Thomas BaudinetteJan 16, 2024
Boys Love Media in Thailand
Celebrity, Fans, and Transnational Asian Queer Popular Culture
Thomas Baudinette's Boys Love Media in Thailand: Celebrity, Fans, and Transnational Asian Queer Popular Culture (Bloomsbury, 2023) explores the contours of fandom, and in particular the mainstreaming of queer romance, not only in Thailand but in the Philippines and also Japan. Topics include the Japanese origins of the Boys Love trope, the Thai Boys Love series, the audiences the series has found in Thailand and elsewhere. This podcast is also hosted by the New Books Network, and will focus on the significance of this genre for our understanding of Thailand.
Over the past several years, the Thai popular culture landscape has radically transformed due to the emergence of “Boys Love” (BL) soap operas which celebrate the love between handsome young men. Boys Love Media in Thailand is the first book length study of this increasingly significant transnational pop culture phenomenon. Drawing upon six years of ethnographic research, the book reveals BL's impacts on depictions of same-sex desire in Thai media culture and the resultant mainstreaming of queer romance through new forms of celebrity and participatory fandom.
The author explores how the rise of BL has transformed contemporary Thai consumer culture, leading to heterosexual female fans of male celebrities who perform homoeroticism becoming the main audience to whom Thai pop culture is geared. Through the case study of BL, this book thus also investigates how Thai media is responding to broader regional trends across Asia where the economic potentials of female and queer fans are becoming increasingly important. Baudinette ultimately argues that the center of queer cultural production in Asia has shifted from Japan to Thailand, investigating both the growing international fandom of Thailand's BL series as well as the influence of international investment into the development of these media. The book particularly focuses on specific case studies of the fandom for Thai BL celebrity couples in Thailand, China, the Philippines, and Japan to explore how BL series have transformed each of these national contexts' queer consumer cultures.
Professor Michele Ford is the Director of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, a university-wide multidisciplinary center at the University of Sydney, Australia.