The picture above is one of my favorite pieces of all time by the incredible fan artist, Kaye, on Tumblr, so you can guess what this post is going to be about. I was thinking the other day about creative expression and how Kpop fans have transformed their love of their idols into art and writing and I wanted to talk a little bit about each medium. I think there are some blurred lines about what is and isn’t acceptable in fan art and fan fiction and I think, as fans, it’s important we discuss it so we can work together to better our community.

Fan Art

I have fan artists I would go to war for, but I think that’s common. It’s easy to appreciate art because you can see the love the fan has for the idol in the time they spent crafting something beautiful. Portrait pieces of idols in watercolors and sketches of them in airport looks abound on both Twitter and Tumblr and fan artist accounts nearly always have a huge following.

However, there is always a line to toe. Fan artists can take liberties with an idol’s sexuality–as in the case with “ship” drawings–and they can get very loose with an idol’s skin tone. I’m thinking in particular of BTS, but this happens with many groups. You’ll be browsing fan artists and see two idols in the same group drawn in an intimate position or drawn deep brown just because they’re a little tan in real life.

On the one hand, I understand art is subjective thing and you can’t control people’s interpretations of their idols. On the other hand, I think it boils down to respect. Yes, this is your art, but it’s also a representation of an actual human being. You have to think about the implications of drawing a real life person having sex with another group member or drawing your idol unrealistically dark just as a way to distinguish them.

Fan Fiction

The same can be said of fan fiction. I’m a writer. I write fan fiction. I think it’s a valid expression of one’s love for one’s idol in the same way art is. You can take someone you admire and put them into a creative space that you’ve created. You can live out fantasies you dream of like turning your favorite Kpop group into a coven of witches or royal families feuding.

But I understand the trepidation with fan fiction as well. Smut can be just as bad as R-rated fan art and it can be a little jarring for those just looking for some sweet reader x idol fics to pass the afternoon.

So where do you draw the line?

Final Thoughts

I think as with all things it’s a case by case situation. I don’t want to ban all R-rated art and smut because I can’t pretend I don’t admire some well-drawn piece or well-written fics. However, I think both mediums should be used for what they’re intended: to celebrate our idols. The second we start to think to ourselves “This might make my idol uncomfortable” is the second you might want to step away. Because whether we like it or not, the stuff we put out on the internet can reach our faves one way or another. So if it’s not something that makes you–and would make your fave–proud, maybe just keep it to yourself.

What do you all think about fan art and fan fiction? I know some people ban all fan fiction across the board but love fan art while some don’t deal with either. I’d love to hear your thoughts!


  1. Good questions! I don’t have a black and white answer.

    As for fan art, I haven’t really seen a lot of the r-rated ones. I have seen some shipping ones (i.e. vkook) while I was looking for cute cartoon v with jungkook drawings. You know, of them as little kids being playful because my daughter likes the cute and clean ones. And that’s a whole different topic there – shipping. I don’t like to ship real life people myself. I am very open and liberal – if they are gay, great. If not, great. Single? Great. Not single? Great. I don’t care – if they are happy then I am happy for them. But at the end of the day, it’s none of my business and does not weigh heavily on my life. I have seen beautiful portraits drawn by fans of their fave idols and I think they are wonderful. The smut ones? I don’t know – they don’t do anything for me and I would think any normal human out there, including idols, would be uncomfortable seeing themselves drawn that way without their consent and displayed out in public.

    As for fan fics – I love reading and I love writing as well. I would never put a smut fic using real people’s names and images out in public though. But i would be lying if I said I never read any. Of the ones I liked actually are not focused on smut. Maybe smut isn’t even the right word but just mature content? I don’t like smut for the sake of smut. Boring. In general, I think the genre of erotica is actually a very healthy way to express one’s fantasies and sexual desires. And as a woman, I think it’s very healthy for us to empower our sexuality. Because the internet is filled with porn. But porn geared towards men and in reality, doesn’t do anything for women and what we actually want.

    I’m getting off topic though. As far as fan fics on idols I think romantic ones with hints of sexual content isn’t so bad. But maybe I’m wrong? Maybe they would still be uncomfortable? I don’t know. I wouldn’t if it was about myself and it was done tastefully. It’s when there’s some hardcore stuff that would make an idol possibly uncomfortable. I am on the fence about this – it seems to be part of the fandom and while diving deep in the whole kpop and fandom psyche, I sort of get why people need to get into these fan fics.

    When I look at anyone from BTS off stage and just being themselves for example, they seem like any normal human being – smart, polite, dorky, shy, awkward, happy, etc. When they get on that stage though and turn on their performing persona, they do a 180. Take Jungkook. He is not my bias. But when he performs he’s a different person and he oozes what sometimes seems to be like a sexual bad boy appearance. And that transforms into many of these fan fics. It’s actually annoying because there seems to be a LOT of JK fan fics out there. And some of them I wonder about because they were written before he was of legal age!!! That’s a whole different topic as well as… I think underage idols need to be treated as such. Under. Aged.

    I don’t know if I’m making any sense because I’m still trying to figure it all out.

    Do fans then need to write these fan fics (or need to read them if they themselves do not have the talent for writing) as a way of dealing with this constant duality? I’m not at all saying this is an excuse but it’s something that just wonder about (I majored in psych and sociology so this stuff always makes me wonder). Is this a healthy or unhealthy way of people dealing with this ‘confusion’? Is it healthier to have this type of outlet instead of getting into obsessive and maybe even stalker like behavior? Would it be better to put a lot of disclaimer up on a start screen to their website?

    Liked by 2 people

      • Absolutely – talking is important about such things! I am having trouble with some of the double-standards towards female kpop stars. I’m debating whether to post something about it… still doing a bit of research and getting my thoughts straightened out.

        Liked by 2 people

    • you’re not wrong. i think expressing that sexuality in stories helps all the parties, because it gives you an outlet. otherwise… you’re right. something worse, like a stalker could emerge. that i think would cause more problem for BTS than just some fanfic someone wrote…

      you’re not wrong about underage artists. people need to have more dang respect in this world! damn it!

      i’m not saying people NEED these fanfics, but i think they’re useful… because damn. kpop artists must be literally trained to act the way they do when they’re performing. LIKE PERFECT FUCKING ANGELS! i think there are more ways to deal with it than smutty fanfics, but maybe you’re right. maybe new fans should be warned that they are about to step into a sticky mess. and yes, dealing with all of it is confusing. everyone has different ways of dealing with it.

      but as long as they don’t deal with it in ways that are pedophilia or hurts ARMYs and BTS themselves, then they are free and accepted to deal with it and express it any way they choose. that is opinion. 🙂 and don’t feel bad about posting a long comment… your words are appreciated.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks, Swinging on a Star – It’s been an interesting discussion! I also started to just learn (or put together, really) the whole “boyfriend” experience kpop idols work on in order to appease their fan base. I watched YouTube videos of fan meets, for example, and just the basic interaction of how the idols talk to their fans as a whole while on stage during a performance, during an interview, on V Live, etc. Tied with the dating ban from many of the kpop entertainment companies, or at least the notion of ‘Want a career in this industry? Then don’t date’ advice which appears to be taken extremely seriously.

        I think the combination of that type of pressure on idols has created, and yes, I’m going to say it, sometimes what I deem as unhealthy mind sets for some of the more fanatical fans. For the non-fanatical fans, even the release of fan fics is perhaps driven by this ‘boyfriend’ experience that is a huge part of the success of kpop idols. It sets the stage for imaginations to run wild. Then add the duality of their on-stage/off-stage personas… it’s quite a mind-bender for sure.

        Some fan fics go too far. I’ve read some where I just can’t continue on wards and stop immediately as the graphic content is just way too much for me to handle. I’m not a prude by any means but too far, is too far. (My personal taste is more like a romantic comedy – a bit of angst, a bit of fluff and some good humor thrown into the mix; actually a lot of humor!)

        In somewhat of a conclusion here, perhaps the industry needs to take a serious look at the type of pressure they place on kpop idols (for more reason then just what we’re discussing here unfortunately). And fans also need to take responsibility as well for setting some type of balance. The unhealthy, unstable mind set of some of the fanatical fans who come to believe the boyfriend experience is real to the point where they feel it’s okay to be degrading in some of the public fan fics/art, or feel an apology is required by idols who are in the midst of some type of dating scandal (true or not), to me, is a bit too much and unfair.

        Anyway – that’s how I’m tying in everything for my own sanity. Kpop culture is so big – it’s somewhat overwhelming at first for newbies which I was not long ago! And as a parent of a kpop fan, it’s really good to understand this sub-culture! I’m glad to have this discussion with you guys – it helps me think things through before I discuss it with my daughter. Thanks! 🙂 Peace!

        Liked by 2 people

      • i fucking hate how fans treat kpop artists with the whole “boyfriend” thing. i don’t think it’s fair to them! it’s almost like to the fans think the artists are their slaves, and only have to please them and do whatever makes THEM happy!!! it frustrates me to no end.

        and yes… i think that it DOES make the fans have more freedom to make these wild (and YES, sometimes just unbearable) fanfics about the aritists in question.

        i understand one element of “not dating” for artists, though, which is that having a GF/BF can be distracting or time-consuming for artists, who need most of their time to develope their trade, write new songs, record them, and make MVs and learn new dance routines. so partly… the managers are smart to make that rule, but in that other area… you’re right. it’s not healthy for the artists… and honestly, it encourages fans to be less healthy also. it’s truly annoying, and sometimes downright disgusting.

        yes it’s been fun and interesting to talk about this with you. i appreciate the time to talk about it. it’s always good to get these thoughts out and talk them through with other people. so yeah… thanks! peace to u too! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeesh – Sorry for the poor grammar and my last comment! I hate doing it from my phone. I’m a classic typist. Keyboard, please. Anyway, I just re-read that recommended fanfic and was just killing myself. What I loved most – the members sit around theorizing why their fans SHIP them. It’s pretty much the same theories I came up with.


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