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.

 

The following two tabs change content below.

Eileen

A proud East Asian culture enthusiast. Writer for BeyondHallyu and UnitedJpop. London based.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1818886406 Janani Kavindi Siriwardena

    I agree :)

  • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

    I find it especially insulting for the objects (because that is what they are treated as) of affection that gay fanfic and fanfic relationships are being made and worshiped while a real relationship or, god forbid, real homosexuality would get them crucified by the fans who “love” them.

    You can’t reject healthy sexuality (be it straight or gay), praise the imaginary and very unrealistic one and expect that to not be considered as borderline mental illness, which it may very well be.

    Korea (and the world in general) should start taking sex ed more seriously and pop culture should stop being so eager to milk unbalanced young (and of all ages, really) individuals by promoting and thriving on very very very wrong ideas about sexuality, human rights, relationships, admiration etc.

  • http://ethlenn.blogspot.com/ Ethlenn

    Let’s say it once and for all – slash Kpop fanfics are NOT normal. And since when idols like them? I know majority of fandoms and I know those sexually frustrated and unhinged teens are just projecting their own notions onto idols, but maybe they should put their energy on something more creative and useful, like writing lessons or dating in real life so they would know?

  • http://twitter.com/mojj2493 Mariiooo.

    PREACH IT

  • http://twitter.com/___djb___ dbullock

    As one of the “older” Kpop fans… meaning I could be YOUR mother or possibly grandmother… seeing this so rampant in the fandoms disturbs me on so many levels.

  • Oloinen

    I don’t quite agree. I actually take the opposite stance at least what comes to this “they shouldn’t know about sex”. Oh yes, they should. Teens should definitely know about sex and we adults should tell them about it. And I don’t mean it’s mere existance but more, what it’s like, what it’s fore (not only reprocustional aspect) etc.

    Because, let’s face it: teens are horny. They WILL find out about sex. So the question really isn’t should or shouldn’t they but what are the sources of they knowledge.

    Basically I think that this sort of fanfiction is simply sexual fantasies written down and passed to others. So if one finds them disturbing, is one suggesting that teens having sexual fantasies is disturbing? Or teens having some spesific sexual fantasies, like m&m fantasies, is disturbing? If so – why? Why is it disturbing to imagine people having sex together, to think what it’s like etc? As said, teens are horny. There’s nothing we can really do about that fact.

    The thing I personally don’t like in this Kpop-fanfiction is that it uses real people (if I’ve understood correctly). I’m not against people having fantasies about real people but those fantasies should be kept private. Writing publicly about some existing people boingking each other is basically the same as if I went to a bar and started telling to some person how I imagine him and some other dude having sex. Everybody would say that this is highly inappropriate and I’m pretty sure that each and one of those Kpop-porn writers would feel the same way in said situation. And yet they’re doing essentially the same thing to some other people. Now this part is disturbing, I would say.

    • Terri

      I agree with you, especially on the part that the fanfiction uses real people.

    • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

      I agree on that teenagers want to and will find out about sex, which is why the industries and idols these teens get their ideas of sex and relationships about should not project such unhealthy things.

      It should not be ok to turn real people into objects out for public display and treat them like sex dolls whose sexuality or choice of partner you should be allowed to decide.

      Idols/celebrities and their agencies should take a healthier approach to sexual relationships and romantic involvement of their artists, as well as their sexuality. On the other end, parents, schools, society should start giving the right information and moral compasses to teens instead of trying to “protect” them from something natural they should know about.

      It is not healthy or balanced for a young girl to publicly abuse the image of their idol while having absolutely no tolerance or respect for said idol’s real romantic/sex life or not having a concept of what is private and what is public and ok to play around with. Teens are teens and it’s adults who should do a better job, not the kids.

      It’s not the fact that they write this fanfic, their fantasies, which is worrisome. It’s how twisted their views on what is romantic, respectful to a partner, safe etc are that make this type of writing disturbing. For example, a genre like yaoi is often glorifying rape as a form of love and I do think it’s wrong for any child to perceive of forced sex as a good thing, let alone wish that upon real people.

      Fanfic of this smutty type is just the result of how badly sexuality is conveyed to kids and it should be used to figure out what we’re doing wrong and how we can give them a healthier view of things and make them understand that both sexuality and talking about it have rules, a time and a place, in order for everyone involved to be respected and taken into account.

      • http://twitter.com/___djb___ dbullock

        Thanks. I was contemplating a response to Oloinen but I think you said it better than I could have.

      • Terri

        I can hardly read a yaoi anymore because of the rape-for-love plots – ugh.
        Although, I think originally, the rape thing between two guys was explored due to female rape fantasies, but not as offputting to the woman because there is no female body for her to get too connected with/identify as easily with (lacigreen talks about women fantasising about rape in a vid here at the 1:50 mark – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsA4Ter2VPA – and I could be wrong on this, but it’s an idea I’ve gathered from a few articles).
        But I do agree we need more positive portrayals of smut and sexuality, as opposed to all the abusive crap out there.

        • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

          Yaoi is written for women, so yes, that sounds like the source for rape there, but things are different when this is being read by an adult woman who can distinguish between her fantasies and what is ok and not ok in the real world.

          The problem with presenting such notions as forced sex out of context and without further information is that very young and very susceptible people who are constantly subjected to that may not have the necessary support from their environment to make that distinction. And such works (and male idol groups, which are our topic) are specifically targeted at young girls, exactly because they feed on raw needs and giving you what you want, not what is good for you.

          Which is why schools, friends, relatives and parents need to work better on sex ed and teaching their kids how to think properly and pop culture needs to stop trying so hard to pass off unrealistic and often harmful ideas as what should be sought after.

          Porn has an age limit (despite the internet making it very easy for kids to access) for a reason. Because a young mind is not equipped to see it just as “recreation” and it features ideas which should definitely not seep into real life. Since porn is not aimed at kids because of that, we need to start thinking of whether yaoi, objectified and self-objectified male idol groups etc are really a safe thing to have as entertainment for teens, considering they’re about giving teens their “fix” and making profit out of it regardless of what is healthy for said teens.

          We are turning entertainment for teens into a mental drug. Giving them what their hormones desire with the goal of cashing in and no concern over what that “drug” does to them. That’s the issue here.

  • Terri

    I can understand your concern about underage teens writing such fanfiction, but the thing is during your teens, you are sexually aware and curious. Now, it may result in some really crappy, inaccurate fics (that are perhaps like 50shades or really bad yaoi), but it’s a fantasy – the teen is going to look back on it in 5 years time and CRINGE. I can understand the concern if an author is something like 12, but if the author is 15 it’s understandable.

    I do have to say though, while I understand that teens are sexually aware and curious, I do find it ‘icky’ when the character is underage (esp if younger than 16) and I cannot read any such fanfic.
    I haven’t really read much kpop fanfiction, but does anyone find it accurate or good? Because it hasn’t been, in my experience.

    • https://twitter.com/NightFang2 kpopfan123

      There could exist fanfics that aren’t sexually oriented.(I actually made one as a desperate resolution to win a KMM review and increase the comments but I got comments like “it’s awesome”, “you should try doing more” See! it’s possible)And there are thousands of yaoi mangas and anime out there. Is it that worth it to defile their identity as a music artist and as a person for own pleasures? as it is they work hard enough for their fans… they should be rewarded otherwise…

      • Terri

        Link to the fanfic please? :)
        I’m not saying all fanfics have to be smutty, and it is insulting to the ‘character’ in the fanfic, but I was just agaisnt the point that teens shouldn’t be writing sexually explicit stuff.

        • https://twitter.com/NightFang2 kpopfan123

          It’s in my computer sorry… I don’t know I was fired up by your comment and I just had to comment… I feel pity for those music artists… and repulse for their so-called fans…

          • Terri

            I totally agree…
            I mean, if I were ever to be famous (I hope that never happens), I would be really grossed out and creeped out by fanfics I would be featured in, whether I was in character or not, or it was a PG fic…

            But I’ve never found any good kpop fics (I didn’t look hard either), and mainly read fanfics on TVshows, books and comics :)

          • https://twitter.com/NightFang2 kpopfan123

            If you would really want to read my fanfic you can send me a private message on twitter with an e-mail address

  • http://twitter.com/myfailatart Nia S

    Teenagers from the age of 12-18 are sexually the most frustrated age group. This is not a liberal agenda statement but a fact. Teenage boys start to develop interest in sex and sexual themes around the age of 11-12 ( sometime even earlier ) while girls rather around 14-15 ( again, sometimes earlier ).

    It is natural for teens to fantasize about and express interest in sexual themes – in fact, at that age, that is the most natural and instinctual behavior they can show. It’s normal and should be accepted as such.

    Accepting teen sexuality doesn’t mean encouraging them to engage in sex. Personally I set the perfect starting age for sexual activity to 17 – in my country at that age you have to make some heavy decisions regarding your future thus it forces a sense of maturity on teens.

    Accepting teen sexuality means that you don’t suppress their sexual interests – again, that are not only normal but highly instinctual. The most wrong one can do is tell a teen that having “naughty thoughts” is somehow indecent or age-inappropriate because you will only put an unnecessary burden on his/her shoulder – the burden of considering oneself “weird”, “dirty” and etc.

    Fanfiction is one of the healthiest and most safe medium for a teen to express sexual fantasies and ease the inner frustration.

    What’s truly regrettable and serves as the main problem with Kpop is the lack of honesty about sexuality and sexual undertones. The industry does what Disney, deny the existence of sexual undertones completely and somehow most people accept it.
    Homosexuals are in the closet, relationships are hidden, sex is a taboo – ‘who isn’t in a relationship is a virgin’, a rule that I heard long ago. Especially among young female idols, being aware of their sexuality and consciously exploiting it is a major no in Kpop. On the contrary, they are made to promote “unaware sexuality”, “unconscious provocativeness”, “passive sexiness” – all of them highly confusing to teens.
    Male idols on the other hand are promoted as “extra aware”. Male idols are a “gift to you” and “you should feel lucky enough” – the concept of handsome men “gracing your life” is just as confusing and harmful.

    So to sum it up, teen sexuality isn’t the problem nor how teens ease their frustration. The problem is how Kpop confuses their knowledge on sexuality with contradicting statements.

  • http://twitter.com/NyNy_x NyNy ♛ ナイナイ

    I guess for some people, fanfiction is sensitive but I see
    fanfiction as a way for people to broaden their imagination and improve their
    writing skills. I even wrote a post on my views towards Fanfiction: http://nynyonlinex.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/a-look-at-fanfiction-video-games-k-pop-and-more

    Slash, Yaoi or Yuri is just so common to see now that people
    believe they cannot avoid it. If people really want to avoid this type of
    fanfiction, they can. There are other fanfictions with none of these pairings
    to find e.g. OC fics. It’s interesting really because all this shipping leading
    to fanfiction and such makes me wonder if some of these fans would be okay if
    their oppas or unni’s really did date…

    I’m sure it is a bit awkward when underage fans (I mean the
    11-14 year olds mostly) who write with no experience makes it disturbing and
    you can tell by their writing who copies and pastes. That is definitely a
    problem but it will not change anytime soon. Plus as Orion and Oloinen have
    said, teens

    The rape or abusive fics though. Hmm…I don’t know what to
    say about that and people’s minds to write that stuff.

  • Pingback: Korean Gender Reader, Feb. 9-15 | The Grand Narrative

  • http://twitter.com/carelessriver Caterina Maria

    Regarding your point about teenagers and sex: not only should they know about it, they probably already know more than their parents by the time their parents start to wonder. I learned about the technicalities at 7 (med school textbook; yes, I understood) and the fun parts starting at, what, 12? And I’m glad. I’m 27 in less than a month. I’ve had two lovers, one who was really bad for me because hey, we all have more to learn, even the ones who learn early, and one who has, in our nearly five years together, been the best possible partner in life that I could want. Learning about sex when I did kept me safe from STDs and pregnancy scares — I knew how to minimize the risks and felt empowered to seek quality care. So there’s that misconception (pun kinda neat, huh?) out of the way.

    I read and wrote smut, het and slash, before I was 18. Turns out I can’t write smut to save my life, but it was still an exploration of the ideas behind sex between consenting partners. Trust me, fanfiction writers understand there’s a line between reality and fantasy, and in my day at least we were horrified if anyone tried to cross it. We did it for us, not because anyone else thought it was hot. If there’s a different vibe in the community these days, it’s not the fault of the impulse, itself, to write fanfiction. Putting your fantasies to paper is normal enough; look at all the teenagers who keep diaries! It’s the fault of the fan culture, especially if it’s encouraging obsessive and stalkerish behavior, doubly so if it’s doing so “because… oppas like it”. If your kid is doing anything for an oppa, online or off, it’s time to pull that kid aside and have some words about healthy, age-appropriate friendships and relationships.

  • RuxandraM

    I shared your post on my Tumblr and wrote my response there; you can read it here: http://adaydreamerstory.tumblr.com/post/43302095836

  • 032891

    You make it sound as if it’s only the K-pop fandom who have discovered the so-called dangers of slash fanfiction. What about RPF in Western fandoms? Or Western TV shows?

    Also, one of the problems I have with this right away is your assumption that since the fanbase of most K-pop groups are younger, it’s automatically assumed that most people who write fanfiction for the fandom are underage and need some sort of guidance as of what kind of positive portrayal of sex they should have. Oh no! Teenagers reading porn! Teenagers thinking it’s okay to sex up real life people! Won’t someone think of the children?

    Someone’s been lurking in Asianfanfics for far too long. Shockingly, not every K-pop fanfic out there (or fanfiction in general) isn’t about smut, or concerns same-sex relationships. The tropes that you find disturbing in K-pop fanfiction isn’t unique to it, honestly lots of Western literature have it as well. Fifty Shades of Gray, anyone? Real life people being used as characters for fiction? Please have a look at Western RPF as well.

    Lastly, this piece is just condescending and preachy on K-pop fanfiction in general. Especially this part:

    “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.”

    Shows a lot about your attitude in the first place.

  • CJux

    I have no interest in Real Person Slash (Fanfiction), but some of your assertions made me facepalm so bad, I think I hurt my nose.

    “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?”

    I started masturbating at the age of 12. It’s far more explicit behavior than reading smut Fanfiction online. Please don’t call me disturbing.

    “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”

    You know, real person slash fanficton originated in the Beatles fandom. There was no chocolate abs back then. Stop making Fanfiction a problem product of K-pop, because it isn’t. While fanservice might inspire people to write more, it’s still not the reason why Fanfiction exists in the first place, and fanficiton writing is not dependent on fanservice either.

    “Even more disturbing is that sometimes these stories are being written about underage boys.”

    ….?

    “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”?”

    I get it, you hate fanfiction. Someone wrote about your idols and you found it disgusting. Because for god’s sake, don’t turn harmless sex fantasies into a human rights’ thesis.
    Smut fanfiction is a form of pornography. Just as there is lesbian porn for straight males, there is also slash Fanfiction for straight females (and gay females too, apparently they enjoy it too). And just like there is pornographic movies filmed with celebrity look-a-like actors, there is also Real Person Slash Fanfiction.
    As for homoerotic fanservice and society’s hypocritical treatment of homosexuals, that’s a problem of Korea, not the consumers. It’s fair to say homophobic women who write slash fanfiction are extremely rare.

    “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?”

    Fanfiction writing/reading and saesang culture and two complete different things, and unless you found proof that there is a strong link between the two, don’t make things up. Because I really doubt saesang fans have the time to write and read Fanfiction, since they are too busy stalking their idols 24/7.

    And seriously, what world do you live in? Fangirls exist in every fandom, with or without Fanfiction. I follow a rock group of middle-aged men and they still have crazy underage fangirls in love with the 46 years old vocalist. Think that’s disturbing? Welcome to the real world, Neo.

  • rabidfangirl

    I enjoy reading this although I think you are making a gross generalization of the whole issue.
    Fandom is not solely about sexuality, it is mostly about community, building communities and developing a sense of identity with the object of affection. In that sense, if you care to delve further into the network of community around fan fiction writers and readers you will probably get a whole different perspectives about it.
    Fan fiction communities are related almost inseparably with the (usually) same sex couple pairing fandom which is common in all boybands – not just Kpop. The same sex couple pairing fandom by default is a subversive part of the main fandom in itself and thus there are a lot of rules and regulations are put upon it.
    One thing for sure, the fandom communities do have the external rules and regulations about the propriety that are constantly being negotiated and renewed. In any case, I sometimes even found these rules are pretty restrictive.

  • http://twitter.com/silverukiss Silver

    You make it sound like gay/slash fanfiction is worse than hetero smut fanfiction. Shouldn’t your argument be with whether the stories are too mature, too sexual in nature, not with whether the members are being shipped in a gay relationship? If you were concerned just about the sex in the fics you would have written “Is it not all just glorified porn?” But you didn’t, you wrote “Is it not all just glorified gay porn?” I have actually found that fanfiction on Asianfanfics.net has just as much hetero porn on it as it has gay porn, so why did you feel a need to focus so heavily on the gay part?

    The feeling I got when I read your article is that you think there is too much gay fanfiction being written, which you say is bad for teenagers. That is an issue of whether you believe people being gay is alright or not, and should be seperate from whether you think smut fanfiction should be written or not.

  • Thoughts from a teenager

    This topic’s a few months old but I’d like to put in my thoughts too. I respect people’s opinions whether or not I agree and disagree with them. Personally, I do enjoy reading fanfiction here and there. There are times when you’d wish that whatever you were reading or watching ended differently or a scene turned out differently and so on. For some people, it’s easy to write fanfiction since you already have a base and characters and events to work off of.

    I do feel like you were a bit too… I can’t find the right word. Mean? I think you were too fierce in naming the bad points. Fanfiction isn’t simply to let out sexual frustration, it’s a different medium to express thoughts and ideas. It’s like how people write narratives and poems, both usually have an underlying message but are different in style.

    I agree that it is somewhat disturbing that there are fanfictions of actual people, especially if it contains sexual content. There’s a difference of writing about a character you’ve made up and a real human being. For me, I understand about fantasizing about meeting your favorite idol/singer/actor/etc, but I draw my line at a sexual relationship. I’m sure that many little girls have dreamed that they will be so-and-so’s wife, so I can accept things in that category. But once it goes farther than that, I find many issues with it. It’s awkward for the other person. I mean, it’s someone you don’t know writing about having sex with you. I myself would love to be able to meet and hang out with my favorite idols but essentially, they’re still people you don’t actually know. I’ll stop my rant here. Thanks for reading, I suppose.

  • http://twitter.com/specialkpop SpecialKpop

    A lame article overall. I wrote fics as a 12-year old for anime fandoms, and internet fanfiction-writing wasn’t even a thing as yet. I wrote in notebooks. In my room. You are only aware of it because NOW, the teens post fics on the internet. If they’d still written fics in their books at home, it wouldn’t even bother you because you wouldn’t even know about it.

  • spiralyte

    Your last sentence completely contradicts your entire article. An interesting read.

  • joorinrin

    To begin, I will admit that I have written 18+ fanfiction before whilst being underage. I personally find it quite embarrassing now that I am 20, yet at the same time quite glad. Why? It had enabled me to explore and improve my writing skills. My writing and knowledge of gay sex was somewhat extremely poor back then, hence why I now find it embarrassing. Yet at the same time, because I was so motivated to keep my readers entertained I kept on writing it despite my lacking interest in updating the same fanfic year after year. Also, I eventually found writing gay sex scenes to be quite boring. Fanfiction then became a tool for me to improve my writing skills, and now I would like to refer to my embarrassing fic more as my ‘writing journal’ – a log that shows my journey from being a God-awful immature 15 year old writer to a more sane 20 year old writer.
    So I would argue that fanfiction isn’t merely an outlet for personal fantasies, but also a tool to develop one’s writing skills. We all have to start somewhere.

    Furthermore, it could lead one (who was once clueless about future aspirations) to aspire to become a writer in the future.

    In addition, fanfiction could also be a platform to ‘understand the world’ and broaden the mind. Teenagers can get a grasp on how gay sex works. Fic writers who are specialised/knowledgeable on certain fields, for say the law and how law firms operate, can implement such knowledge into the fics which can then be ‘taught’ to readers. Fanfictions are like books, they hold the potential to teach you things.

    Personally, before I devled into the world of fanfiction, I too found it bizarre to read fantasized scenarios/erotica of people who exist, especially between two people of the same gender. I was far from being interested in fanservices back then. But once I started reading, I enjoyed it. It’s hard to explain why, but perhaps it was because it provided a form of escapism. Just like other forms of media.

    What fanfic writers and readers have to keep in mind is the difference between fantasy and reality. Of course, as a 15 year old I found this hard to grasp at times, and I’m sure a handful of other young and even older readers found it difficult to define as well. But we must also remember that there are readers out there of various ages who can distinguish between the two.

    Yes I would agree with you that it is disturbing to know that underaged fans are writing/consuming such things. However, I would then argue that it does not harmfully impact most people for these are fantasies provided for one’s entertianment. Of course, there would always be a minority that would start to blur the boundaries between fiction and reality. This is something that we cannot control.

    Overall, fanfiction is not entirely bad. Just like other things out there, such as violent games (being accused of encouraging violence), there are bound to be leakages of bad effects that we cannot control.

  • Dawn

    “It is said that fanfiction comprises a shocking one third of all content about books on the Web”

    I didn’t know that! Does anyone have a source / knows where this could be from?

  • Paige Kosa

    What I find so strange about fanfiction with K-Pop is that these are stories about REAL people. I just can’t fathom writing such a story about someone who is living and breathing, and it almost seems disrespectful to create something that puts them in such a role. No, I’m not saying this just about slash fanfiction, but in all fanfiction. Sex is something that is usually very personal, and it should be taken seriously (in my opinion). To take a real person and write about them that way seems very invasive to me.

  • Krisela Hermosura

    Yes, it is disturbing, but eventually young people should know what sex means and what are its possible results. I once tried reading a teen R18 fiction (between opposite sex), it is disturbing. I also saw a JongKey fanfic. I gave up on the first few paragraphs. I mean, I’m a fangirl, I love my biases…and reading a smut fanfic between them is really awkward. Feels like you’ve watched a sex video of someone you know. What more to someone you like or you look up to.
    I’m guessing, parents haven’t really monitor their children that much. I’m not blaming them but…it’s like my younger sister can read as much fanfic as she like without my mom knowing, but she didn’t allowed me when I asked her if I could borrow her 50 Shades book. Okay, I don’t make much sense here..

  • Laura Pastrana

    “fanfiction has become more popular and widespread since the discovery of the Internet”
    Widespread yes, popular, I don’t know. I’m 27 years old, and I wrote my first fanfiction at age 12 or 13. (1998) I wrote it in a notebook. I still have it. I wrote ever since then.

    “In K-pop fanfiction, slash seems to be the most prevalent. Isn’t this troubling once you look at the ages of the authors?”
    Slash has been around for a long while. You kinda make it seem like slash is mainly popular on kpop, but let me tell you, back when I was 15 (2000) and I discovered fanfiction groups, there was PLENTY of slash fiction.

    “sexual fanfictions written by underage fans who really know nothing about sex (and shouldn’t at their age), is disturbing.”
    My first sexual fanfiction was written when I was about 14. It was horrible because my grammar was horrible and yes, I didn’t have any “first had” information on how real sex was like. Yet, it wasn’t disturbing, nor I see why you think it is. As a lot of people have said, teens know and actually SHOULD know about sex. Information will not make them sexual perverts, it wil help them and empower them, having the right information is never a bad thing.

    “Another scenario to consider, underage fans writing stories concerning idols twice their age? That just isn’t right.”
    Why not? Why is it wrong? Because they are twice their age? I wrote fanfiction about guys twice my age (if you are wondering, it was the backstreet boys and savage garden). I admired them (i still kinda do) and since I know I was never gonna meet them in real life, I wrote about it. And people liked it. I bashed on some of the girlfriends, yes, I was a teen and I as jealous, but I only did it on some fanfiction because, well, I needed a bad character for my story. In real life I wasn’t really thinking anything bad about them. Now, I know there are some crazy fans out there who truly hate their idols couples, but I would be more concerned about them, than about teens writing fantasies (sexual or not) of the object of their desire.

    “That just isn’t right. It creates unrealistic fantasies in their heads and given the chance these fans might actually act on it.”
    Now that is absolutely wrong. It does create unrealistic fantasies, but that is what they are: fantasies. Believe it or not, kids do know what is a fantasy and what is real. Specially kids who are writting fanfiction, I can tell because I was one of those. I wrote so many fanfiction is nuts. But they were just that, fantasy, I always knew it was impossible for it to happen, I know I should not act in real life the things I wrote back then. It was a hobby, it was an escape from reality, because yes, I knew there was a reality and that I had to live on it.

    “not immediately have the thought “no impact on the world other than taking out the sexual frustrations of teens and preteens” come to mind.”
    Maybe because they are not frustrations, they are a way of discovery of one self. I never felt sexualy frustrated because I knew I was waaaay young to engage in sex, because I had information and again, I knew the difference between right and wrong, what’s real and not.

    I think you are taking away much credit from the teens. They are not dumb, they are quite clever. Writing a story does not mean you are going to try to make it happen.

    Fanfiction helped me get away from real life when I needed it, because, lets face it, when we are teens we have problems, or at least we think we have them, and writing or reading made me get away to my own little world for a while.
    I’m a writter now. And I can say that writting fanfiction for so many years did helped me, not only by improving my writting skills, but to explore different ways and styles of writting.
    I don’t think fanficion is bad, but what i do feel from this article is a strong reaction against gay and homoerotic things. Which let me tell you, is part of life.

    To sum it up:
    No, kids (for the MOST part) will not engage in the activities written in fanfiction.
    Slash, lemon and every other genre exist from way back in time. Kpop didn’t made it “worst” as you are putting it.
    Teens are not engaging in the behavior, they are writting about it, and again, that does not mean they will do it.
    Fanfiction exist from way before the times of fanservice. We never needed fanservice to write about so and so.
    Companies are exploting it, I give you that one, they are.
    A teen fantasizing on another teen is not creepy, it’s nature. We all had our crush on school. Sometimes older kids, but still kids, so no, I don’t find anything wrong with that.
    And someone already pointed out, they will grow out of it (or keep writting like me, just not the same things) and when they look back at what they wrote when they were teens, they will CRINGE soooo bad. Been there, done that.

    One last thing: about the whole “writting about someone real, someone who is alive”, well, a lot of people seem to forget that stories about real people are not only made on fanfiction, there a bunch of books about real people out there. Novelizations of their lifes, biographys (autorized or not) historical accounts, you name it. And not all of those accounts are actually accurate. People always write about real people, not only teens on fanfiction.

    And finally, yes, I said I was writter, but my first language is spanish, so my apologyes for my sometimes weird english, but I just wanted to give my point of view, from what it was like when I was a kid, and from my 27 year old self.

  • julia valdary

    Yeah I completely agree. It really is just “glorified gay porn”. Like let’s be real, that’s really what it is. And you’re right because the kpop industry does fuel this fire with the themes and concept images in their photo shoots. I don’t understand a lot of it either but I have always thought it was just a difference in the way we see things in the west. I have always blamed it on skinship but what is really the difference between skinship and homosexuality. How is there a way to interpret these things and is there really a difference at all? I feel that their denial of homosexuality is really just an excuse for this skinship to take place. And the skinship seems to appear only among actors, artists and people in the entertainment industry. I don’t think it really appears on the streets of korea.

  • hölönä

    I agree and disagree… kind of? Most of the things I wanted to say have already been said, but I’d like to give my opinion on the “fiction about real people” topic.

    While I basically agree on it being, well, weird for anyone to write fan fiction about real people, I wouldn’t say it’s really as bad as people make it seem.

    First of all, real people have been used in these kinds of writings (and photos and songs etc) for hundreds of years. So it’s not really anything new. Nowadays, of course, there is internet where we can share all these things and find out about all these “characters”. And, obviously, nowadays everyone can actually write rather well.

    Another thing is internet itself. Most of the young people who write these things have probably never actually seen their object of writing. They only know these people through internet; they only get a slice of their personalities, public image. So basically, it’s easy to sculpt these people into what you want them to be, and so on. There’s the distance (especially in kpop fanfics, probably), that makes it feel kind of safe. While one knows their idol, they don’t ‘actually’ know them. And the physical distance can also help. Difficult to explain…

    Finally, in my opinion, it’s just a consequence of stardom. It probably sounds rude, but I think it’s just something one has to take. When you get popular you get fans, your fans are just people and people can be very weird. Especially on internet.

    And while fan fiction is written about real people, I don’t think it really insults anyone’s person. The real people used in fanfiction only act as the basis on which actual characters are created. It’s not realistic.

    The contents of fanfiction is another thing, and I agree with most of you on that.

  • Emma

    My number 1 issue with kpop fanfiction is that it’s about REAL people! It’s straight up creepy! I’ll admit to writing fanfiction, and I have no problems admitting that (Harry Potter fics all the way!) because it’s a great way to develop writing skills, but I do find some fics disturbing.

    I agree with a lot of the comments about how teenagers DO need to know about sex, whether or not they should be writing porn (and some of it is pretty hardcore) is another matter. What I would REALLY love to see is for fanfiction writers from ALL fandoms to stop using rape as a plot device.

    On a side note, I’d like to mention about the OTPs mentioned in this article. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I totally agree! I’m so sick of going on tumblr and seeing photoshopped images of someone’s kpop OTP naked together with captions along the lines of “just f*** already”. It’s seriously disturbing to me that there are fans out there that think this is ok. I have my fave ‘pairings’, I’ll admit, but I love them for their FRIENDSHIP, for their brotherly bond and the fact that (unlike most men I know) they’re not afraid to show that they love their band mates.

  • MoMo

    I think one of things about that fanfiction that is so interesting is that it’s a type of creative and imaginative output (be it rated-M or not). I write fanfic, but it’s a harmless pass time for me, and it’s helped me develop writing skills. One of the reasons why people use real people in their novels is that they don’t have to create a character, and in doing so, it’s a huge springboard into writing a story. You’ve got all these people who are so influential in your life (of a fangirl), and as a write all you’ve got to do is connect them together. Lots of fanfics are mainly scenarios in which people imagine, “If this person was put in a situation like this, what would happen?” and then the writer becomes creative and writes sometimes the deepest things or the craziest (in a good way) things! Although you put it in a very strong perspective that using a real person is disrespectful, and to a certain degree I agree with you, I want to defend that in a way, these people also inspire some type of creativity. “Based on a true story” gives an homage to a real event that happened and let’s people be aware of the real world. While fanfics somewhat based on a person, I think would it’s just a form to say, “Hey, your personality/behaviors/attitude/interactions with others inspired me to write this.” Taken to an extreme, it does become somewhat disturbing, but I think that’s how most things are if you’re not being responsible or mature about it.

  • Purplicious

    I may have joined this discussion long overdue, and others have pointed out valid points such as your emphasis on “gay” fiction and the sexual health of minors, but I see that other commentators missed out on another point that has been the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court case.

    While one might put forth an argument that a case decided by the U.S. which may not necessarily be applicable in other countries due to different laws and constitution (and where the fanfiction website is based), it sets a benchmark for us to refer to when we study cases on Real People fiction.

    In the case of Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the plaintiff (Hustler Magazine) for a parody advertisement for alcohol. In making the decision, the court recognises the freedom of free speech and the fictional parody of famous persons as long as the subject of the issue at hand is not “obscene”.

    If one has perused online fictional communities such as literotica, one would notice the disclaimer they have written under their Celebrities tag: No harm is intended toward the celebrities featured in these stories, but they are public figured and in being so, they must accept that they are fair target for parodies by the public.

    If we were to embrace this issue and look at it with an open perspective (using this case decided in the U.S. and forgo each country’s sovereign restrictions), I hope we can agree that Kpop idols, especially in the eyes of young fans, are very much the epitome of “public figures”. It is not unreasonable for them to write out their sexual fantasies of their idols, their “oppas” whose pervasive and ubiquitous presence are an influence on their lifestyle, and for wanting to share their works with a like-minded community.

    Literature is a work of art that should be accepted with an open and critical mind. While some of us find selective topics abhorrent to our ideals, (especially in the case of young writers who are still not aware of the distinction between consensual and non-consensual sex, or more specifically, how to write non-consensual rape scenes to reverberate with readers on the seriousness of rape), we should not discourage and condemn their desire to write.

    Instead, we can educate these impressionable writers on the clear distinction between taboo and indecorous issues, and how they can better toe the line in order to encourage their readers to interpret the story their way and provide constructive discourse on the emotional turmoil their characters are going through.

  • StarfishieT

    What is with the special emphasis on gay sex ? I am a supporter of LGBT rights and find this to be troubling.

    Regarding the article itself, I think sexually explicit fan fiction serves mainly as a means for adolescents to explore sexuality, and thus they choose something/someone that arouses them and triggers imagination. Hence I don’t think teens should be ‘protected’ but encouraged to explore. Kids will find out about sex sooner or later after all. It’s completely natural.

    On the other hand, I do think that all fan fiction written about
    existing people is reducing said people to one-dimensional characters,
    which only contributes to the fetishization of both Korean men and women. Then again we cannot be sure that the personality most artists present themselves with on tv shows and in narrative music videos is genuine; we have a vague idea of how strict and controlling agencies can be . So in a way, the artists (are forced to) reduce themselves to characters.
    .

    I think this is also part of a deeper-rooted issue that does not exist in Korea alone but in every society ; female sexuality is often trivialized , and girls and women are still cast into roles that make them the passive object to a man’s gaze . Think about it; when a man has had many sexual encounters he is considered brooding and experienced, but apply the same thing to a girl and she will be called a slut. I think the whole Hallyu phenomenon has a hand in this, as I have seen enough dramas in which the (obscenely rich chaebol heir) main love interest is horribly abusive (mostly verbally) toward the innocent poor girl, and the moment he kisses her and/or tells her about his tragic past (or she finds out about it) it is ok that he continues to treat her like trash in public because he’s hot . Plus , the guy usually grows frustrated at the girl’s apparent inability to recognize or take seriously his romantic advances , causing him to abuse her even more until she finally gives in. I mean, what kind of skewed logic is this ?? It is this logic that carries over to fan fiction as wel as a number of other fandom expressions and the general self- worth of females. This assuming that most fan fiction is written by women.

  • Dude McGuy

    Like you, I do not agree with Kpop fanfiction but for different reasons.
    It is more the fact that homoerotic stories are being written about REAL PEOPLE who are not actually in a sexual relationship that disturbs me. How would you like it if someone wrote a sexual story about you and your friend? I’m all for fanfiction involving FICTIONAL characters, as long as the creator of the original work is okay with it. But fiction involving real people is kind of creepy, not to mention in many cases the subjects of the fiction are not pleased.

  • V Mateo

    It’s funny cus’ I used to write fanfics back when I was a hardcore HP fan – in my early teens – however they were not as exceedingly salacious as the ones that I’ve bumped into in the Kpop world/fandom but still quite sexually-inclined. Now I’m in my mid 20′s but keep in mind that teens will forever be overly sexual no matter what they’re exposed to. Sex is no longer kept “subliminal” these days.

  • Fxluvforever

    I think the important thing to remember when reading fan fiction is that it’s fiction; it’s not real. The characters in the story are not really the idols, they just take on some of their characteristics (sometimes not even that, depending on the writer and genre). If a person can keep that distinction, I believe fanfiction is relatively harmless. But those who are young and are writing “nc17″, bleh. They usually don’t realize it, but it’s extremely obvious that they don’t have a clue about what they’re writing.