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What Does “Bitch” Mean in the BL Context?

“Bitch,” in the context of Boys’ Love, is one of the terms now commonly used following the popularity of a specific genre in recent years. The word itself refers to uke characters who have a very high sex drive and are unrepentant about it. The popular BL genre that features such characters is called ビッチ受け (“Bitch Uke”) or alternately 淫乱 (“inran,” meaning “lewd”). The genre is not to be confused with a slightly similar BL genre of 誘い受け (“sasoi uke,” or “inviting uke”).

 

Etymology

“Bitch” is written in Japanese as ビッチ in katakana as it is a word directly taken from English. As this term’s original usage was more common in works with R18-rated heterosexual contents and directed to female characters, the meaning of the Japanese word did not differ very much with its English counterpart. However, in BL works, the nuance varies slightly and is used in a lighter, almost self-deprecative way.

 

Brief History

The term “bitch” is not exactly new, even in the doujinshi community. Taken from English and commonly used to refer to female characters in R18-rated works, the original usage and meaning are pretty much the same: a lewd female character, frequently a player and sleeping with many men or selling their body, most of the time with a bad personality. However, the BL side of the doujinshi community later adopted the term. The earliest illustration on Pixiv tagged as ビッチ男子 (“bitch danshi,” literally translates to “manwhore” on Pixiv) was published in 2008, while a published doujinshi work advertised on Pixiv dates back to 2011. The BL manga Junjou Bitch, Hatsukoi Kei was published in 2013. Even back then, it was exclusively used to refer to the uke character.

As the term becomes more commonly used in the past few years, the nuance for the so-called “bitch” character in BL seemed to change slightly. Even though the original meaning was to demean the character it refers to, “bitch” characters in BL are often just lewd ukes with a somewhat insane sex drive. They are shameless about their sex drive and aren’t shy about wanting and asking to have sex. Regardless of the uke’s personality, or if they sleep with multiple men or sell their body, it is irrelevant (though such character tropes are also often found in a bitch uke). The concept of the “bitch uke” in BL is more similar to “topping from the bottom,” commonly found in the English-speaking fandom community. Additionally, like many other BL terms, “bitch” is also used in a light, almost self-deprecative humor to fondly describe the uke. While it is quite common to find the word in published BL manga titles nowadays, it is quite interesting to note that a seme rarely calls the uke “bitch” directly within the storyline.

 

Bitch: Modern Usage

The success of the bitch uke genre propelled the popularity of using the word “bitch” among Boys’ Love fans. Some famous examples of the bitch uke genre are Ogeretsu Tanaka’s Yarichin☆Bitch Club or Harada’s Yata & Momo. The word is currently being commonly used in the titles as well. You can easily find recommendation articles for best BL works with bitch uke contents or even lighthearted debates on which bitch uke is the best.

 

Further Readings:

ビッチの意味
https://www.chil-chil.net/answerList/question_id/1213/

ビッチ男子
https://dic.pixiv.net/a/%E3%83%93%E3%83%83%E3%83%81%E7%94%B7%E5%AD%90

BLにおける『ビッチ』の使い勝手の良さに開眼する
http://hamucopp.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-1570.html

 

About futekiya: BL manga subscription

Boys' Love Manga Subscription Service futekiya promotional image

In 2018, futekiya began as a Boys’ Love manga news and culture website operated by FANTASISTA, INC., a CG/VR production studio based in Tokyo, Japan. futekiya transformed into a budding global distributor of officially licensed BL manga in 2019.

futekiya launched as an online subscription service for officially licensed BL manga on July 8, 2019. Determined to connect fans around the world with English-translated BL legally and conveniently, futekiya empowers readers to support creators and the manga industry.

Readers who subscribe to futekiya and pay a flat monthly fee of $6.99 will have access to our expanding library of English-language manga. To subscribe, please go to read.futekiya.com and create an account. More information is in our Guide.

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