The Collective Construction of Romantic Narratives Among Chinese Real Person Slash Fandom Communities

Conference: The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies (ACCS2022)
Title: The Collective Construction of Romantic Narratives Among Chinese Real Person Slash Fandom Communities
Stream: Cultural Studies
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Dongni Huang, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China


In the age of digital media, real person slash (RPS) culture has been booming in recent years. Terms such as coupling, the fan economy, danmei, idol industries have been used frequently in Chinese mainstream media and thus attract academic attention from interdisciplinary perspectives. Although Chinese RPS culture shaped by Western slash culture and Japanese danmei culture is regarded as a subculture, its flourishment significantly influences the collective practices performed by online fandom communities. As part of a seven-month online auto-ethnographic study about an online RPS fan community formed on the Chinese Douban platform, this paper investigated how these fans performed slash practices to collectively construct the romantic narratives of two male stars and consolidate their queer imagination. As an aca-fan in this fandom community, I provided detailed insights about this dynamic transmedia process unfolded across multiple platforms. Unlike traditional real person transformative works in the form of fiction, these fans collectively uncovered evidence-based romantic stories within the community that served as the “original work” for further slash works creation. During this process, these predominantly young straight female fans also deconstructed the heteropatriarchal gender norm through female gaze and destroyed the dominant idol-fans power relation in Chinese entertainment industries. The empirical findings of this paper shed light on the current flourishing fandom culture in the context of convergence media in mainland China.

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