It’s finally happened – fanwars have gone past the point of no return. Perhaps a little too far.
In the world of K-pop, rivalries between fandoms are fairly common. Fans often feel obligated to stand up for their beloved idols when they feel said group is being abused or not fully appreciated. Often times, they are rather petty with fans fighting over who has the best songs, which polls count the most to measure popularity, or even which group looks better in which haircut.
But sometimes, they can be dangerous. And really, just plain disturbing.
*Note: This was actually earlier this year when Jimin was threatened before their concert in California during their North American Tour. But that doesn’t make it any less creepy, now does it?
It’s not uncommon to run across a story of cyberbullying. We all know how often it happens – with the internet being accessible to everyone and the allowance of anonymity makes it an easy platform for people to go on and say whatever they want. This is especially true in South Korea, where everyone is constantly glued to their phones and speedy internet connection.
This is especially true in K-pop, where idols’ careers are literally built by public perception which can be unforgiving and very strict. Idols have been known to be shamed for anything from saluting too low at a ceremony or writing something braggy in their diary…when they were nine. But it’s not just the idols that take a brunt. Fans get aimed at and criticized as well, often being jeered at and mocked for dedicating their lives to K-pop idols which may seem like a trivial thing to waste time on. Other times, it may be because the idols themselves are hated, thus making their fans an easy target for those who hate the idols or feel threatened by their popularity. For the past two years, this seems to be the case for BTS A.R.M.Y.
And it seems they’re effin’ tired of it.
What started as a demand for an apology from the EXO-L’s became a platform of complaints, as the Korean A.R.M.Y have decided enough was enough and spoke out against the abuse they have faced since BTS surge in popularity. According to one Korean A.R.M.Y, BTS fans have been unable to show support for the group online, and face anxiety due to the fear of criticism they receive as a fan. It was also said that many antis come out of the woodworks for every positive article about BTS, downvoting and spreading negative comments in order to make the group seem unsuccessful and unpopular. Another BTS fan included accusations (towards BTS) of plagiarism , spreading lies about the members to defame their character, and even going as far as to make fake accounts to pretend to be BTS fans and spread inappropriate and rude comments to make A.R.M.Y look bad (which actually explains a lot).
What is perhaps the most surprising (and rather heartening) is the Korean A.R.M.Y has reached out to their international counterparts and the results have been explosive. Twitter hashtags of #Please_Apologize, #Dope200M, and #TeamBTS have begun trending in merely 24 hours with even other fandoms getting involved to spread awareness and demand respect. While Korean fans and international fans have been known to battle it out over the proper way to love their idols, it seems like having a common cause can do wonders. Some are even tweeting to the official BTS Twitter Page to let their boys know that their fans got their backs.
It’s not a total happy ending but…close enough, wouldn’t you say?