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 What if she was originally a he?

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SoldierG65434-2
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PostSubject: What if she was originally a he?   Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:42 am

Captain opened up this topic for descussion recently on the FC, but I know there are a handful of you who don't even bother to go there anymore so I though I would bring it over here as well.

CaptainYoruichi wrote:
When Yoruichi was first introduced, she was in cat form and had a masculine voice. What if Kubo initially intended for Yoruichi to be male? How would that change things?

This was my response:

SoldierG65434-2 wrote:
We would all be YoruHara's because that would be the gay ship and we only ship them because they're lesbians.

But in all seriousness, YoruSoi would be a relatively small ship then because it would basically be canon and canon ships tend to be rather small because there's little need to support them because they are official. The work has already been done for you.

Yoruichi also wouldn't have needed saving from Yammy and we wouldn't have had to deal with her being shamelessly exploited by fighting in a bathing suit and having ever-enlarging breasts.

I also suspect we would also like Sui-Feng exponentially less. In fact, I'm sure everyone would, and most people already don't like her.

Sui-Feng most likely wouldn't be Yoruichi's body guard either. As progressive as Kubo is at times, I just don't think he would give a man a female body guard. She would most likely be Yoruichi's student rather than servant.

What do you guy's think?

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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:12 pm

That's creepy... but true.
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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:04 am

If Yoruichi would be male and Soi Fon would still love her (because yeah - just because you love someone of the same sex doesn't necessarily mean that you're gay what many don't seem to know...) I would still ship them.
I don't ship them because they're both femal and just "look hot together" as many put it.
I ship them because I like their chemistry, their background story & how they interact.

And because of the reasons mentioned I wouldn't turn YoruHara (even more so because I dislike Urahara as a character - yeah hit me...)
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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:01 pm

I've found myself doing a lot of thinking about this recently, mostly because I have nothing better to do at work, but also because the more I think about it the more I realise that if Yoruichi had been a dude it would completely change the dynamic of their pairing.

Would it affect the number of people shipping them? Definitely. Hetero ships are always more popular than yuri and I think it's safe to say that what puts most off of shipping YoruSui is that it's girlXgirl. If Yoruichi was a man then the ship would be practically canon with just enough wriggle room for those who prefer YoruHara to happily strap on their Yaoi goggles, pick up on "moments" and ship to their hearts are content. Of course since YoruHara would now be Yaoi it would probably have a much more vocal fanbase (most who ship YoruHara at the moment don't do it actively, instead just assuming that they're a couple because it's an easy ship).

Would I still ship them? At first I wanted to say yes and my reasons were much the same as Azley's. I don't ship them because they look hot together (though they do, which is always a plus) but because I like their interactions. I like the dynamic of their relationship, their history and chemistry. If I only shipped couples for their hotness then I'd actually be on the GrimmSui crack-bandwagon. Seriously, they look really freakin’ hot together.

And then I got to thinking, and then I did some serious over thinking and I've come to the conclusion that if Yoruichi was a man then I wouldn't ship them at all. Actually I'd be completely repulsed by them as a couple since I would find it overwhelmingly sexist. Sui-Feng fawning over Yoruichi now is seen as adorable/fan-girly, Sui-Feng prostrating herself before her man on the other hand... No, I wouldn't like that at all. I would be completely pissed off by seeing a character such as Sui-Feng, or any woman for that manner, grovelling on the ground and fan-girling over a man in such a demeaning manner.

So no, I wouldn't ship them. It would be interesting to see of it did make me dislike Sui-Feng though.

SoldierG65434-2 wrote:
Yoruichi also wouldn't have needed saving from Yammy and we wouldn't have had to deal with her being shamelessly exploited by fighting in a bathing suit and having ever-enlarging breasts.

That’s not necessarily true. Ever noticed that the guys tend to lose their clothes during their fights? And yet the women never do... odd that. It just means that she would have turned up in her speedo instead.

SoldierG65434-2 wrote:
Sui-Feng most likely wouldn't be Yoruichi's body guard either. As progressive as Kubo is at times, I just don't think he would give a man a female body guard. She would most likely be Yoruichi's student rather than servant.

Also not necessarily true, there are plenty of examples of a dude having a female body guard in manga. Off the top of my head Lin and Lan Fan from Full Metal Alchemist springs to mind. Lan Fan is very much Lin’s servant, her family being much like Sui-Feng’s in that they are in service to Lin’s. And it’s made very clear in the manga that there is potentially something more to Lin and Lan Fan’s relationship than master and servant. So it wouldn’t be that unusual for Sui-Feng to still be Yoruichi’s servant and body guard.
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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:33 pm

I still hold that it wouldn't be that large of a ship because of the fact that it would basically be canon and canon ships don't seem to be that large. Or at least all that vocal. Or maybe I dust don't see it beacuse I don't count canon couples as ships.

I hadn't thought of the way it impacted Sui-Feng though. I have to agree, if Sui-Feng acted that way towards a man, I would find it repulsive and would hate her. And this mental excessive has helped me understand where alot of the Sui-Feng hate comes from, because of you don't ship YoruSui, I can totally see now how you could find it annoying at best and pathetic at worst.

And your right, the dynamic in this hypothetical is downright horrifying.

And I concede those last two points. Being a heterosexual male, I don't find shirtless dudes sexual, or at least that's not how I initially think about things, so yeah s/he probably would probably still be sexualized, just not on a frequency that I would pick up.

And the body guard point was an assumption mostly based on my lack of experience with manga.

Wow, turns out that the joke that we only ship them because they're lesbians is at least partly true. I can safely say that I would not ship them if Yoruichi was a male, and I also wouldn't be into Bleach either, since the lesbian ghost ninjas were what initially got my attention.

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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:25 am

Not to deliberately necro old threads, but Soi Fon would basically be Hinamori if Yoruichi was a guy (down to the note of having their beloved master betray them), which is indeed ferociously scary, and could have quite misogynistic interpretations due to Yoruichi's superiority over Soi Fon despite her ambitions to surpass her.

So yes, there is quite a bit of bias that factors in favor of it being a yuri ship, which has more to do with how one could play with gender roles than the allure of a homo shipping

One does wonder if Kubo initially conceived Yoruichi as a male cat, point blank (not a were-cat, not a soul reaper, just an odd associate of Urahara's), and initially conceived Soi Fon as merely the disciplinarian of the Soul Society, and then one day decided it would be quite a lark if Yoruichi could transform into a hot naked chick (mostly for Ichigo's humorous reaction on the reveal), and then decided to tie her into Soi Fon.

I cannot attest to what goes on in the minds of other writers, but given how my personal writing process works, that could very well have been the back story.
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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:01 pm

Mr Khan wrote:
One does wonder if Kubo initially conceived Yoruichi as a male cat, point blank (not a were-cat, not a soul reaper, just an odd associate of Urahara's), and initially conceived Soi Fon as merely the disciplinarian of the Soul Society, and then one day decided it would be quite a lark if Yoruichi could transform into a hot naked chick (mostly for Ichigo's humorous reaction on the reveal), and then decided to tie her into Soi Fon.
That's pretty much the way I feel about everything in Bleach, to a certain extent. Kubo doesn't reveal, he adds. The things we didn't know about characters don't feel like things that were planned from the beginning, but were added after the fact. Urahara and Yoruichi in particular read to me as character that have been built upon from just being mentors to major players.

In the case of Yoruichi, reading her early portions as a cat it's clear to me that she was definitely originally conceived as a male, cat or otherwise.

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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:44 pm

SoldierG65434-2 wrote:
Wow, turns out that the joke that we only ship them because they're lesbians is at least partly true. I can safely say that I would not ship them if Yoruichi was a male, and I also wouldn't be into Bleach either, since the lesbian ghost ninjas were what initially got my attention.

Running the risk of stating the obvious, them being women is a big part of who they are, so it's natural that we'd feel differently about them if, for example, Yoruichi was a man. Who is to say that Sui-Feng would even fall for her like that if she was a man - and that's not to say that a person who's born a lesbian can only fall for women, since I don't think human feelings and sexuality are that easy to understand. The fact that Yoruichi is a woman like her is important for Sui-Feng, most of all, because she wanted to be like her; she's her role-model. So, yeah, they have to be lesbians for us to ship them, but we don't ship them because they are lesbians... if that makes any sense.

But, now running the risk of going off-topic, what this discussion really got me wondering is, what if Sui-Feng was a boy instead? Somehow it doesn't seem to me like it would change their history dramatically, but I'd be convinced then that she was just a boy with a crush and that Yoruichi never felt and never would feel like that about her/him. And I'm sure there'd be lots of people who'd ship them.
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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:06 pm

Anil wrote:
But, now running the risk of going off-topic, what this discussion really got me wondering is, what if Sui-Feng was a boy instead? Somehow it doesn't seem to me like it would change their history dramatically, but I'd be convinced then that she was just a boy with a crush and that Yoruichi never felt and never would feel like that about her/him. And I'm sure there'd be lots of people who'd ship them.
Really? I feel like changing Sui-Fen'gs gender would have wider reaching implications than changing Yoruichi's.

For one, I don't think "he" would be a Captain. People are more willing accept weakness in someone in a position of power if that position is filled by a woman. Just physically, someone of Sui-Feng's power (even though according to the official power ratings she's not as weak as people say) would be seen as too weak to be a Captain. And emotionally she would be too fragile. Men aren't supposed to obsess, at least not outwardly. "He" would need to be more like Byakuya.

I agree on your assesment of the relationship though.

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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:13 pm

Hitsugaya isn't physically strong. She has the power to be a captain, whether she looks it or not. And her emotional weakness only became known after Yoruichi's return. The only thing said about how she was when Yoruichi left is that she trained very hard to capture her; she probably didn't show any weakness then. Anyway, I don't think anyone would have cared unless "he" went about crying; even if he showed his obsession, it would be interpreted as something positive, given that he was male (like, the need to restore the pride of the onmitsukido, or something like that).
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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:26 pm

Hitsugaya has also been explicitly stated as having the strongest ice Zanpakuto and the potential to be more powerful than even Kyoraku.

When I say "seen," I mean by the community at large. Sui-Feng's skill set is not immediately associated with masculine power, even in the world of Bleach where speed is so highly valued. People still call into question Mayuri's captain credentials because he's not a physically dominant force. I just don't see people buying her as a male captain. Provided we are talking about a 1:1 gender swap.

But then again I tend to have a rather overly pessimistic view of (especially Japanese) gender politics.

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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:57 pm

You might not buy it, but I find it even harder to buy your assumption that she was only made a captain because she's female - exactly because of my pessimistic views of gender politics anywhere. Maybe she's more interesting as a manga character because she's a lesbian ghost ninja, but I don't think whoever chose her for captain, if the gotei 13 really existed, cared about that.
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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:01 pm

Anil wrote:
You might not buy it, but I find it even harder to buy your assumption that she was only made a captain because she's female - exactly because of my pessimistic views of gender politics anywhere. Maybe she's more interesting as a manga character because she's a lesbian ghost ninja, but I don't think whoever chose her for captain, if the gotei 13 really existed, cared about that.
No, what I'm saying is that we would not see a male character written in the same was as Sui-Feng has been because people would not be accepting of it. My argument has nothing to do with how the Gotei 13 operate, but with authorship.

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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:03 pm

Yes, I notice that, and that's exactly why she's female and not male. But supposing she was male in that fictional universe, there's no reason why she wouldn't be a captain, that's what I said.

And sorry for going so far off-topic...
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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:30 am

So someone actually went and took this idea beyond a though experiment.

Should Have Known Better

Unfortunately it's all told from Urahara's perspective so it doesn't explore the idea as much as it could have.

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PostSubject: Re: What if she was originally a he?   Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:12 am

SoldierG65434-2 wrote:
So someone actually went and took this idea beyond a though experiment.

Should Have Known Better

Unfortunately it's all told from Urahara's perspective so it doesn't explore the idea as much as it could have.

I've avoided that fic until it was mentioned in this thread, as it seemed to imply Yaoi, and it may merely be the misandry of an avid yuri writer and fan leaking through, but whenever an author puts "don't like don't read!" in the tagline of a yaoi fic, it angers me...

edit, and yes, sadly it doesn't seem to explore the implications on the YoruSoi side of things quite as much as it should have.
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