I really dislike how the creator finds lesbian relationships to be more “pure” than any other kind.
submitted by stormsoul22
Honestly, the only thing that bothered me about the series and the movie was this.
If anyone wants to talk about this, I’m open.
That’s a pretty common trope though, if a shitty one. It’s why basically every girlxgirl manga occurs in a high school setting, and usually an all girls one at that. The girls tend to be young and it is a “pure” or “girlish” relationship, usually without the presence of men in their lives. On the other hand when there is a blatant male gaze present in the narrative the lesbian characters are hyper-sexualized for his pleasure. Which is a dichotomy that would fit well in Utena, but is, weirdly enough, absent. (The closest RGU gets to dealing with this is Juri and Ruka, where they touch another old trope that the lesbian character could be “fixed” by the right guy, however Juri has the agency to subvert this trope).
In RGU’s case it’s sort of weird that they chose to do the “pure” route. Most of the series focuses on feminist ideas, including that women can be just as vicious as men (Nanami picking on Anthy, Shiori and Juri, to each other, and Juri in general, etc.) but it is also something out of the mid-90s, and so is a product of its time. There is a now out-dated idea from 80s/90s feminist thought that the only equal relationship a woman can be in is with another woman. Because, well, men are assholes, and western and westernized cultures tend to see the male phallus as a weapon. Men will inherently hurt the women they are with, whether they mean to or not. Now, this thought process is a way oversimplification of people and also relies heavily on hetero-normative gender roles. Having it in such a complicated series sort of dampens it’s message.
On the other hand, I tend to read Utena and Anthy as being portrayed as “pure” because although there is plenty of suggestive context around them, theirs is a relationship not based on sex, and they don’t use it to manipulate each other the way literally every sexual exchange in Utena does. That’s not to say they don’t have sex, just that we don’t see it because it’s not a plot point.
So, I guess it’s a trope that appears because a. it’s a product of its time and b. the creators were trying to show a loving relationship in contrast to the other relationships where sex was used for manipulation.
For my own 2 cents, I don’t think RGU is explicitly saying that a heterosexual relationship couldn’t be “pure” it’s just not concerned with showing it because Utena came hot on the heels of Sailor Moon, which Ikuhara also directed, where that sort of “pure” heterosexual relationship had been addressed.