I never said you said people can't enjoy KS. Never even hinted at it. What I find stupid, is the fact you actually believe fiction has a hold on people's minds. When Harry Potter came out no one thought they were wizard, no one attempted to do spells or find hogwarts. When The Hunger Games came out, nobody got in a ring to fight their friends to the death. Should I go on? Wanting 2 characters to have sex or be together doesn't mean you're making a fetish or a goal out of the relationship...
There’s a reason that during political regimes, certain books are banned and why books are sorted by age categories for the content within it. Repeated exposure to a subject can lead to desensitization towards its subject matter. Though studies have not found that kids who play violent video games significantly demonstrate violent behavior, studies have shown that kids who play violent video games are less affected by violence in media.
Constant exposure to fetishization of a social group, be it ethnicity or a same-sex relationship, without critical thinking on the reader’s part reduces the reader’s ability to recognize fetishization as a problem in reality as well due to internalized normalization of the content. There’s a reason why fetishization of Asian women (’yellow fever’ is such an ugly term) and desexualization of Asian men is so prevalent in the current, real world, and it’s all to do with the works of fiction and basically fictional accounts of the Western world about the Orient.
If you’re going to make it easy for me and bring in the big works like Harry Potter, I don’t even have to pull out my psych book - I can just link you the studies. First of all, no one may have thought they were a wizard or attempt to do spells, but the number of kids who waited for their Hogwarts letter is more than you might think, and that’s only approaching the issue in the way you have narrowly defined it.
Fiction has social, transformative capabilities. Here’s a piece in the New York Times about how the themes present in Harry Potter has been influential to an entire generation. Here’s an article in the Scientific American about how the series instills empathy in children. Here’s the NPR’s on a study that claims reading Harry Potter leads to more positive social attitudes in children. Johns Hopkins University wrote a whole book on the subject. The Conversation also touches on this, and further, links to other studies on how fiction influences audience thinking.
Those are just the big-name publications I could link on Tumblr. The number of scholarly sources I can access through my university’s database is astronomical. Everyone wants to write their thesis on Harry Potter, I suppose, aha.
The Hunger Games has not been around for as long as Harry Potter nor comparably internationally successful, so there aren’t as many studies completed, but there is still this article from the Huffington Post with quotes from students remarking on real-world connections to the story and this Daily Dot piece on the series’ cultural impact. Oh, would you look at that. No one got in a ring to fight to the death, but there’s been an uptick in archery lessons for girls.
And to address your last point, no, wanting two characters to have sex or be in a relationship does not mean you are fetishizing them. It depends on why you want the characters to have sex or be in a relationship and how you portray it, and with Killing Stalking, it’s all too easy to get it wrong.
If the primary reason you want the characters to have sex is because ‘it would be hot’, it’s fetishistic, and not just in the case of LGBT relationships. However, it is more damaging to LGBT people because proportionally, there are fewer LGBT sex scenes in media, so proportionally, there are fewer LGBT sex scenes done without a fetishistic gaze. If the primary reason you want the characters to be in a relationship is because you find it titillating, then it’s fetishistic, and it’s more damaging to LGBT people for the same reason: There are fewer LGBT relationships in mainstream media.
Real-life lesbians have to deal with men who think they can butt in with a threesome, an idea popularized by pornographic fiction. Real-life gay men have to deal with gay-ship fangirls who tactlessly ask, “Which of you tops?” without realizing that asking about someone’s sex life might be intensely intrusive, thanks to yaoi culture. Bisexual and people with low sex-drive in general all have to deal with people who think that they can be the ‘exception’ and change their mind once they have sex, thanks to a lot of damaging fiction and ‘no means yes’ fiction written in the past.
Fiction can very much exert cultural and social influence, and trying to claim otherwise is a discredit to many great storytellers of the past and an offense to many aspiring storytellers of the future.