Lessons of Love from Asian Boys’ Love - Investigating the Influence of Asian Boys’ Love on Fans’ Views and Experiences of Real-life People and Relationships
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The research in this thesis deals with the lessons that fans absorb from consuming media of the genre Boys’ Love (BL) from Asia. BL that is produced in Asia is a genre of love stories between two men that attracts many young women in Asia and across the globe. As many young people’s only source of material and information on male same-sex relationships, they become an influential space for knowledge production. The research into this topic contained one-on-one interviews and an online survey with participants from Vietnam, a country that has not received as much attention as other Asian countries on this subject. Through these interviews and its associated survey the attitudes of the fans reveal how open this group of Vietnamese fans is to absorbing elements from BL and transferring them to real life. Working with self-reflective comments and observations of other fans, their attachments to the characters and narratives showcase their understandings of fiction and reality and how they can be connected. Misconceptions about same-sex relationships are present in many stories and while some problematic elements stand out to the attention of some fans, other aspects go unnoticed. BL affects their lives by influencing how they view people in real life and how they view and build certain relationships. Fans learn to accept and normalize certain views and behaviors that stem from the BL narratives and the BL fandom. This thesis investigates the different fans’ awareness of the fictionality of BL and in which knowledge from BL they transfer to real life.