Chinese women crave Tanbi lit
Updated: 2014-06-25 07:03
By Sun Ye (China Daily)
Cards feature tanbi-themed paintings. [Photo by Wei Xiaohao / China Daily]
According to Ducky, another seasoned reader of 10 years, who will only reveal the name she uses online, "I'm an independent woman, I get to make my own decisions in work as well as in life." She says she prefers stories where both members of the couple are standing on their own two feet and fighting for what they want in love.
"However, we still like alpha males better," she says. "When there are two of them, there is the tension we want. Especially now that boys are becoming feminine and girls have somehow turned aggressive."
In the strong male characters, the female readers find their most desired kind of romance.
"I believe tanbi describes the purest kind of love," says Jodie Cheng, who first discovered tanbi when looking for news of her idols, the Korean pop group Super Junior, in 2010. In a fictional account, written by tanbi fans, band members become lovers.
"But as long as a story has a modicum of realism, two men together means trouble, and giving up everything for love," Cheng says. "That's rare in our real life, therefore, we look for it."
With the rise of Sina Weibo and Wechat, two major instant messaging platforms in China, tanbi is no longer the cult genre it was a decade ago. There has been a growing number of girls, or fojoshi (a Japanese term for girls who endorse male homosexual love), who have started to write fan fiction that moves tanbi into the world of mainstream literature.
A recent work pairs two X-men, Magneto and Professor X, powerful opponents who care about each other, at least in the Hollywood megahit X-Men: Days of Future Past.
"There are so many fojoshi that it's almost a selling point now," Yang, the researcher says.
"But whatever the girls are attracted to, they are after the true, good, beautiful human feelings that have always been at the center of literature."