I dunno about that. Ikuhara is a big yuri fan, he constantly pushed for more explicit yuri in Utena TV and finally got it in AoU. When asked why, he said that he liked to see girls kissing. Male gaze, and definitely not coincidental.Kionon wrote:Given that shoujo, at its base, (as I explained to Beowolf in my feminist critique of misogyny in AMV spaces) is not remotely about the male gaze or for the male gaze (written by women for girls), these queer identities cannot be seen as mere fanservice for male watchers. In many cases, I'd argue male interest in this homosocial, homoerotic (even overtly homosexual, like Haruka/Michiru) element of shoujo is entirely coincidental. Perhaps not unexpected, but in spite and of not because of the inclusion of these themes. I'm fairly certain the feminists who have written on shoujo before would agree. Yes, there are anime series which exploit elements of shoujo, including homosocial behavior for the male gaze (Kampfer immediately comes to mind), they are not shoujo and should not be classified as such.
Personally I find yuri a lot MORE erotic when the girls have a complex but believable relationship, than when nominally straight girls start grabbing each others boobs for no reason.
So IMHO male-gaze yuri fanservice and a strong feminist message are not mutually exclusive.