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12 January 2009 @ 06:29 am
Squall and Weepy Uke Syndrome  
For a while, I've not been hip to the jive of the psuedo-Japanese terms that yaoi fangirls seem to have adopted. This is not surprising, considering I'm not a big fan of most yaoi fan fiction. For a while, I've seen the terms "seme" and "uke" tossed around several fandom communities and only recently decided to enlighten myself as to what these terms meant.

To the others who, like me, aren't up on the lingo, this is taken from the "Yaoi" page on Wikipedia:

"These terms originated in martial arts and do not carry any degrading connotations. Seme derives from the Japanese verb semeru (“to attack”) and uke from the Japanese verb ukeru (“to receive”). Though gay males are often referred to in English as "tops" or "bottoms," seme and uke are more nearly analogous to "pitcher" and "catcher." The seme and uke are often drawn in the bishōnen style and are "highly idealised", blending both masculine and feminine qualities."

Are we all caught up?

One author (zeffyface ) coined the term "Weepy Uke Syndrome," which caught my attention immediately.

The author defines it as "An occurrence in slash fanfiction, in which a character suddenly undergoes a change in personality to become weak, overemotional, and submissive. This is typically seen in counterpoint to the other, purely dominant half of the desired pairing.

The syndrome can be frequently seen in couples who are equally strong-willed in canon. Theoretically the writer or such couples believes that all gay pairings must have a 100% uke and 100% seme, with no reversal, and thus changes one of them to fit their idea of 'uke'.
" [sauce]

This got me to thinking about pretty much all yaoi fanfiction for Final Fantasy VIII I've ever read, and it's appropriate for most (if not all) that I've come across. Especially for Squall. I've seen it a bit in a few other characters, but from a typical author's point of view, we already have the stereotype of "weepy" for Squall before the homosexual slant is ever added. Perfect formula, right?

Wrong.

I recently wrote a bit about how Squall Isn't Emo. To summarize quickly, Squall is the way he is because of quite a bit of trauma. The boy has put up with a lot, so it's quite understandable that he's not quite in a "sane" headspace.

The most typical scenario I've run across goes as follows. Rinoa and Squall shack up post game. Rinoa leaves for whatever reasons. Squall becomes five hundred kinds of torn over this. Cue obsessive emo angst fests. But in swoops Seifer/Irvine/Zell to save the day! They take a wounded and, for some reason, suddenly feminine Squall under their wings to nuture him and tend to his broken heart. Chances are, "No really! Seifer/Irvine/Zell actually loved Squall through the whole game. They just didn't know how to express it before now." Eventually, Squall falls for them as well. Insert more angst and drama for sparkles and general effect. In the end, it's just another fluffy love story behind uber-masculine brooding boy and super gay brooding Squall.

It bothers me a bit, especially when Seifer is the other half of the pairing. They are most definitely equally-strong willed in canon. And while I'm not excluding the possibility of a romantic relationship between the two, it just doesn't make much sense when it's presented in the above format.

Squall would, undoubtedly, have a very hard time coping with the loss of Rinoa. He spent most of his life believing it was a bad idea to open up to people, and thus he was an emotional hermit. It took him a long while to finally open up to Rinoa, and if she were to leave him, it would probably reinforce that thought that he's spent so long beating into his own head. It would not send him crying into the arms of the nearest big, strong male.

Your typical author doesn't spend much time considering the logic behind a pairing like this, and what you wind up with is pure fanservice. I guess if you wanted to get into a whole 'nother debate, fanfiction in general is nothing but fan service, but I'll save that for later.

I personally think I would enjoy yaoi fanfiction more, especially for the VIII fandom, if more logical thought was put into the pairing rather than slapping them into seme/uke roles without much consideration for the character's personality.
 
 
 
Jane Jonessolitaryjane on January 12th, 2009 08:28 pm (UTC)
Word.

I think we'd all enjoy fanfiction more if more thought were put into shaping a relationship rather than zomgtehsmexxors!! And I also hate the seme/uke stereotype. It's one thing if you're writing fanfic of a yaoi original where the seme/uke is enforced, but completely another matter if it's regular shonen anime (like, say, Bleach, or D. Gray-man), or, in this case, FF game titles. It's kind of hard to change, though, because fangirls usually read fanfiction first, and then write. By then they're probably already influenced by the stereotypes and are imitating, to an extent, and nowadays the notion is so drilled in that it's hard to change all over again.