Reading the Rotten: A Textual Analysis of Chinese Danmei and Dan’gai
The concerns and questions in this paper are predicated on what havehappened during the past three years in the field of Chinese danmei culture. I notice that, on the one hand, the state is cracking down on danmei fans’ erotic writing by punishing creators who produce “yinhui” works and depriving them of or imposing stringent censorship on media platforms where danmei fans share their works; on the other hand, the banned danmei dramas adapted from popular original novels are adjusted into “dan’gai dramas” to reenter the mainstream market and in this tends, several works have received huge commercial success. Juxtaposing these two phenomena, I divided the paper into two chapters to analyze two groups of texts – the danmei erotica which are criminalized or stigmatized by the discourse of “yinhui seqing” and the adapted dan’gai drama and its original novel which are permitted and consumed in the market. By closely reading these texts and examining how they interact with media theory, gender/queer theory, and literary criticism, I indicate the disruptive and subversive potential of danmei culture and unpack multiple contesting forces in this field to show the complexity, possibilities, and predicaments of danmei.
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