More than Conformity or Resistance

Chinese “Boys’ Love” Fandom in the Age of Internet Censorship

Authors

  • Xi Tian Bucknell University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.25365/jeacs.2020.1.189-213

Keywords:

BL, danmei, censorship, fandom, media studies, Zhenhun, Gouwazi Tianyi, 耽美, 審查制度, 粉絲研究, 媒體研究, 鎮魂, 狗娃子天一

Abstract

One of the most popular literary and cultural practices particularly in the digital age, “boys’ love” (BL, danmei 耽美) manga and fictional works are fantasies on romantic or homoerotic male-male relationships, and therefore are often naturally associated with homosexuality and pornography, two “morally” suspicious targets of government censorship in the heteronormative Chinese culture. This article aims to examine the various, indeed often opposite, strategies and tactics taken by BL participants and by some conscientious netizens on popular social media to illustrate how those who are under the threat of censorship grapple with harsh reality. In this article I argue that the BL practitioners’ responses to Chinese government’s anti-pornography campaigns are not simply a passive or reluctant “reaction.” I will first study the web adaptation of Priest’s BL story Zhenhun, demonstrating Priest’s as well as her fans’ tactful collaboration with the consumer culture and willing conformity to official discourse. Forming a sharp contrast with Priest’s commercial success, the controversial ten-year jail sentence of another BL writer, Gouwazi Tianyi, for profiting from producing and selling BL fiction has caused widespread outcry from both BL fans and ordinary netizens on Chinese social media. This case not only questions the dated criminal laws on obscene articles, but also challenges the patriarchal and problematic social institutions.

作為數字時代最受歡迎的流行文學和文化實踐,耽美漫畫和虛構作品是對男男浪漫的戀愛關係或性關係的想像,因此常與同性戀和色情聯繫起來。而在以異性戀為正統的中國文化中,常常成為政府審查制度針對的“道德”目標。本文旨在研究耽美參與者和一些有良知的網民在社交媒體上採取的不同甚至相反的策略,以展現人們如何應對嚴酷審查的現實。本文通過研讀網絡耽美劇《鎮魂》的接受情況解讀了耽美作家Priest及其粉絲與消費文化和官方話語的共謀。同時通過探討耽美作家狗娃子天一因寫作和銷售耽美小說而被判刑的案例,展示了耽美參與者和網民對陳舊法律的質疑,以及對父權制的社會制度的挑戰。

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Published

2021-03-07

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Research Articles