As I’ve poked around the manga blogosphere over the past few days, I’ve found myself developing a number of Opinions (with a capital “O”). Whether this is a good thing or not remains to be seen, but it is the kind of thing that compels me to blog and so here I am. Opinion, the first:
This morning I followed a link from Brigid Alverson’s mangablog to an article on the Yaoi Press blog regarding an issue they had experienced recently with a printer, Docucopies, who refused to print their Yaoi Coloring Book due to images they found “disturbing.”
Then I read the update to the original post, which includes an e-mail exchange between Yamila at Yaoi Press and the print shop, in which Yamila offered to replace whatever images the printer felt went too far in order to get the job done. The woman at the print shop refused and then proceeded to identify several specific pages that she particularly found “disturbing.” One of those pages was this:
Yes. It’s two men kissing. Two men revealing no more bare skin than would be acceptable at the beach or your neighbor’s barbecue, kissing. Yamila asks in the post, “If you were me, what would you think?” All I can think is that this is one seriously homophobic print shop, at which point, I feel a combination of outrage and disgust.
In the comments over at Anime Vice, Erica Friedman of Yuricon/ALC Publishing, suggests that outrage is the wrong response, and that as manga fans, we should accept that our hobby is on the fringe of society and might not be tolerated in all quarters. She asks, too, how we might feel if we were forced to look at images that we abhorred while working at our jobs, and suggests that we might potentially even sue our workplace for being a hostile environment, urging sympathy for the printer who may just be a little guy trying to stay in business. (ETA: Please see Erica’s comment to this post for further clarification on her words.)
I like and respect Erica very much and her points are well taken, but on this I have to disagree. While it may be within the printer’s right as a private business to refuse service, and it may be true that she is battling issues with employees (though her e-mail states that she, herself, has a problem with the images), I actually think that outrage is an acceptable response and perhaps (when expressed with politeness or at least restraint) even the best response. Because this isn’t about my fringe hobby, it’s about bigotry. Am I going to go crazy and threaten the owner of the print shop? No, of course not. But I’m not going to support their business and I’m probably going to tell them so. I think this is important, because not only do I not believe it is my obligation to “tolerate” or pander to bigotry (in this case, homophobia), I actually think it is harmful to do so. The people who work there are real, live people who have the power to affect other people’s lives (and restrict their rights) with their voices and their votes, and though my anger may not motivate them to question their beliefs, my silence certainly won’t. Quietly tolerating someone’s bigotry is, in my opinion, the same thing as enabling it.
Short version: If you can’t stand the sight of two men kissing, that’s your problem. If you refuse someone service because you can’t stand the sight of two men kissing, you’re making it everyone else’s problem and at that point it is appropriate for people to speak up.
ETA2: For further information, ICv2 has an interview with Yamila regarding this issue.
Grace saysMay 28, 2009 at 3:38 pm
Uh, yeah, this is not about a fringe hobby. As you say, there’s nothing “extreme” about that drawing. It could easily be a photo of two guys kissing. If the print shop refused to copy a photo of two guys, we’d call that homophobia, so why is that not the case when it’s a drawing?
Erica Friedman saysMay 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm
Grace – Because, despite what we would like in a perfect world, a private owner of a private store has the right to be homophobic. Just like we have the right to think she’s a prat.
Grace saysMay 28, 2009 at 3:47 pm
But my point is that this case has nothing to do with manga being a “fringe hobby”. It’s about homophobia, not manga.
Grace saysMay 28, 2009 at 3:48 pm
Unless your definition of homophobia is something only the government can do and private citizens are simply “prats”. But I don’t think that’s anyone’s definition of homophobia except yours.
Erica Friedman saysMay 28, 2009 at 3:57 pm
No, you’re clearly taking my point way out of context there. The printshop owner is homophobic, yes. But she is breaking NO law in refusing Yamila’s business. Just as you would be breaking no law if you were to turn away a job on something you did not like but was perfectly legal (say, editing a book about grilling meat, if you were a vegetarian.)
I notice that no one has commented either here or on AnimeVice that it was homophobic for me to be treated EXACTLY the same. In fact, in the years I was struggling to look for a printer, Yaoi fans’ most often repeated comment to me way, Ewww….Yuri.”
So, please. Do not lecture me about homophobia.
I have been on the very front of LGBT publishing in the US. I publish manga about lesbians.
Take a quite look at the homophobia within the Yaoi world before screaming at some poor woman who has strong beliefs she is perfectly within her legal, moral and ethical rights to have.
Build a print shop – change the world.
Melinda Beasi saysMay 28, 2009 at 4:06 pm
There are a couple of things here I wanted to comment on, though I know you’re talking to Grace.
First, I just want to actually say that I certainly recognize the homophobia you’ve face with printers, and I feel the same way about it. I just never knew about it at the time when it was going on.
Secondly, gah, yes, the homophobia within the yaoi genre itself is incredibly maddening. I’ve ranted about that quite a bit too, usually in reviews because it’s embedded right there in the material half the time. It doesn’t change how I feel about this issue with the printer, but it probably is something I have more hope of actually influencing personally.
Melinda Beasi saysMay 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm
And a footnote to my comment here. I don’t mean to suggest that I think I have the potential to influence yaoi being published in Japan. My only hope is to try to influence the reading habits of fans in *this* country on some (very) small scale.
Yaoi Press saysMay 28, 2009 at 9:11 pm
No one has to like homosexuals. The only requirement in most workplaces is ‘tolerance’. I get the feeling your side is whichever side is opposite yaoi because of ignorant fans in the past. I’ve gotten sneers from these same fans when they find out I’m a lesbian. No matter if it’s lesbians or gay men intolerance is intolerance. Let’s say for argument’s sake that it is due to the homosexual content that they turned this project away. If they have more than a dozen employees odds are one of them is gay. I’ve worked at a place where my boss told everyone she fired a nanny when she found out she was a lesbian. She wanted commiseration from all of us for her decision. I wasn’t out of the closet then. I had been her buddy who she thought she could confide about that sort of stuff. I never want to see a worker go through the day I had then. Being supportive of intolerant attitudes breeds these situations. Workers do not have to be subjected to pornography, but they should be expected to be tolerant of homosexuality. Not like it. Just tolerate it.
Grace saysMay 29, 2009 at 3:56 am
Dude, are you really talking about taking something out of context? You are the one who said to me “a private owner of a private store has the right to be homophobic” when I did NOT EVEN TOUCH ON THAT in my comment. So please “do not lecture me” on taking things out of context.
What I said, and what you were clearly unable to read for whatever reason, is that this is clearly not a case of someone thinking thinking a “fringe hobby” is stupid. The objection was to a drawing of two men kissing. That’s about homophobia, not anyone’s hobby.
And before you start whining about people getting their panties in a twist about not getting the yaoi coloring book they wanted, I have never heard of this person, think her art is unattractive, and DON’T LIKE YAOI TO BEGIN WITH.
And I don’t care about her strong beliefs, because they are fucking morally repugnant. End of story.
Don't Jump to Conclusions saysJune 17, 2009 at 12:33 pm
Erica, you have NO credible evidence to say that the woman is homophobic. None whatsoever. These orders were rejected BEFORE it was established that all the people were male, so in fact that seems to shoot down your argument and the argument of every other person on here.
You’re all jumping to completely illogical conclusions about this woman’s beliefs, based on a very, very short and insignificant response in an e-mail.
My guess would be the part she finds disturbing is that they all look pre-pubescent. Which treads some very dangerous legal lines in and of itself.
So please, before you jump to conclusions and start slandering a woman whose worldview you know nothing about, do some research.
Here’s a post on this issue the company put out:
Melinda Beasi saysJune 17, 2009 at 12:55 pm
Actually, anonymous person, there is plenty of credible evidence to that point. The picture posted above is *not* pornographic, and the statement referring to it as “disturbing” was made *after* it was established that both figures depicted were males. As I said in my post, there is no more skin being displayed than would be acceptable in a public area in front of children. Additionally, it is perfectly normal and socially accepted for even young teenagers to kiss and/or embrace each other, so your argument here is extremely thin. I feel completely comfortable interpreting the printer’s reaction to this image as homophobia. Perhaps the printer has some other reason for finding this image disturbing (though I can’t imagine what), but my conclusion is hardly illogical as you claim.
More to the point, however, lecturing Erica about it is fairly silly, since she—out of everyone here—comes the closest to defending the printer or at least urging restraint when forming conclusions.
Don't Jump to Conclusions saysJune 17, 2009 at 1:34 pm
True, Erica was pretty much right on the money with most points. But when I saw that she too was lumping it together as homophobia I was disheartened and felt she, t oo, missed the main point.
And you’re wrong. The job was rejected before the genders of the characters were established, as Yaoi Press said themselves when this story first broke.
Bottom line, you’re never going to know their true intentions, so don’t jump to the worst conclusion you can think of and ramp up the mob mentality.
Melinda Beasi saysJune 17, 2009 at 2:08 pm
No, I am not wrong. Yes, the job was rejected before Yamila clarified that the characters were all male, however the statement about this image being “disturbing” was made *after* her clarification and her offer to swap out whatever images the printer felt to be too sexually provocative to print.
For someone who is accusing me of missing the point, it seems obvious that you either did not read the actual content of my post or are willfully ignoring it. If the printer’s statement about this specific image being “disturbing” had never been made (or revealed) I never would have been moved to post at all. I barely blinked an eye over the printer rejecting the job initially for the “nudity.” Nor would I have drawn conclusions about homophobia based simply on the printer’s objections to the book’s more intentionally provocative images. It was the printer’s specific reference to this image as “disturbing” that raised my eyebrow.
My conclusion was (and is) a very logical one, based on the facts at hand. If the printer wishes to explain the statement made regarding the image above in order to clarify her “true intentions,” she is free to do so, but that is her responsibility, not mine. Meanwhile, I am free to draw conclusions from the facts at hand.
Just as private businesses have the right to turn away business at their own discretion, as a consumer, I have the right to make decisions about what businesses I will support based on those actions. How and where we spend our time and money is one of the greatest means we have for expressing our own values. Choosing to do business or not to do business with a company based on my values and taking a few minutes to say so is a far cry from ramping up “mob mentality.”
Linda saysOctober 10, 2009 at 8:29 am
“And you’re wrong. The job was rejected before the genders of the characters were established, as Yaoi Press said themselves when this story first broke.”
…and after the fact that this book was a coloring book and not a manga was established.
njyoder saysJune 22, 2009 at 9:24 am
For some reason you brought up legality, but this is clearly not what anyone has been discussing.
“[…]before screaming at some poor woman who has strong beliefs she is perfectly within her legal, moral and ethical rights to have.”
Once you add in “moral and ethical rights,” it’s a completely different ballgame. It’s immoral to be homophobic. You seem to be against homophobia, so I don’t understand why you’d suggest that it’s a moral action.
Linda saysOctober 9, 2009 at 9:39 pm
“I notice that no one has commented either here or on AnimeVice that it was homophobic for me to be treated EXACTLY the same. In fact, in the years I was struggling to look for a printer, Yaoi fans’ most often repeated comment to me way, Ewww….Yuri.””
Also, aren’t the yuri books you publish very clearly comics for adults, instead of *coloring books*?
Seriously, I doubt the coloring book case has less to do with homophobia than with the printer jumping to the conclusion that the target audience of this coloring book was the same as the target audience of 99.9% of all the other coloring books out there and thinking “I don’t want to publish pics of naked people of any genders kissing to market to children!”
Linda saysOctober 9, 2009 at 9:41 pm
Typo! That shoulda been “I doubt the coloring book case has *more* to do with homophobia than with…”
Erica Friedman saysMay 28, 2009 at 3:39 pm
Hi Melinda – Excellent post.
We don’t really disagree, you’re just interpretating the word “outrage” differently than I am.
When I say “don’t be outraged” I mean, don’t spend countless hours railing against authoritay and the man and without doing *something* to make the point stick somewhere it has some meaning.
Vote, contact your representatives in government, contact the store owner – contact all store owners in your town, take and ad out in the paper – DO SOMETHING.
Just “expressing outrage” in a blog comment or “open letter to” whatever person you’re pissed at accomplishes exactly nothing.
So, yes, I agree – be outraged, but be outraged in a way that has some actual effect.
Melinda Beasi saysMay 28, 2009 at 3:44 pm
Ah, yes, you’re right, I was interpreting “outrage” differently than you were.
So perhaps in the end we are in total agreement. :)
Ed Sizemore saysMay 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm
Okay, so here’s where everyone is going to hate me.
As Erica points out this is a private owner of a private store. Whether I agree with her or not, I support her right to refuse work that she finds morally objectionable for whatever reason. That’s freedom of conscience. It’s a right as important as freedom of expression. NO ONE should be forced to act contrary to their sincerely held beliefs. That is a right that took a long time and a lot of hard work to achieve.
Lest we forget if you refused to serve in the military during WWI you were arrested and tried under the Sedition Act. You went to jail because you were a pacifist. The prevailing moral climate in America said that it’s wrong not to kill for your country. The Quakers formed the ACLU to fight for their right to be pacifists. So the legal right to be a consciousness objector isn’t even a 100 years old yet. It was the groundbreaking case that set precedent to allow people the right to obey their conscience without fear.
If you want to contact the store owner and tell her she’s wrong, go ahead. If you want to protest and boycott her business, that’s your right. But respect the fact she is acting in accord with her beliefs, no matter how wrong you think they are. Perhaps dialogue might serve your cause better than signs and chants outside her door.
Melinda Beasi saysMay 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm
Hi Ed, I have to run so I can’t respond to this right away, but I think you should read my post again, and see if I am really saying what you are accusing me of saying here.
Melinda Beasi saysMay 28, 2009 at 5:31 pm
Okay, now I can post. A couple of points:
1. I never in my post advocated for people to chant outside the woman’s door. I believe I even used the words “politeness” and “restraint.” :)
2. Though I must respect the woman’s right to her beliefs (and to determine how she conducts her business), I don’t actually have to respect the *beliefs* themselves, which I find morally repugnant. Having a legal right does not actually make you *right*, and I personally think she is wrong. So wrong, in fact, I even think that her belief is harmful to others and is a potential threat to *their* rights, which is why I would consider it my responsibility to say something about it, rather than just stand quietly by. The ways in which homophobia manifests itself in our society are frequently responsible for harm (sometimes even *deadly* harm) to others, and this is passed on through communities—from person to person, from parent to child. Because of this, I feel a responsibility to call it out when I see it, and try to do *something*, even if all I can do in that moment is tell the person that I disagree and will not support their business. Thankfully, it is within my rights to do so.
Ed Sizemore saysMay 28, 2009 at 7:25 pm
First, an apology you’re right you didn’t advocate protests or pickets. I incorrectly assigned to you ideas that I had read elsewhere regarding this incident. I’m deeply sorry. I never want to misrepresent you, your beliefs, or your words. I hope you’ll accept my apology.
I guess first I want to define homophobia so I’m clear what we all mean. If by homophobia you mean the belief that homosexuality is not a valid life choice, then there is nothing inherently harmful in homophobia. You can hold this belief and not wish any one any harm. You can hold this belief and beleive that each person should be treated with dignity and honor. Even if you disagree with a person’s sexuality you can still value and hold them precious.
If you mean by homophobia the belief that homosexuality is not a valid life choice and that people who are homosexual are subhuman, then that belief is dangerous. That belief leads to violence and death. Any belief that refuses to acknowledge the full value and worth of each member of the human race frightens and breaks my heart.
I hope I’m a realist enough to know that in our broken world, many people who disagree with homosexuality also see homosexuals as subhuman. However, even if it’s true for the majority, it’s not true for all.
So I see no inherent harm in the woman refuses to print a yaoi coloring book. If she does print a pamphlet that advocates violence against homosexual, then we have a problem.
I think this is why I brought up the concept of freedom of conscience. I feel like labeling a belief harmful is simply a step away from seeking to outlaw said belief. I’m worry when the law tried to dictate conscience, but it always fails. However, I willing to admit that I jumped the gun here and drew a conclusion to your agrument that you did not intend.
Melinda Beasi saysMay 28, 2009 at 8:02 pm
Ed, I appreciate your measured arguments as always. I admit, though, that I don’t have a lot of patience for homophobia on any level. With as much scientific proof we have that homosexuality is genetic, to me, there is no difference between privately disapproving of someone’s homosexuality and privately disapproving of someone’s race.
Ed Sizemore saysMay 28, 2009 at 8:20 pm
I confess I’m not well versed on that literature and need to find time to be. I need to evaluate that evidence and think through it’s implications.
njyoder saysJune 22, 2009 at 9:52 am
“If by homophobia you mean the belief that homosexuality is not a valid life choice, then there is nothing inherently harmful in homophobia. You can hold this belief and not wish any one any harm. You can hold this belief and beleive that each person should be treated with dignity and honor. Even if you disagree with a person’s sexuality you can still value and hold them precious.”
The problem is that you’re dealing with a hypothetical polite and respectful homophobe in much the same sense that someone could suggest a polite and respectful anti-semite (i.e. “I just think Judaism is wrong, but am respectful about my beliefs.”)
Even with your acknowledgment of realism, you are still too far from the reality of it.
In reality, the overwhelming majority of homophobes are against gay marriage.
In reality, all of them are going to make false assumptions about them, due to the inherit nature of thinking it’s “wrong.” You don’t just think something to be wrong inside a vacuum (i.e. think it’s wrong “just because”); you have beliefs attached to it. Even among non-homophobes, it’s difficult to detach preconceived notions.
In reality, they spread their beliefs, which unavoidably leads to social and legal ostracization, in addition to violence. This is precisely because we don’t live in a vacuum and the things we say send ripples throughout society.
And of course, you’re unavoidably going to be emotionally hurtful to gays because they know that yet another person thinks that they’re engaging in “wrong love.”
“Hi, I respect your legal right to do the same as straight people and don’t think you are any different than straight people outside the bedroom, but nonetheless, I think your love is illegitimate and wrong.”
“I feel like labeling a belief harmful is simply a step away from seeking to outlaw said belief.”
Then how would that not apply to homophobes saying that homosexuality is harmful?
Ed Sizemore saysJune 22, 2009 at 2:31 pm
I am said homophobe. I do exist and I’m not the only one. It’s just that what we believe can’t be condensed to a catch phrase and doesn’t neatly fit on posterboard. We don’t speak in soundbites, so we don’t get media coverage.
I don’t believe that homosexuality is harmful. I don’t believe that being a homosexual makes you a degenerate and it doesn’t lead to the downfall of society. Homosexuals are humans like me. No better, no worse.
The problem is a society that doesn’t believe life is sacred. That believes it’s okay to hurt those who disagree with you about sex, religion, or politics. It’s a society that has lost the ability to engage in dialogue and respect those you disagree with, no matter how deep the disagreement is. It’s a society that mocks behaving humanely.
I’m doing all I can to be a decent human being, to honor & obey Christ, and to treat the people I encounter with honor, respect, and dignity. I don’t have to agree with you for you to be my friend. And do you don’t have to agree with me to mine. I just ask that we be open to each other, talk about our differences, and try to find a way to live together. Even when we know that we’ll never see eye-to-eye on some of the most fundamental aspects of life. If that is unrealistic, then I’m willing to keep trying to bring my dream to life.
J saysJune 29, 2009 at 11:35 pm
Speaking as a lesbian, I think it is impossible for you to hold these beliefs and treat me with respect, honor, or dignity. Your “dream” comes at the expense of assuming that it is in any way kind, thoughtful, or considerate to expect me to think that your condescending opinions on my life are in any way worth airing or processing.
Linda saysOctober 10, 2009 at 8:31 am
“Speaking as a lesbian, I think it is impossible for you to hold these beliefs and treat me with respect, honor, or dignity. Your “dream” comes at the expense of assuming that it is in any way kind, thoughtful, or considerate to expect me to think that your condescending opinions on my life are in any way worth airing or processing.”
Speaking as a straight chick, right on!
Tari saysMay 28, 2009 at 5:32 pm
I just wanted to say, in response to all the freedom of conscience arguments above, that this is also the same argument used to justify doctors refusing to perform abortions, pharmacists refusing to provide contraception, etc. I mean, I’m not saying that the situations are of the same magnitude here…just that evoking “freedom of conscience” should be done with caveats. It’s worth thinking about where the line is between this situation and, say, a restaurant refusing to serve same-sex couples.
Melinda Beasi saysMay 28, 2009 at 5:38 pm
It’s worth thinking about where the line is between this situation and, say, a restaurant refusing to serve same-sex couples.
I think the line is very, very thin. Though I suspect Erica’s experiences are even closer.
Ed Sizemore saysMay 28, 2009 at 6:57 pm
This will only get me in more trouble, but I support a doctor’s right to refuse to perform an abortion or a pharmacist’s right to refuse to dispense a perscription. I don’t support a doctor’s right to make sure a patient can’t receive an abortion anywhere at all. I don’t support a pharmacist’s right to sieze the prescription and refuse to return it to the patient.
If a doctor is unwilling to perform an abortion then so be it. The patient then asks another doctor at that hospital or another hospital to perform the procedure. That doctor has no right to interfere with the patient seeking the desire treatment elsewhere. The same goes for the pharmacist. A prescription is the property of the patient and the doctor that wrote it. If you don’t want to fill it fine, but hand to another pharmacist to do or hand it back to the patient. Keeping the prescription is stealing.
Erica Friedman saysMay 28, 2009 at 7:17 pm
This is not a clear case of a *person* being discriminated against. That is what you mean when you use the term “homophobia.” If I am turned away at a restaurant for holding hands with my wife – that may be, depending on the place, legally actionable. That is homophobia.
It is not homophobic to turn away a job because the content makes a person uncomfortable.
If you gave me a hate-filled, bigotry-laden fundamentalist tract to edit I am absolutely within my rights to turn it down as work. It does not mean that I am anti-Christian/Moslem/Whatever to do so.
The print shop owner did not turn Yamila away. She did not forbid her from ever submitting any other work. She is not throwing holy water at her and telling her that she will burn in hell. She turned down work. She is allowed to do that.
Please pardon me, but I don’t actually see any real expression of anger against homophobes here – I see anger against someone who is keeping you from a doujinshi you want to read. THAT is what I meant when I said that this is a hobby, not a right. You have no “right” to read that rather cute story. That poor benighted shop owner has no responsibility to you to print it.
Once again I say, if you want to make a difference, create the printshop that will print it and change the game.
Melinda Beasi saysMay 28, 2009 at 7:35 pm
For what it’s worth, I don’t think either Tari or I are at all interested in purchasing the Yaoi Coloring Book. I have absolutely no interest at all in a book of yaoi drawings, and I suspect I would find the book itself offensive for completely different reasons than the printer did.
I do think, though, that telling someone that a drawing of two men kissing is “disturbing” displays homophobia in the most basic sense of the word. And then making a business decision based on that takes it further. I don’t think it’s a big leap to put this into context of homophobia on a larger scale. One leads inevitably to the other. Not necessarily in a direct way. I doubt that printer would refuse service to gay customers who were printing materials without the content she objected to, or at least I have no reason to suspect that based on the facts at hand. But when communities develop a culture of homophobia and everyone just lets it stand, it grows into bigger things. It has bothered me for a long time that gay content in comics (whether yaoi-type stuff created mainly as sexual fantasy for straight readers, or honest-to-god gay comics) is treated like pornography, regardless of how explicit it is—sometimes even when it has little to no sexual content at all. You must see this all the time. This whole situation smacks of that, and that tends to get my ire up.
You’re absolutely right that the printer has no obligation to print that book. And you’re absolutely right that there is nothing legally actionable here. But that doesn’t make the situation totally benign or not worth talking about.
Johanna saysMay 28, 2009 at 7:20 pm
The problem with that argument is you soon start running into places where there’s only one pharmacy in town. What’s the person to do then?
Also, why should a pharmacist be allowed to interfere in the patient/doctor relationship?
Ed Sizemore saysMay 28, 2009 at 7:36 pm
The very fact that a pharmicist and not the doctor is filling the prescription puts them in the middle of that relationship. I don’t see why the pharmicist has to ignore their conscience. It we make pharmicists simply drug dispensing machines, then are they forbidden from pointing potentially hazardous drug interactions. Isn’t that also between the doctor and the patient?
Even if there is only one pharmacy in town, there isn’t only one town. I know traveling may not be convenient, but its not impossible.
Melinda Beasi saysMay 28, 2009 at 7:48 pm
Unfortunately the people who usually end up getting the shaft here are poor people and young women for whom it actually *may* be impossible to get to another pharmacy. And what about whole regions where all the pharmacies are the same?
I’m all for freedom of conscience, but I actually think that people who deal in the medical profession in *any* aspect have a greater responsibility to patients than they do to their own consciences.
Linda saysMarch 10, 2011 at 10:15 pm
“Unfortunately the people who usually end up getting the shaft here are poor people and young women for whom it actually *may* be impossible to get to another pharmacy. And what about whole regions where all the pharmacies are the same?”
Poor people, young women, and *married women.* Next time you’re about to suggest that everyone who doesn’t want to get pregnant abstain from sex, remember that abstaining from sex can be *grounds for divorce* and that not every married mother can either afford to have more children or afford to raise the children she already has without her husband’s support.
Sara K. saysMay 28, 2009 at 7:25 pm
This is a little off topic, but I recall that a pharmacist refusing to fill a prescription because of personal beliefs is illegal. I think (legally) a pharmacist can only refuse to fill a prescription if there is a specific medical reason. And in a small town with one pharmacy, a pharmacist who refuses to fill a prescription is effectively interfering with the patient’s ability to get the prescription at all.
Of course, just because it’s the law (at least in some states) does not mean that it is always obeyed.
Tari saysMay 28, 2009 at 8:27 pm
I brought the example up because there was an attempt by the Bush administration to allow legal protection for health care workers who refused care on the grounds of conscience, luckily overturned by Obama. So it may not be legal now, but there are certainly people who want it to be.
Sara K. saysMay 28, 2009 at 7:49 pm
Anyway … to the more general topic, I agree with Erica. While I do not want to support this print shop, I believe owner has the right to not print this. And as the topic of this post says, bigotry is bad for business – this owner is going to lose revenue for her principles. In this case, I think that is punishment enough.
Though, even though I am a strict vegetarian, if I ran a print shop, and I was asked to print something about meat, I would do it. I would want the revenue, and I don’t mind people learning more about meat. In fact, I think ignorance about food caused the problems which made me become a strict vegetarian in the first place.
Melinda Beasi saysMay 28, 2009 at 7:55 pm
And as the topic of this post says, bigotry is bad for business – this owner is going to lose revenue for her principles. In this case, I think that is punishment enough.
I think this is actually what I was trying to get at from the get-go. The woman has the right not to print the book. I have the right to not support her business, and I think that’s the right thing to do. :)
My husband asked me, when we were discussing this, if I ran a print shop would I agree to print, say anti-gay propaganda, like a “God Hates Fags” pamphlet or the like. And I said I would not. And I would feel like that was the right thing to do. If the Fred Phelps crowd wanted to boycott me for that or send me strongly worded letters, I’d be fine with that. If they harassed me, that would be another matter, but I don’t think anyone’s advocating anything like that in this scenario.
Erica Friedman saysMay 28, 2009 at 8:12 pm
My apologies, in using the word “you” to represent a larger plurality of “people who wish to read Yaoi are are annoyed when they cannot get it for whatever reason.” :-)
This language thing is hard.
I did not meant to imply that anyone reading this blog wanted this *particular* item. I meant to refer to the fact that a number of the folks scream “burn the witch!” in this case are really just annoyed that something they *might* have wanted was withheld. Much like the lolicon who protested so strongly that Seven Seas withheld Kodomo no Jikan from them – even though many of them were unlikely to ever buy it.
Aside from the nature of issue itself, I have to say, I’m quite enjoying the discussion and the posters.
I appreciate the dialogue!
Maybe one day a round table on publishing Yaoi (Yamila), Yuri (Myself) and Hentai (Simon jones of Icarus) would be entertaining.
Ed Sizemore saysMay 28, 2009 at 8:17 pm
Erica, I would pay good money to watch that round table. I would be thoughtful and funny. Now you got my hopes up.
Melinda Beasi saysMay 28, 2009 at 8:17 pm
Text-based communication always runs these risks, which is why I always try to interact with people as calmly as possible to avoid jumping to conclusions. I don’t always succeed! :D
Heh, I’m kind of feeling like, “Wow, how did I end up becoming a defender of yaoi?” when I have so many deep issues with the genre as a whole (and don’t even get me started on the fanbase). So I’m looking back at things *I’m* saying and rolling my eyes. But really, I did start this from a very sincere place. Heh.
Anyway. I would love to see that roundtable, I gotta say! :D
Jake Forbes saysMay 28, 2009 at 9:24 pm
When I was at Tokyopop and we were first starting to print BL stuff, there were some major printers who wouldn’t take that work. In at least one case, it wasn’t because of the printer’s prejudices, but because this printer also printed bibles and religious books and representatives from those publishers would occasionally do the rounds on press checks and would flip if they saw the BL art lying around. (They also didn’t want ultra-graphic Battle Royale, if I remember correctly). Not that this has any bearing on the Yaoi Press story today, but yeah, printers turning down Yaoi projects on principal or for appearances is nothing new.
Melinda Beasi saysMay 28, 2009 at 9:26 pm
Oh, I’m sure it isn’t. It’s just the first time I’ve been around for the news, so it was able to raise my ire.
Erica mentioned, too, that she went through a number of printers before finding one that would print her yuri comics without a hassle.
Yaoi Press saysMay 28, 2009 at 9:50 pm
I am compelled to add one more comment…the yaoi coloring book will kick ass. People should want it. It will be beautiful.
I’m not sure what issues some of the posters have with yaoi: whether it’s because some companies are exclusionary towards gay men (which Yaoi Press isn’t) or because it’s completely unrealistic (essentially women exploiting men) or because some of the fans are morons (though most I know are good eggs). Don’t lump Yaoi Press or the coloring book with all that has gone before.
There’s free copies available for Erica and Melinda (once it somehow gets printed).
Melinda Beasi saysMay 28, 2009 at 9:55 pm
I plead guilty to a number of those (probably unfair) preconceptions about the coloring book. I have found some yaoi I *really* love (I’m actually writing a review of one book right now), but a lot of it really rubs me the wrong way with the way in which it objectifies gay men. I bow my head in shame and promise to approach your coloring book with an open mind!
Grace saysMay 29, 2009 at 3:58 am
Ugh, sorry for ranting in your blog, Melinda, but she is seriously pissing me the fuck off by claiming *I’m* the one taking things out of context when she’s the one who rolled up with her condescension cakes at something I never even said.
Melinda Beasi saysMay 29, 2009 at 7:55 am
Don’t worry about it, Grace, I think Erica can take it. It’s been interesting watching the interaction between you, because I think you’ve both made some quick assumptions about what the other said/meant/whatever. I know you better than I know her, but I like you both, and I think I have a pretty good idea of where each of you is coming from. It’s weird to watch misunderstandings occur right before my eyes. Heh. Anyway. I know you didn’t say what she assumed you said in your original comment. And then everything went downhill from there.
Short version: We’re cool. No worries. :)
sparklyfanta saysMay 31, 2009 at 11:33 am
Interesting discussion and interesting dilemma! And I have to give your posters prompts for being mostly polite and restrained when it comes to this topic, which is so easy to get emotional over (and, in many cases, rightly so!).
I’m not absolutely certain where I stand on this; on the one hand, I do agree that homophobia is pretty much wrong on any level, but at the same time, I’ve been (briefly) a small business owner, and the loss of revenue will hurt this printshop. It doesn’t matter if it’s due to employees or her own ideas and beliefs, it’s a loss of money, and small businesses feel that a lot more than the big ones do.
While I don’t think fans ought to shrug this off, at the same time, all that can really be done is fans—and possible customers—taking note of it. She is not—as in the example of the doctor or the pharmacist—in a position to deny someone something they genuinely need, so while I disagree with her opinions, I think the loss of money and possible future customers is action enough.
Not that we shouldn’t be outraged on a moral level, but in the end, I think Ms. Erica has a point that outrage for outrage’s sake won’t do much. :) This post has generated some really wonderful discussion, and I look forward to seeing posts on your problems with the yaoi subculture and fans thereof. I’d be interested to read it, since I don’t generally read yaoi, but I do read a lot of slash.
Melinda Beasi saysJune 1, 2009 at 11:49 am
Ahhhhh well, if you follow my yaoi/boys’ love tag, you can probably find a lot of it. I haven’t ranted about fans (and I probably won’t, to be honest), outside of the response to Isaac Hale’s experience at Yaoicon last year. But most of the problems I have with the genre can be found stated pretty specifically in my reviews. :)