Spied in Metro today \x96 a review of the increasing popularity in America of Yaoi ("yowee") \x96 a genre of new Japanese manga cartoons containing short fantasy stories focusing on male-on-male *erotic encounters*.
So far, so gay porn.
But the kicker is, these magazines are written by and for women. That\x92s right \x96 female artists, drawing men having sex with each other for the pleasure of other women. And it appears to be getting bigger and bigger (well it must be losing its underground status if it\x92s got a write up in Metro).
I was a bit taken aback by one Yaoi artist\x92s assertion that she "seldom find[s] good female characters" that she likes, relates to, or wants to draw and that she "find[s] male characters more endearing than most female characters". I would have thought the more obvious answer to that problem (for an artist) would be to create female characters that you like, relate to and want to draw.
On the other hand, an editor at Tokyo Pop, an American manga publishing house, describes Yaoi as subverting what is expected of men and women, and that\x92s a concept I\x92m always keen on.