Taming the Tiger- a Barairo My Honey review

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There are, generally speaking, two types of josei titles: the down to earth ones and the Arlekin-like ones. Barairo My Honey is definitely the second type; I mean, the main love interest is the tall black-haired stern-face specimen who just so happens to have been born in wealth. Of course, we also have a rival who’s the laid-back boy next door. However, Ohmi Tomu, known for her Midnight Secretary and Spell of Desire, was in the mood of gifting us with an utterly cute and fresh romance. Let me tell you why this three-volume captured my affections. Continue reading

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Same-sex desire and unions in A Bride’s Story

Shirin & Anis

Otoyomegatari is an ongoing manga series by Kaoru Mori, the same artist who brought us Emma. It is published in English by Yen Press in a beautiful hardcover edition, translated as A Bride’s Story, and chronicles the life of Amira with her younger groom and her relationship with her tribe as well as the cultural observations of Dr. Smith, an English doctor, in the Central Turkic area in the late 19th century. Mori’s love for details is evident both in her luscious artwork and her well-researched historical tidbits thus winning in 2014 the 7th Annual Manga Taishō Award.

In the 7th volume (chapters 36-44), which is going to be published in English towards the end of 2015, we meet Anis, a beautiful slender woman, hidden away in a huge mansion by her rich beloved husband according to the customs of the region -probably Iran, judging from the clothes. To make her mistress feel less lonely, her servant suggests going to the bathhouse to befriend other women and this opens a whole new world for her. Shirin, a poor voluptuous woman, catches her eye and they connect quickly. What makes this arc special is that the focus is on a second type of marriage, equally established and esteemed; that between “sisters”: siqqah-yi khwahar khwandagi. Did you really think same-sex marriage was a 21st century invention? Let us take a look at same-sex desire, the customs and the sexual politics of Middle East depicted in A Bride’s Story. Continue reading

On Romantic Illusions – Part 3

Heteronormativity isn’t just about the presumption that everyone is heterosexual. The expectation that boys woo girls feeds into your mind the expectation that relationships are necessary for fulfilment, and you are less than if you are not having particular kinds of sex with a particular, and a particular kind of, person at particular intervals. It’s about what Lauren Berlant calls the love plot, in which love is produced as a generic text enabling society to interpret your life as following certain conventions. It’s not about what you want, it’s about what you’re supposed to want. You’re not encouraged to think about what you want in relationships, if anything, so much as you are encouraged to fit a script. Heteronormativity messes things up for everyone, straight people included.

~ Chally at Zero at the Bone

On the previous posts, we’ve talked about things like slut-shaming and sexual choices, cat calling, flirt and rape culture. In this last installment, I want to go back to ‘the basics’ and talk about all the small things we get wrong and lead to the downfall of a relationship. And in contrast to the other posts that were focused on heterosexuals, I’ll try including our queer friends here. Love and relationships aren’t solely for cis het people after all; it’s the dynamics that might be more or less problematic. Continue reading

On Romantic Illusions – Part 2

This might be romantic in fiction; not at all in real life.

I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty

~”Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke

A lot of ruckus was generated this past month and continues to be stirred around this song, and not without reason. It actually says that men can interpret whatever gesture a woman makes as sign of horniness and agreeing to sexual advances, which is not only disrespectful but also dangerous for women. The song is climbing the charts and that’s worrisome. I am not going to give further attention to the singer or the song and its MV – I hope some lyrics are enough for you and please refrain from searching it on youtube and thus giving it more credit and views; but you can check the chilling comparison with rape survivors’ testimonies here. I want to step on it to talk about misconceptions in flirting, share some experiences and make certain things clear. Continue reading

Left Unsaid: 4. First Time(s)

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It’s either overestimated or underestimated, isn’t it? The infamous first time. Why plural in the title? What is your guess?

In this post, I’ll share my experience, but I won’t refer to specific names as to protect my privacy and the privacy of my partner(s). I’m willing to talk about it because I find it important for young girls/women to protect and enjoy themselves while not feeling alone in their heart troubles. I can relay only my story, which concerns heterosexual sex, but I’ll mention briefly some basic sex ed stuff for same sex couples. Boys/Men are welcome to take a peek as to see sex from a different perspective and act accordingly towards their loved ones.    Continue reading