(Un)gendering the homoerotic body: Imagining subjects in boys' love and yaoi

  • Mark McHarry Independent Scholar
Keywords: Anime, Comic market, Dojinshi, Fan fiction, Gender, Manga, Queer


Language is a condition for a subject's formation, and identity is a factor in a subject's understanding of self. The Japanese-derived literary forms boys' love and yaoi portray male subjects as valorizing and acting on same-sex erotic desire, yet with little or no sense of possessing a same-sex desiring identity. Following Elizabeth Grosz, Julia Kristeva, and Michel Foucault, a reading is performed of a Western yaoi fan fic to explore how subjects in yaoi and boys' love enter into language, and hence subjectivity.

Author Biography

Mark McHarry, Independent Scholar
Mark McHarry is an independent scholar. With Antonia Levi and Dru Pagliassotti, he edited a collection of essays published in 2010, Boys' Love Manga (McFarland). He has contributed to books, scholarly journals and critical popular publications, including Mangatopia: Essays on Manga and Anime in the Modern World (Libraries Unlimited); Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific; LGBT Identity and Online New Media (Routledge); Queer Popular Culture: Literature, Media, Film, and Television (Palgrave Macmillan); Encyclopedia of Erotic Literature (Routledge); Journal of Homosexuality; Z magazine; and Gay Community News. He has presented at conferences in the U.S. and Europe, including the Popular Culture Association, Modern Language Association, Textual Echoes (Umeå University), and Écritures du corps (University of Paris). With Nagaike Kazumi and Dru Pagliassotti he is guest editing a boys' love-themed special issue of Routledge's Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. He is also researching the life of author-inventor Hiraga Gennai.
Special Issue 2