Biases are a vital matter for every K-pop fan. They are the idols we adore above all else, the ones we follow on Twitter and Instagram, create Tumblrs shrines for, whose variety appearances we watch over and over again. Some people have lists, others have just one or two. Yet, they are almost always people we have selected, whose groups we like, whose personalities we admire and enjoy, who we want to stan.
Sometimes, though, we find ourselves with a bias we never wanted. Someone who shatters our carefully organized lists, and throws our emotions in chaos. We do not want to love them, for whatever reason– chaotic fandoms, a propensity towards drama, genuine dickery– yet we do. I, myself, have recently gone through such a scenario with B.I, and I understand how scary it is, how it makes you feel like everything you knew was wrong. Still, I believe I have come through it stronger and wiser. As a survivor, I wish to offer a guide to help other fans navigate these troubled waters.
Step 1. Rage
The immediate reaction is rage, both internally and externally directed. Rage at our new bias for somehow worming their way into our hearts. Rage at ourselves for failing to properly control our emotions. Rage at the fact that we have found ourselves part of something that we never wanted. But the rage will fade, and when it does, we have to deal with this new and undesired love, which leads to . . .
Unwanted biases tend to come out of nowhere. They pop up in places we didn’t expect: song features, drama appearances, Tumblr. And while the sudden love for an unwanted is strong and undeniable — rather like being beaten around the head with a baseball bat o’ love — that strength doesn’t make the love easier to understand. If anything, it’s the opposite. We are frightened by the intense desire to fanboy or fangirl over idols who, 10 minutes ago, we didn’t care about. Why now? Why them? Is it actually a reaction to the idol, or just the work we saw them in? Will these feelings fade as quickly as they came? We tell ourselves they will, entering . . .
Step 3. Denial
After the confusion begins to fade away, we next try to tell ourselves that it didn’t happen. We don’t suddenly adore a rapper who we’ve spent almost a year trying to avoid. It was admiration for the drama, a good joke, one good song and nothing more. It was a fluke. Our bias lists are intact. It was a harmless little fling. A walk on the wild side. A dance with the Devil. It didn’t mean anything. But it’s not true. We keep coming back to them, at first in tiny doses, but those doses get bigger and closer until the denial just won’t work anymore and the floodgates burst open, leading to . . .
Step 4. Binging
Please don’t ask how quickly I powered through W.I.N., SMTM3, and Mix & Match. Please. When the wall of denial we force ourselves to live behind fails, we absorb anything to do with our unwanted bias at an alarming rate. Music, SNS, variety appearances. Reblogging Tumblr gifs by the dozen, slogging through fanfics by the truckload. We so deprive ourselves that we cannot bring ourselves to stop once we start fully exploring our new bias. Eventually, though, we have to come up for air, and when we do, we find . . .
The last step of coping with an unwanted bias is accepting them. The love might have been sudden, and undesired, but it’s still there. They might ruin our bias lists, but they’re still on them. An unwanted bias might be a guilty pleasure. They might be a quiet bias, one who you don’t actually talk about. Or they may simply become just another person you stalk online. In the end, they are still a bias, and once they have entered your heart, good luck getting them out.
I avoided everything to do with Winner/Team B/iKon since the first announcement of W.I.N. I could sense the drama a mile away and I just didn’t want any part of it. I gave Winner’s debut a shot — good but not my thing — and remained free of it all until “Born Hater.” In one song, I fell for B.I, and had no idea what was happening to me. But I worked through these steps, and now I can offer hope to others with unwanted biases. Your head will stop spinning. The chaos will end. Your bias list will make sense once more. And you will love this new bias as much as your others. It will be okay.
(Images via Mnet, SM)