, how could you LET that happen to you?"

I have actually seen most of the opposite, where fans attempt to justify everything the abuser does. I'm fine with people liking a character but it's the weird hoops some readers jump through to make a (usually "hot") character who does villainous things into the victim instead of thinking of the victim as the victim.
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Re: Abuse in BL/Yaoi relationships?

Postby CB_Young » July 1st, 2014, 5:03 pm

I have often thought that one of the appeals of yaoi is that it can be a way to explore violence (physical or emotional) in relationships without violating the taboo surrounding violence against women. Granted, I haven’t read a whole lot of yaoi, but from what I’ve seen, the relationships tend to be remarkably hetero-normal. It might be two guys, but one of them is almost always playing the stereotypical female role. I can’t think of any off the top of my head that have a relationship between two men who act like men.

I’m going to say that play-fighting and rouge sex are okay regardless of the sexes in the relationship. But being the same sex doesn’t make actual violence any better, no mater how much they “deserve it.” If my boyfriend cheats on me, and I punch him, it’s still abuse; it doesn’t matter that we are about the same size. There is no excuse for that.
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