Fans can be amazing, truly amazing. They organize beautiful fan projects, donate thousands to charities in the name of their faves, donate rice wreaths, make epic fanchants. Despite these wonderful things, the other side of the K-pop coin can be gritty.
A few months ago, f(x)’s Krystal shut down her Instagram. After G-Dragon had liked many of her photos and a dating rumor surfaced from it, fans of G-Dragon started to harass her on Instagram. There were also multiple attempts at hacking her account that has been suspected to have lead to kjungxox‘s deletion.
And just last month, Eunhyuk made a statement that stated that Zhou Mi and Henry were not official Super Junior members after demands by supporters of Only 13 “to clearly define the boundaries between Super Junior and guest members. Zhou Mi and Henry are members of Super Junior-M, not of Super Junior.”
A week ago SHINee’s Jonghyun was spotted at the movies with a girl. He soon after issued an apology on his Twitter.
“My stories are appearing a lot on community sites. If I tell you just the facts, I went to the movies with my friends, and they’re just my friends not celebrities. I hope no one gets hurt by this. I found out because my friend sent me a picture~ I’m happy that there’s many people around me who care for me like this. It’s late, go to sleep~~ There must be a lot of people who are taking breaths of relief, I’m sorry. Even though it’s not something I should be sorry about, I’m sorry.”
Why are these things allowed to happen? Why is so much power given to these fans? Well, they are consumers. As they say, the customer is always right, but are they? They are most definitely not. Fans are a large part of K-pop. They are the reason it keeps turning, but it’s time for companies and artists to take a stand and reprimand them.
At airports, fans will swarm the artists and push and step over each other to see them, and artists and fans fall over due to crowding and stampeding. And when this happens, the companies say nothing. Most artists don’t either, though some will post on SNS about it.
There is nothing wrong with telling someone to take a step back and think on what they are doing. There’s nothing wrong with telling people to take a step back and ask themselves “What’s the point in bullying a complete stranger off a social networking site?” “Why are you shoving someone who shares the same interests as you and shoving cameras in the faces of people you like?” “Why do you feel it’s necessary to sexually assault your bias at the airport?”
K-pop isn’t big on taking stances or encouraging people to assert themselves. Things are easily blown over in the K-pop world and negativity is avoided as much as possible. Image is key and a bad reputation is a ruined career. But, to allow bad behavior is poisonous.
However, it’s not just the companies and artists that need to speak up. It’s the fans. If people are acting inappropriately, it’s not wrong to maturely tell those people what they did wrong and why it was wrong. Fans band together to make light stick oceans at concerts and donate thousands to charity. If such large projects can be pulled off with such ease, it shouldn’t be too difficult to tell other fans when certain actions need to stop or request reasonable things from the company (such as security personnel at airports for SM artists).
I think the reason why things like this don’t happen is because people are afraid to speak their minds and that many think that if they wait everything will blow over. For certain attempts I’ve seen, it fails because the organization behind it isn’t very good and it isn’t spread wide enough to get proper attention.
Though inappropriate behavior should be addressed, it all boils down to an even larger problem within K-pop. The problem that some people see what K-pop releases as theirs. They see idols not as people, but as characters that have to follow their story. Many expect idols to be what they want, or what they see as perfect. Netizens expect perfection from idols as well. It’s hilariously hypocritical that fans are vehemently against netizens, but the two are so similar in their demands.
It’s also extremely hypocritical that fans and netizens expect such perfection when they themselves are far from perfect, but still hold high expectations of people just like them.
Entertainment is the business and genre of perfection, and while it might be too high an order to expect perfection from fans and netizens, they should at least try to maintain clear and level heads. Obviously, there are instances when an idol is in the wrong and it’s nice to see that when that happens, people maturely criticize them for it. But that doesn’t actually happen that often, at least not as often as people criticizing someone for going to the movies with a friend. It doesn’t happen as often as people being trampled at airports, or shoved at music shows, or fans harassing people connected with their favorites.
Companies and artists shouldn’t have to pander to fans. Just because fans buy stuff doesn’t mean they are always correct or that the companies and artists have to mollify them. Certain fans who are vocal and act inappropriately should realize their position. There is no contract in buying a CD that gives a fan the right to demand why an idol is hanging out with someone else. Netizens also need to realize that the comments they post — probably the first thoughts that come to them — have repercussions that outweigh those two seconds of feeling good or the number of up votes they get.
The blind negativity and inappropriate behavior needs to stop. Will anyone step forward to stop it?