As films like Star Wars become more prominent, and with the growing importance of Chinese audiences, these kinds of marketing strategies that capitalises on the official and special edition merchandise will become more common. Fans as consumers will be normalised, as rather than participating in practices that often challenge the readings of the text or (Asian) societal norms, consumption advances the capitalist sensibilities of Hollywood studios that produce franchises like Star Wars.
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Founded in 2003, Jinjiang Wenxue Cheng (the Jinjiang City of Literature, hereafter Jinjiang) (www.jjwxc.net/) proclaims itself to be the largest female cyberlit platform in the world, with 93 percent of its over 7 million registered members being women (JJWXC n.d.; Feng 2009; Xu and Yang 2013). BL fan fics, or danmei tongren (from the Japanese words tanbi, “addicted to beauty,” and dōjinshi), are listed side by side with yanqing (heterosexual romance) as two major genres on the Web site, where male-male love is treated as another form of romantic relationship. Jinjiang is one of the major platforms for online distribution of Chinese BL fiction where people pay the authors in order to read their favorite titles, often with the first few chapters free, while the Web site charges a commission for each subscription. (…) Jinjiang also helps build connections between novelists and publishers to facilitate commercial publication of popular yanqing titles. BL fiction with homosexual content, however, often cannot pass the censors to be legally published in China, even as niche publications.
Iron Man in Chinese boys’ love fandom: A story untold | John Wei | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2clFc3l
New issue posted today, and several essays/interviews/reviews that may be of interest to people here:
Redefining gender swap fan fiction: A Sherlock case study – Ann McClellan
Bull in a china shop: Alternate Reality games and transgressive fan play in social media franchises – Burcu Bakiolgu (phdfan, this might interest you?)
Twinship, incest, and twincest in the Harry Potter universe – Vera Cuntz-Leng
Queer encounters between Iron Man and Chinese boy’s love fandom – John Wei
Fan fiction metadata creation and utilization within fan fiction archives: Three primary models – Shannon Fay Johnson (destinationtoast, this might be of interest?)
Fan fiction and midrash: Making meaning – Rachel Barenblat
Wordplay, mindplay: Fan fiction and postclassical narratology – Veerle Van Steenhuyse
Fandom and the fourth wall – Jenna Kathryn Ballinger
Exploring fandom, social media, and producer/fan interactions: An interview with Sleepy Hollow’s Orlando Jones – Lucy Bennett and Bertha Chin
And much more! Check it out – this is FREE. OPEN ACCESS. Read! Enjoy! :)
Reading Reflection on Chinese boys’ love fans: An insider’s view by Erika Junhui Yi in the latest issue of TWC, I was struck not just by how extreme reactions to BL can get, but also how little info sometimes gets through to English-speaking media fandom about fandoms in different places that use different languages.
Yi describes how BL fans are sometimes stigmatized in China because BL often involves explicit sexual content, and homosexual content at that. For instance, she says that “in the massive censorship crackdown launched in 2010, thousands of BL fan forums, Web sites, and personal blogs were censored, along with pornography”.
Censorship is bad enough. But then there’s this:
These media reports, along with the Internet censorship, made BL fandom a target of attack. Perhaps the most outrageous action taken against BL fan girls happened in 2011. The police in Zhengzhou Province arrested 32 slash fiction writers whose work had appeared on a Web site specializing in homoerotic content. The arrested writers were all women, and most were in their 20s (Xin Kuai Bao, March 22, 2011, www.ycwb.com/epaper/xkb/html/2011-03/22/content_1068001.htm). This news caught the attention of other BL fan girls, most of whom had also created some kind of fan work, making them vulnerable to legal action.
If this was talked about in English fannish circles, I completely missed it. Was it discussed? Google is being no help at all. The only thing in English I found that mentions this episode is an academic article on BL in China, Forbidden love: incest, generational conflict, and the erotics of power in Chinese BL fiction (paywalled, alas. Comment if you’re looking for access, someone may be able to help). A bunch of Japanese friends I mentioned it to did know about the incident, though. Turns out it was even slashdotted in Japan.
It’s things like this that make me think we need better ways to make sure that at least the very important info about troubles and incidents in non-English-speaking fan communities gets over the language barriers. I’m not sure if English-speaking fans could have been of any help in this particular incident, but 32 fic writers getting arrested seems like something that should have made more waves than it did.
Transformative Works and Cultures has published its twelfth issue, entirely devoted to boys’ love fandom around the globe (full press release). There are some excellent articles on Hetalia, the politics of BL in Germany, character bots on Twitter, BL in China, dojinshi, the origins of the word fujoshi, criticism from Japanese LGBT activists on BL, and more. We’ll be posting some short bits of analysis and good quotes from the articles in the upcoming weeks. Enjoy!
Transnational boys’ love fan studies, by Kazumi Nagaike and Katsuhiko Suganuma
Reflection on Chinese boys’ love fans: An insider’s view, by Erika Junhui Yi
The possibilities of research on fujoshi in Japan, by Midori Suzuki