Unveiling the World of Boy’s Love Series in China: A Journey into BL Fandom

Description: Delve into the intriguing world of Boy's Love series fandom in China and gain insights into the experiences and challenges faced by passionate BL fan girls. Explore the stigmatization, media scrutiny, and censorship that shape this vibrant community, while uncovering the enduring friendships and deep connections formed within. Discover the power of shared interests and the resilience of these dedicated fans as they navigate a society that often misunderstands and misrepresents their love for homoerotic relationships.

In a realm shrouded in mystery and misunderstood by outsiders, lies the captivating world of Boy’s Love (BL) series in China. This fascinating subculture celebrates homoerotic relationships between fictional male characters, real-life celebrities, and even personifications of everyday objects and animals. Surprisingly, the driving force behind BL fandom in China is predominantly women, most of whom identify as heterosexual. However, this vibrant community of BL fan girls often finds itself at odds with societal norms, facing stigmatization, censorship, and media scrutiny. In this blog post, we delve into the insider view of the BL series fandom, shedding light on its complexities, challenges, and the enduring bond among its members.

Stigmatization and Misunderstandings:

BL fan girls navigate a world where their interests clash with mainstream society’s views on homosexuality. China’s highly heterosexual, patriarchal culture silences homosexual voices, further exacerbating the stigma faced by BL fan girls. Their enthusiasm for BL content, which occasionally contains explicit sexual depictions, is seen by critics as obscene, unhealthy, and damaging to traditional Chinese values. This moral panic led to internet censorship, resulting in the closure of numerous BL fan forums and websites. Sadly, media reports often sensationalize and misrepresent this mature and sophisticated fandom, perpetuating stereotypes and assumptions about mental health issues and societal harm.

An August 7, 2010, article in the Psychology section of Guangzhou Daily suggests that BL fan girls need psychiatric help

Within the tumultuous journey of the Boy’s Love series fandom in China, media reports have played a significant role in perpetuating negative stereotypes and inciting moral panic. These reports have often suggested that BL fan girls require psychiatric help due to their perceived abnormal interests, branding them as having mental problems. Furthermore, some argued that their fandom practices, with their antimainstream and rebellious nature, might cause societal harm or be manipulated by antigovernmental and antisocial forces, posing a threat to social stability.

An egregious incident that serves as a testament to the challenges faced by BL fan girls occurred in 2011. In Zhengzhou Province, the police arrested 32 slash fiction writers whose work had been featured on a website specializing in homoerotic content. Shockingly, all the arrested writers were women, mostly in their 20s. This news reverberated throughout the BL fandom, leaving many fan girls vulnerable to potential legal repercussions, as numerous individuals within the community had also created fan works.

The rise of the Chinese microblogging service, Sina Weibo, provided a platform for the outpouring of support and satirical responses from millions of BL fan girls. Satirical comics about the arrests flooded the platform, with some humorously suggesting that prisons wouldn’t have enough space to accommodate all the writers and illustrators. Others playfully proposed that the imprisoned girls be housed based on popular BL genres, facilitating communication among them. Amidst the self-mocking and humorous posts lay the underlying fear and anxiety of stigmatized Chinese BL fan girls grappling with the looming threat of legal consequences.

For many fan girls, the attacks and arrests felt deeply personal. Even those with limited online visibility, like myself, felt compelled to take precautions, such as moving their slash fiction blogs to servers outside of China. The chilling effect of these actions rippled throughout the community, leaving many questioning their safety and the extent to which they could express their passion for BL within the confines of a society that often misunderstood and stigmatized them.

In a fan comic, an imprisoned fan girl can’t decide which genre-specific prison cell to enter

It is essential to recognize that behind the self-deprecating humor and satire lies a community of individuals who seek solace, understanding, and a sense of belonging within the realm of BL fandom. Their experiences and the challenges they face are a testament to the resilience and determination of these stigmatized Chinese BL fan girls.

As we explore the world of Boy’s Love series fandom in China, it is crucial to comprehend the broader context, including the media’s negative portrayal and the chilling effect of arrests. By understanding the complexities and challenges faced by these dedicated fan girls, we can appreciate the depth of their passion and the unwavering bonds they form within their community.

The Power of Community and Friendships:

The prevailing misunderstandings surrounding BL fandom have inadvertently strengthened the sense of community among BL fan girls. They have adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude toward outsiders, seeking solace and understanding within their tightly-knit group. Contrary to the media’s portrayal, these fan girls form deep friendships, not solely based on their shared love for BL, but also on shared ideologies and attitudes towards social issues. While the outside world may struggle to comprehend their passion, within their community, they find acceptance and support.

Friendships forged online transcend the virtual realm, creating lasting connections. Despite cautionary measures taken to safeguard personal information, BL fan girls engage in meaningful interactions on various platforms. From commenting on each other’s posts to exchanging private messages, these friendships blossom. The depth of these relationships is evident as they celebrate one another’s joys and share life’s mundane moments. Some online friendships even transcend the digital space, with fan girls meeting face to face, often traversing regions or countries to solidify their bonds. The mutual passion for BL serves as the catalyst for these enduring friendships.

Challenging Stereotypes and Embracing Individuality:

BL fan girls often find themselves at odds with societal expectations and traditional gender roles. Outsiders may assume that their interests in same-sex relationships indicate homosexuality, further contributing to their alienation from mainstream society. However, these assumptions fail to capture the nuanced complexities of BL fandom. While the world may perceive their single status as a social problem, BL fan girls challenge this notion by prioritizing their friendships and personal growth over conforming to societal expectations.

Within the BL fan girl community, romantic relationships are not the sole measure of happiness. They often jest that with the company of like-minded friends, the need for romantic love dissipates. Such lighthearted comments serve as a testament to the strength of their friendships and the sense of fulfillment derived from the community they’ve built. This nonconformity to traditional expectations challenges the patriarchal norms ingrained in Chinese culture, empowering these women to embrace their individuality and make choices that resonate with their true selves.

The Changing Media Landscape:

While media portrayals of BL fan girls have predominantly been negative, a subtle shift can be observed in recent times. Media productions are increasingly incorporating elements that cater to the interests of BL fans. The inclusion of subtle hints at romantic or sexual relationships between male characters aims to capitalize on the popularity of BL. Although this may be seen as exploitation, it also signifies a departure from moral panic. However, the impact of such portrayals on the perception of BL fan girls remains debatable.


The Boy’s Love series fandom in China, with its thriving community of passionate and devoted fan girls, is a testament to the power of shared interests and supportive friendships. Despite the challenges posed by stigmatization, censorship, and media biases, BL fan girls persist in celebrating their love for homoerotic relationships. Through their online interactions and real-life meetups, they create a safe haven where they can freely express themselves and find acceptance. As the world begins to glimpse the true essence of BL fandom, it is crucial to understand and appreciate the depth, resilience, and diversity within this vibrant community.

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