How Art Can Be Good - Paul Graham
Frida Kahlo, essay, analysis, paintings, works, art
The traditional binary forces of positive or negative, black or white, above or below, hard or soft may point to a deeper cultural phenomenon, Taoism and yin and yang. However, the coexisting spectrum of shades of gray, the-somewhere-between-positive-and-negative, and the either and neither-above-or-below point to instability, transition, reformulation, and change. Yaoi may signify a dissatisfaction, an uneasiness, with traditional female identities and the desire to experiment with new identities and new power relationships. Nevertheless, the precise character of the new conceptions of male and female, such as the "dual" feminine and masculine "personalities" posited by Takemiya (personal communication, January 22, 2003 are difficult if not impossible to fix. The perspectives, positions, tastes, and orientations seem to exist in a frightening rhizomatic flux. Yaoi appears to reinforce conservative gender roles while simultaneously providing models for liberating roles. The choices are there and the readers and writers may, consciously or unconsciously, choose this, or that, or the other model--or their combinations.
On Art Activism - Journal #56 June 2014 - e-flux
The yaoi/boys' love phenomenon is a spectrum of signification which is sometimes highly complicated. We are left to wonder about the consequences of creators and readers of yaoi and boys' love choosing multiple oppositional or contradictory identities from the spectrum of possibilities. What are the consequences of being double-minded, playing with double-edged-ness, possessing double-pleasures, double-troubles? Perhaps this is an instance about which Jacques Lacan writes--of "the incessant sliding of the signified under the signifier" (Lacan 1977, 154). He claimed that no anchoring of particular signifiers to particular signifieds is possible. Like Lacan, Derrida refers to the free-play of signifiers which point beyond themselves to other signifiers in an "indefinite referral of signifier to signified" (Derrida 1978, 25). We believe that the range of double-duty disengaged signifiers permit the creators and consumers of yaoi and boys' love to be as-I-am-now while symbolically having as-I-might-be identities posited by the "other" who just happens to appear in the form of others' [male] bodies. The slippery less-known [to the female] male body provides a nearly-blank slate on which to scrawl, scrub-out, and sometime even with an elegant line draw new forms of femininity.