Months ago, I was through with K-pop (but I came back). I couldn’t take it anymore. The magic I experienced years ago was tarnished by the negative attitudes and destructive behavior of — the fans. Yeah, the fandom turned me off of something that brought me endless joy.
Now some of you may consider my reaction to be hyperbolic, but think about the times you’ve met people who have driven you mad. There are people who just make us want to scream because they don’t realize how their terrible actions negatively impact those around them. I’ve come across a number of comments by other fans who expressed they were hesitant to join a fandom simply because the members came off rude or aggravating. It’s a sad reality that isn’t exclusive only to K-pop, but some of these fans should be addressed for their irritating behavior.
1) Elitist Elders: “We’ve been here since pre-debut, so bow down.”
They’re the fans who knew a group before they had an official name. They may have even been first to join their fan cafes. They usually boast of having the only “official” fan sites, snubbing smaller sites dedicated to the same group. Sometimes this sense of seniority lends itself to an attitude of entitlement. They’ll dictate ridiculous rules and demean newer fans who don’t instantly know all of the members’ names. While many long-term fans are polite, these ones seem to repel the idea of fresh blood polluting the purity of the fandom.
2) Gossip Geese: “Proof? These rumors are true because another fan said so!”
Every time some bogus rumor floats through social media, you can bet it was fan-created. Sometimes it’s a bored anti and other times it’s a result of poor translation by a fan. There are also cases when it’s simply a joke gone overboard because sarcasm rarely reads well in text. No matter how it started, nothing is more irritating than dispelling some crazy gossip that could damage the reputation of the group or the fandom. These fans would be easy to dismiss if it wasn’t for their ability to create pandemonium over unverified info.
3) Pushy Linguists: “Talk to us in OUR language, not Korean!”
Someone needs to teach these fans how to speak in the language of good manners. They usually throw a fit if they feel the idols are playing favorites with Korean fans, but these fans forget most idols are Korean. It’s only natural for them to be more comfortable communicating with others who share their language and cultural background. Demanding idols to speak a foreign language insinuates that speaking their native tongue is unacceptable. Furthermore, it perpetuates the negative stereotype about international fans not being open to learning how to speak Korean themselves.
4) Judicial Jerks: “This idol has committed a sin and deserves death!”
Listen, idols mess up and we call them out on those mistakes when they offend fans. However, there is a vast difference between asking for a simple apology versus threatening to shoot someone at a concert. Sadly, the jerks end up penalizing the rational fans who wish to hold a civil conversation by distracting everyone from the real problem that caused an uproar in the first place. Their vicious words towards the idols and other fans create a tsunami of turmoil that often divides the fandom.
5) Amoral Activists: “Why is everyone making a big deal out of this issue? Y’all are too sensitive, lol!”
These fans are clearly okay with their biases appearing as apathetic as they are. When idols do something insensitive and fans want to educate them on the matter, the amoral activists form a blockade against progressive discussion with “protection squads.” They don’t think anyone should be held accountable for mistakes because everyone screws up. Of course we do, but we can learn from mistakes only when others help us understand why something is wrong. Ignoring a problem doesn’t shield idols from hate; it only stops them from growing into better role models.
6) Copyright Cops: “Ugh! Everyone is copying our group because they were first to do everything!”
K-pop is no stranger to plagiarism controversies, but these fans frequently blur the lines of what constitutes as a blatant rip-off of intellectual property. Fans who tend to accuse other groups of copying usually have a limited knowledge of genres and styles in entertainment. To them, anything they haven’t heard someone else do before their group means that their group holds exclusive copyrights to the idea. That’s why they’re always screaming “Copycat!” anytime a group pops up in school uniforms or films an underwater scene for their MV. They don’t realize that certain concepts existed way before their idols were even born.
7) Hater Baiters: “We hate this group, so we’re going to troll their fans at every opportunity.”
Of all the types of antis I’ve encountered, these ones are the most baffling. They dedicate hours of free time practically stalking fan pages of groups they don’t like. Sometimes, they only hate a specific member in a group they like, which is another headache in itself. Either way, they are the trolls who must burn every bridge not connected to their biases. Why? To let other fans know they really don’t like a person or group. Not sure what the point is other than to provoke a fight because they desperately seek the attention that idols get.
8) Persistent Perverts: “We’re going to sexually harass idols because they stir our hormones.”
Between creepy catcalls on social media and brazen groping at hi-touch events, these fans are frightening because their behavior occasionally slides into sasaeng territory. They’re the ones you see in airports grabbing at the idols or trying to kiss them during a fan meeting. Many idols are attractive beyond human comprehension, but that doesn’t give anyone license to sexually harass them. Their line-crossing antics make others uncomfortable and sometimes leads to preventive measures that result in less fan interactions because some horny people couldn’t respect boundaries.
Fans are always talking about how much they admire the positive aspects of their biases, but then they exhibit nasty behavior that would likely upset their favorite idols. If these groups saw fans engage in these activities, do you think they would approve? Or would they be disappointed in the fandom? We should respect each other as well as we would respect the idols. No one should be turned off by a group because of their insufferable fans. Let’s maintain the fun of K-pop by being well-behaved fans.
(Images via Tumblr)