Rotten use patterns: What entertainment theories can do for the study of boys' love
Focusing on the often neglected individual modes of consumption and ascriptions of meaning, I propose a theoretical and conceptual framework for the analysis of the diversity of the use and appropriation of the boys' love (BL) genre. Within the framework of theories of media gratification, I bring together key elements of BL fandom, such as playing with masculinities, and central concepts of entertainment research. To assess these concepts' appropriateness and to do justice to the transnational phenomenon that BL has become, I also consider qualitative interviews conducted in Japan and Germany. The gratifications sought and gained by BL fans (fujoshi and fudanshi, rotten girls and boys) vary, including the physiological (arousal), the social (exchange, belonging), the cognitive (parasocial interaction), and the aesthetic (immersion). My empirical findings highlight the diversity of BL use, while my conceptual framework additionally works as a reference for a comparison of these use patterns and other media preferences as well as global trends of media consumption.
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