I... I was linked to this thread from a "major" gaming news outlet. What? This was not the way I expected to end up posting on SF again. What started off as a small comment ended up as a long-winded meander through queer theory, oh my. [spoiler=Long Digression in Queer Theory Read at Your Own Peril]I guess the one thing I would add to this is beware the assumption that Soliel is *intended* to be lesbian/bi. Fantastical sexual deviance is very very different from real lived queerness, and a fictional character's over-the-top attraction to girls is not necessarily indication she was intended to be read as a queer person. It's much more likely that in the mind of the writers this trait was simply a set up for ad-nausea gender-bender jokes, and her essential "straightness" was never really in question (think of the way that women are free to admire each others physical beauty without being read as "gay"--I suspect this is more like than not an expression of a similar, though more pronounced idea, that it is possible to express same-sex desire without being a "homosexual subject"). Soliel never, to my knowledge, self identifies as queer or lesbian or bi or anything--in fact no such word ever seems to be used about her (could be wrong about this one, though). This points to me to the notion that her desire for women while real is intended as nothing more than a kind of surface performance--if anything it seems her desire is more towards the *feminine*, as seen in Foleo, rather than to women in particular, although she couches it in terms of women. Of course, in counterpoint to this we know she *does* expresses very real desire for women, which she is self-conscious of, so I can see where a reading of her as a queer subject might come from. This is less to suggest she be beyond critique and more to suggest that that critique probably shouldn't be rooted in the assumption that she was "supposed" to be queer. In fact, this almost suggest something worse, a world where queerness is a kind of disassociative heterosexuality, where genuine queer subjects are impossible since they simply become folded back into heterosexual ones--notice how in her interactions with women she overwhelmingly takes a "mans" aggressive role, even while she's very "feminine" in presentation. This also suggests new readings of that support where she argues with the fujoshi--both of them are shown to be engaging in this distancing strategy. She desires women in the same way the fujoshi is supposed to imagine a boy desiring boys, as something at arms length from the self. We can see her perhaps performing heterosexual desire from the "male" position, in a kind of flip dismissal of her own "femininity". Of course, were this desire actually enacted, it would be something like the butch (the "masculine" lesbian), but it isn't, and that's the very point, this contradiction in terms between performed "maleness" and embodied "femininity". ...maybe, but I'm getting into waters that are making me uncomfortable, hence the scare quotes. It needs to be reiterated--what we're looking at (perhaps) is not a queer subjectivity but a heterosexual fantasy that touches on queer things (of course, I wouldn't be a good queer scholar if I suggested those were actually entirely discreet). When Soliel aggressively flirts with women she is doing it in a kind of drag, but shes also enacting a kind of aggressive (but also sentimental) sexuality that "more ok" because shes a women. This makes sense if we read her as a fantasy site of the male player. Alternatively, this also suggests an entirely different reading in a Takarazuka context, where sex is downplayed in favor of a nebulous "beauty", and the question of gender is elided because were talking about relationships that happen on a totally non-physical level. In fact, looking back I'm more inclined towards this one since she doesn't engage in any illicit physical activity towards women--for example, groping excused by "but were both girls". This is also worth serious critique as a general rule, since it constitutes a shocking dismissal of queer persons (of course, queer person-hood is much less strong in Japan, where queerness has long been considered a safe domain of fantasy). This is of course all to say that when it turns out she desires men all along there should be nothing surprising about it--since what we're looking at is probably nothing more than a conduit of male heterosexual desire. This character isn't real, there is no "real" lesbian underneath her performance, only a male writer. Counterpoint--queerness has totally been gaining traction in Japan in recent years. What we might also be seeing is a "transitional" character--a character written in a culture with a kind of growing awareness that there is such a thing as "queer people" but one that doesn't quite know what to do with it yet and has one foot in two worlds (much like our own really). In which case what we might be seeing multiple strains of queer identity being worked out--the heterosexual fantasy coming into contact with the lived experience. Of course, the resulting hybrid is pretty awful, which is sadly par for the course. With this in mind I will also totally defend readings of Soliel as queer, especially because ambiguity is so essential to what constitutes queerness in the first place. There is plenty here in her narrative to look at it and see a queer person, and from that draw legitimately bad conclusions--I probably don't need to rehash those at this point. Simply because someone probably wasn't written as queer doesn't mean they can't be read as it.
Also the original support conversation has serious consent issues and is gross, even if it isn't "date rape" per se (whatever still totally disrespectful and awful behavior close enough).