K-pop Fanfiction: The Disturbing Truth

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News Media Commentary
Title: K-pop Fanfiction: The Disturbing Truth
Commentator: Eileen
Date(s): February 11, 2013
Venue: Beyond Hallyu
Fandom: K-Pop
External Links: http://beyondhallyu.com/k-pop/kpop-fanfiction-the-disturbing-truth/
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K-pop Fanfiction: The Disturbing Truth is an article posted on "Beyond Hallyu", a UK website about South Korean culture.


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.

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?


The article has 40 comments, some agreeing, some critical.

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.
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.
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.