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Yaoi Fan
Yaoi Fan

Yaoi fandom refers to readers of yaoi (also called BL or shōnen-ai), a genre of male-male romance narratives aimed at a female audience, and more specifically those who participate in communal activities organized around yaoi, such as attending conventions, maintaining or posting to fansites, creating fanfiction or fanart, etc.

Most yaoi fans are either teenage girls or young women. The female readership in Thailand is estimated at 80%,
and the membership of Yaoi-Con, a yaoi convention in San Francisco, is 85% female. It is usually assumed that all of these are heterosexual, but there is also a presence of lesbian manga authors and lesbian, bisexual or questioning female readers.Recent online surveys of English-speaking readers of yaoi indicate that only 50-60% of female readers self-identify as heterosexual. It has been suggested that Western fans may be more diverse in their sexual orientation than Japanese fans and that Western fans are "more likely to link" BL ("Boy's Love") to supporting gay rights.

Although the genre is marketed at women and girls, gay, bisexual and straight males also form part of the readership. In one U.S. survey of yaoi fans, about one quarter of respondents were male; other online surveys of Anglophone readers place this percentage at about 10%. That is not to say that the majority of homosexual men are fans of the genre, as some are put off by the feminine art style or unrealistic depictions of homosexual life and instead seek "Gei comi" (Gay comics), manga written by and for homosexual men, as gei comi is perceived to be more realistic. Lunsing notes that some of the narrative annoyances that homosexual men express about yaoi manga, such as rape, misogyny, and an absence of a Western-style gay identity, are also present in gei comi. Some male mangaka have produced yaoi works, using their successes in yaoi to then go on to publish gei comi.

In the mid-1990s, estimates of the size of the Japanese yaoi fandom were at 100,000-500,000 people; at around that time, the long-running yaoi anthology June had a circulation of between 80,000 and 100,000, twice the circulation of the "best-selling" gay lifestyle magazine Badi. Most Western yaoi fansites "appeared some years later than pages and lists devoted to mainstream anime and manga". As of 1995, they "revolved around the most famous series", such as Ai no Kusabi and Zetsuai 1989; and by the late 1990s, English-speaking websites mentioning yaoi "reached the hundreds". As of 2003, on Japanese-language internet sites, there were roughly equal proportions of sites dedicated to yaoi as there were sites by and for gay men about homosexuality. On 16 November 2003 there were 770,000 yaoi websites. As of April 2005, a search for non-Japanese sites resulted in 785,000 English, 49,000 Spanish, 22,400 Korean, 11,900 Italian and 6,900 Chinese sites. In January 2007, there were approximately five million hits for 'yaoi'.

Thorn noted that fans tend to prefer BL to non-BL shōjo manga, and Suzuki noted a preference for BL over other forms of pornography, for example heterosexual love stories in ladies' comics. Deborah Shamoon said that "the borders between yaoi, shōjo manga and ladies' comics are quite permeable", suggesting that fans of BL probably enjoyed both homosexual and heterosexual tales. Kazuma Kodaka, in an interview with Giant Robot suggested that the Japanese yaoi fandom includes married women who had been her fans since they were in college. Dru Pagliassotti's survey indicates that loyalty to an author is a common factor in readers' purchase decisions. Yōka Nitta has noted a split in what her readers want - her younger readers prefer seeing explicit material, and her older readers prefer seeing romance. There is a perception that the English-speaking yaoi fandom is demanding increasingly explicit content, but that this poses problems for retailers. In 2004, ICv2 noted that fans seemed to prefer buying yaoi online. Andrea Wood suggests that due to restrictions placed on the sale of yaoi, many Western teenage fans seek more explicit titles via scanlations. Dru Pagliassotti notes that the majority of respondants to her survey say that they first encountered BL online, which she links to half of her respondants reporting that they get most of their BL from scanlations.

Besides commercially-published original material, Japanese yaoi also encompasses fan-made doujinshi, fanart, computer games, etc; a large percentage of the doujinshi offered at Comiket are yaoi stories based on popular anime and manga series. This may be seen as a parallel development to slash fiction in the West. Although shojo manga stories featuring romances between boys or young men were commercially published in Japan from the mid-1970's, and soon became a genre in their own right, the spread of yaoi though the Western fan community is generally linked to the pre-existing Western slash fiction community. In the mid-1980s, fan translations of the shojo manga series From Eroica with Love began to circulate through the slash community via amateur press associations, creating a "tenuous link" between slash and yaoi. Although the English-speaking online yaoi fandom is observed to increasingly overlap with online slash fandom, slash fiction has portrayed adult males, whereas yaoi follows the aesthetic of the beautiful boy, often highlighting their youth. Mark McLelland describes this aesthetic as having become problematic in recent Western society. Yaoi fans tend to be younger than slash fans, and so are less shocked about depictions of underage sexuality.

Musically, Yaoi Fans tend to like songs that have some 'gay' undertone, or remind them of a yaoi couple. Or theme tunes from a yaoi anime. Or anything where they can slash the band members. (This includes An Cafe, Green Day, and Tokio Hotel. Yes.)

They will wear shirts with yaoi-related slogans on them, such as boys on boys = love, with jeans, skirts, or slacks. Some yaoi fans carry 'yaoi paddles' to hit people with, esspecially at yaoi-specific anime conventions, such as yaoicon.

Info (except the last paragraph, which is mine) from wikipedia. Art found on photobucket.

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