Forbidden love: incest, generational conflict, and the erotics of power in Chinese BL fiction
This article focuses on father–son incest stories, a distinct subgenre of Chinese Boys' Love (BL) fiction, to examine the cultural and political implications of BL in China. We start with an overview of the development of BL fiction in China, followed by a discussion of some representative texts. Situating our textual analysis within the context of traditional Confucian ethics and contemporary Chinese society, we argue that father–son stories showcase a feminine attempt to re-order the power structure in the family by means of eros. Since the family is conflated with the state in Chinese social organization, the restructuring at the family level will have significant political consequences. We conclude that BL is not only ‘better than romance’ but also more than romance. It is, first of all, an inclusive and powerful mental tool that enables Chinese youth, both male and female, to think out of the box.