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Thai BL (Boys’ Love) television shows have been incredibly well-liked recently, not just in Thailand but also all over the world. The genre has a devoted following that excitedly anticipates new releases and actively interacts with the content on social media. The genre often depicts romantic interactions between two male characters.

One reason Thai Boy Love series are popular is their ability to provide a fresh and unique perspective on romantic relationships, especially for viewers who have never seen LGBTQ+ representation in media before. Another factor that contributes to the success of Thai Boy Love series is the shows’ global appeal, which is often available with subtitles in multiple languages. This has contributed to the genre’s strong and dedicated international fan base, with fans organizing events and creating online communities to discuss and share their love for Thai Boy Love series.

However, the show does not end there because there is fan service. It means that actors who play a couple on screen are expected to continue acting as a couple even outside of the series and their roles. If they are truly in love, the fantasy or speculation is meant to be kept alive for the fans even when the film cameras are not rolling.

Fan service is typically displayed on stage at fan events and fan meets, during interviews, in posts and comments on social media, and essentially anytime a camera of any type is pointed at them, they are around the press or their fans, or both. When asked, couples who are fans of each other tend to make sweet remarks about one another or declare their mutual attraction as well as give vague answers to questions about their relationship.

The term “skinship,” which refers to close physical contact that is not sexual in nature and is typically exclusively seen between couples, is also an aspect of fan service. Nonetheless, on occasion, actors will engage in sexual activity in front of their fans, such as kissing or making out.

Why do actors have to do fan service? – because there is a culture among fans called “shipping” which means to take an interest in or hope for a romantic relationship between including fictional characters or famous people, whether or not the romance actually exists.

In this way, Boy Love series are advertised. There is a lot of fanservice between the ships and the fans in the more popular series. The Boy Love industry promotes these ships in order to increase audience interest and engagement with the plot, cast, and the company.

Many people see this activity as exploitation of the LGBTQ+ community. As the majority of the actors are straight, they don’t even bother to learn about or comprehend the community, and, what’s worse, some of them are homophobic (making homophobic jokes, acting in disgust on gay men and transexual women, etc.) Even if they are using LGBTQ+ people’s identity to work.

There are some concerns and criticisms that have been raised about the industry and its treatment of LGBTQ+ themes and characters. One worry is that the business sector might be profiting off the popularity of LGBTQ+ media without necessarily being dedicated to advancing positive visibility and representation for LGBTQ+ persons. Some critics contend that rather than attempting to dispel these myths and advance more varied and accurate portrayals, the industry may be fostering negative tropes and prejudices about LGBTQ+ individuals.

Additionally, there are concerns that the industry may be exploiting the enthusiasm and support of LGBTQ+ fans, without necessarily taking concrete steps to support and uplift the LGBTQ+ community. For example, some critics argue that the industry may be content to simply produce LGBTQ+ content for profit, without necessarily supporting LGBTQ+ causes or advocating for LGBTQ+ rights.

Many actors and people involved in the Thai Boy Love industry, including their fans, are silent and disregard the issue while the Thai people fight to make the equal marriage law (which is directly affect the lives of LGBTQ+ people) accepted and to spread knowledge about it.

Another negative effect of excessive fanservice is that since couples are the focus of promotion, actors are forced to remain with their partner for the rest of time. Fans have frequently bashed real-life partners of actors for standing in the way of their fictitious partners’ love. When they enter this field, they are helpless because people will always associate them with the actor from Series Y who had his (false) lover. Although it may seem difficult to believe, many Boy Love fans lack critical thinking skills. Fans believe that the actors’ love is genuine despite the fact that they are merely performing and are unable to tell the difference between the two. Sometimes, fans take as the “proof” of their relationship are photos and videos usually taken and uploaded without their consent on social media which is also against the right to privacy.

Actors doing fan service is also like lying to their fans. By acting like you might be romantically interested in a person, when you really are not, is very strange. I truly believe fans would be less disappointed if Boy Love ships “breakup“, if it was very clear since the beginning that they are simply colleagues who work together for one project.

The Boy Love shows where the actors play roles that are also deeply sexualized (there are even actors who are still minors and that is creepy) and then expected to stick to a level of skinship that is merely suggestive is also the result of a kind of culture clash.

In many situations, what they are expected to do as a Boy Love pair would be inappropriate with a hetero couple in many cultures for various reasons. Imagine an actress and an actor, and then imagine the actress being required to constantly sit on the actor’s lap, grasp his hands, and look into his eyes. When she exposes too much skin, he gets envious and encourages her to cover up. He also interrupts her conversations by getting reporters to pull her aside, cuddles, sniff, and kisses her all the time in public, or even the other way around if she does all these things. I do not think anyone would still find it cute. Here, it would be referred to as harassment, forcing yourself on someone, controlling behavior, etc. It does not make it any less uncomfortable for them to do this constantly just because it is two men.

Finally, it would be wonderful if the industry did not place too much importance on fan service or required actors to engage in sexual activity, and made it apparent right away that they are simply actors playing their roles. The (false) romantic relationship should come to an end when the show does. Also, the actors should learn more about the LGBTQ+ community, conduct some research, and utilize their voice as actors to spread awareness. Since they depend on the identities of LGBTQ+ people to make a living, this is the least they can do.

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