K-pop Fanfiction: The Disturbing Truth
Fanfiction is a term used to describe stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than the original creator. This may be a popular series or manga or even a movie or anime. Fanfiction is by no means a recent occurrence, however a more modern form has taken over its true roots, especially with regard to the K-pop universe.
Naturally, fanfiction has become more popular and widespread since the discovery of the Internet and according to one estimate, it is said that fanfiction comprises a shocking one third of all content about books on the Web.
I am aware that this is an extremely sensitive topic, something I found out the hard way after merely making a subjective comment on a popular online English speaking K-pop supporters community. In this article, I will try my best to go into the problems I find that society faces and a trend that I have noticed and find disturbing. This is my personal opinion and my personal reasons as to why I feel negatively towards K-pop fanfiction.
I will begin by defining some terms that occur for those who are not quite familiar with fan fictions:
Slash fiction in almost all fandoms, refers to same-sex male pairings. This is one of the main categories of fiction and refers to the romantic or sexual story elements. The term originates from the slash between the names of the characters in a relationship for example Jong/Key (Shinee’s Jonghyun and Key, a very popular K-pop fanfiction pairing).
The term kink has a somewhat different connotation in reference to fan fiction than it does in mainstream culture. Sexual situations are often referred to as kinks whether or not they are particularly “adventurous.”
Crossovers are stories that incorporate two or more different sources. In a K-pop fanfiction for example, an author may take a character or their bias from Group A and place him or her in the universe of Group B, or biases from two or more groups may meet at a neutral location with the author or the author and their friends. This may or may not be sexual, and honestly there is some innocent K-pop fanfiction out there. It is not all bad; most are relatively harmless and just good fun.
A lemon or smut on the other hand is a story of explicit nature, often seen as fanfiction for video games, anime or manga. It can range from mild to extreme adult scenes. Lemons are usually rated 18+ and are not recommended for minors.
Let me begin by saying that I completely reject the supposed “normalcy” of sexual fanfictions (particularly those created by minors) as an expression of feelings. My main issue, and the most worrying for me is the demographic that engage in the production of these fanfictions, mostly teenagers/adolescents. We need to ask ourselves what are the moral repercussions of it all. Is it not all just glorified gay porn? Is it right that children (whether they like it or not, if you are under 16 or under 18 you are a minor i.e a child) engage in this explicit behavior? In K-pop fanfiction, slash seems to be the most prevalent. Isn’t this troubling once you look at the ages of the authors?
I cannot however put the blame on the creators of these stories. As has been said to me “oh, but so-and-so oppas like it”. It is not a surprising conclusion given the forced sexuality of many male idols groups in the music industry, with “chocolate abs” (abs so defined that they look like chocolate bars) on show being the norm. Regular fan service is how they gain their popularity and also how they in turn gain more income. This is a major problem with the K-pop industry and Korea as a whole. There is a strong movement against homosexuality, yet homoerotic fanservice is acceptable? Isn’t that the reason for the vast selection of Tumblrs dedicated to male on male “One True Pairings”? The companies are really the ones that enforce these ideas but in an underhanded way that denies what’s truly going on. It is what it is, a corruption of youth. Then in return, naïve fangirls go around pretending that they know the workings of the K-pop world when in fact they don’t. Annoyingly this entire situation seems a bit “what came first, the chicken or the egg”.
I am not slamming fanfiction writing as a pastime, but I have to admit that to me sexual fanfictions written by underage fans who really know nothing about sex (and shouldn’t at their age), is disturbing. Even more disturbing is that sometimes these stories are being written about underage boys. Another scenario to consider, underage fans writing stories concerning idols twice their age? That just isn’t right. It creates unrealistic fantasies in their heads and given the chance these fans might actually act on it. The people they are writing about are real. Look at the situation in Korea with sasaeng (stalker) fans. Can you imagine if an idol got caught in an awkward situation with a lovestruck minor?
All in all I’m finding it increasingly difficult to think about K-pop related “fanfiction” in general and not immediately have the thought “no impact on the world other than taking out the sexual frustrations of teens and preteens” come to mind.