On Veteran Fan Posturing & Its Effects
Originally published with
I want to make clear that I don’t mention how long I’ve been a fujoshi or bygone days of certain online BL fan communities to brag or gatekeep. In many ways, I feel the need to constantly lay out my bonafides because the gatekeeping tendencies and implicit messages of exclusivity amongst veteran fujoshi when I stepped on the scene in the late aughts are a bigger part of the reason than I want to admit that I never graduated from forum lurker to forum poster back in the day.
My “thing” nowadays is being an outwardly confident, mildly bitchy, domme-ish chick, so the levels to which I was publicly insecure and openly ashamed of myself when I was bb fujoshi really hurts my brand today. That being said, it’s important to be honest about the ways in which fan posturing can render fandom “leaders” unapproachable and make participation intimidating for newcomers because the effect that shit has weakens the entire community. I mean, I get a little nervous even calling myself a veteran fan on this blog because I don’t feel like I have the knowledge and BDE that prominent fujoshi (gatekeepy or not) had when I was a newcomer.
Veteran fujoshi in my memory have insane BL collections, get hit after hit on their blogs if they run one, and often flex their literacy or fluency in Japanese or Chinese. Honestly, this is probably why I think I’m doing the Lord’s work today when I confess I don’t know jack shit about Japanese language or culture... that’s something that you had to hide a ways back, or I least I thought it was better if you did!
I only landed on the veteran descriptor because when I made my valiant return to BL, I discovered that many of the websites I used to access scanlations are donezo, some of the titles on my BL masterlist [under revision, no link for now] are literally only accessible on the damn Internet Archive, and by and large I have no fucking clue what the girlies are talking about on a BL-focused subreddit for which I used to be a moderator. So, it’s more something I call myself because I feel out of the loop and unsure of how to re-insert myself into fan communities than a self-compliment signaling my authority.
So, why do I still constantly yammer on about my decade-plus love affair with BL? While part of it is that knee-jerk reaction to lay out my bonafides, I do also have a desire for fandom friends who share memories of the era when I was first active as a fujoshi, even if they remember the things I talk about entirely differently.
I was spoiled during my first period of BL obsession--my sister was into BL and two girls in my high school anime club were as well. For that reason, I didn’t need to rely on online communities because I was getting my fandom fix IRL... and I really miss that. I still have very supportive IRL friends who read this blog and I’m so grateful for that, but it would be nice if I felt less like I was forcing them to learn about my hobbies because I lack fandom friends.
In the grand scheme, I genuinely don’t care if you’ve been into BL since I was born or only since yesterday; I want to connect with all kinds of fans of BL media. But I have to admit a lot of online spaces seem to skew rather young or immature (according to my judgmental self). It’s very much fujoshi in that “kya kya” fan stage and I’m so not there anymore. And that’s not to say that I think it’s anyone’s right to insist that those fans be fans in a more “mature” way; while it was a “stage” in fan expression for me, it might be someone else’s fan expression forever--and that’s okay!
Basically, I have intense anxiety over spoiling other people’s fun with myself, so idfk, if there are any early to mid-90s baby BL fans out there who became overly intellectualizing in their 20s, please take this post as my formal request that you be my internet friend and/or penpal.
Update: Please note that while I would still love more and more BL friends, I have to give shout out to my BL bestie, Raf, who I met shortly after writing my original post. All hail FujoCon 2020 for bringing tons of fujos together!
Last updated: 2022-04-23