As a huge fan of WEBTOONS, I have come across many Boys Love and LGBTQ+ comics that are not only entertaining but also accurately and positively represent the community. However, when I first came across “Boyfriends”, I was disappointed to find that it fell short in its representation of the LGBTQ+ community. Many people from readers to YouTubers have had this same thought, so as a writer of LGBTQ+ media I needed to bring this to attention.
*** Disclaimer: Please note that this review is my personal opinion. If you like the series just know that this is just a review from multiple perspectives.
So what’s going on with “Boyfriends”?
One of the main issues that I, as well as many readers, have had with the series is the way it perpetuates harmful stereotypes of gay men as overly sexual and promiscuous. This portrayal is not only inaccurate, but it can also be harmful as it reinforces negative societal stereotypes that can have real-life consequences for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
I’ve brought this series up to so many of my friends before and they all review it blindly, then come up with similar reviews. Additionally, the series portrays gay men in a very, very stereotypical way. This is problematic as it reinforces the idea that there is only “one way to be gay” and how to express gender identity.
Another issue that many readers have had with the series is the way it portrays the relationships as overly dramatic and filled with unrealistic conflict. I won’t spoil anything but not everything can be solved with fan service, overly saturated, cotton candy scenes.
Here are some quotes from readers who have read the series:
“Boyfriends is a prime example of how not to write LGBT+ characters. The characters are all stereotypes and their relationships are overly dramatic and unrealistic.”
“I was really excited to read this series because of the LGBTQ+ representation, but I was disappointed by the stereotypes and lack of realism in the relationships.”
“I found the way the characters were portrayed in Boyfriends to be really harmful. The sexualization of gay men and the portrayal of their relationships as constantly dramatic is not accurate or helpful.”
It’s important to note that representation matters in media. From Steven Universe, SheRa, The Legend of Korra, and tons of other cartoons that have shown LGBTQ+ relationships, it’s crucial that we have more series that properly represent LGBTQ+ couples without making it a weird fantasy. It’s gotten a bit better, but with online media it can be a hit or a miss. I believe that every person should have the opportunity to see themselves represented in media, in a realistic way please.
On the other hand, WEBTOON has a lot of really good Boys Love and LGBTQ+ comics but hardly promotes them. It’s important that these comics are marketed much better on the platform and not constantly promote a series that has deemed itself a little harmful for the community. I believe that WEBTOON has a responsibility to promote a diverse range of comics that represent the community in a positive way, not just something that is known for being “popular” on TikTok ads.
While “Boyfriends” has its flaws in its representation of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s important to remember that representation matters and we need more series that properly represent LGBTQ+ couples without making it a weird fantasy or common stereotype.
I encourage everyone to read and review media critically, and truly think about what it represents. Put yourself in someone’s shoes and think “Does this offend me?” and “Why does it offend me?” Regardless of whether or not you personally enjoy it take a moment to truly analyze a series, comic, anime, game, whatever it may be.
It’s not a bad thing to review media this way. All you have to do is ask a question, which is a part of analysis and journalism. Not really a fan of journalism today, but independent journalism is what i mean. Ask a question. Ask opinions. It’s important to have different perspectives and discussions about this with friends and family too. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and any series you may have come across that have good representation of the LGBTQ+ community. Always looking for more reads/recommendations!
I Married a Monster on a Hill by All Ages of Geek
On the other hand, series like “I Married a Monster on a Hill” by All Ages of Geek is a good example of how representation can be done right. The comic has been voiced and beta-read by LGBTQ+ editors, voice actors and talents, and it focuses on the wholesome. It gives a realistic representation of the LGBTQ+ community and their daily life and struggles without being stereotypical. Be sure to read it over on WEBTOON and subscribe there.