For some reason last night, while trying to sleep, I started to think about k-pop fans. K-pop fans are a pretty unusual group. They are very devoted, often for a very long time, generous, and yet, there’s an underlying darkness to them. Of course, not all k-pop fans are like this. Some don’t belong to any one specific fandom and simply love many groups (k-poppians as I like to call them). However, today, I think I’ll briefly discuss the ones that aren’t simply k-poppians, and what’s good, bad, and head-scratching about them. OK, actually I’ll rant about the bad, but I do mention the good things.
The Good: Generosity
If there is one thing K-pop fans have going for them, it’s their generosity. I’m not referring to their generosity in giving gifts to their biases (which they do a lot of). I am referring to their charitable donations and feeding of staff. The most common form of donations are rice wreaths. These donations are particularly done around the times important anniversaries, birthdays, and concerts. Fans get together to not only send a wreath to show their support of an artist, but they also send in tons of rice. The rice is then giving to various charities that feed others, whether it be children, the homeless, or even foreign aid.
If that weren’t enough, fans will also donate to the various charities their biases favor. JYJ fans and Cassies (DBSK/TVXQ fandom) are known to be pretty prolific in this respect. If they aren’t supporting the “Mango Tree Project” ($9000 was raised), which JYJ has promoted, they are starting charities to protect Thai. elephants, since they are known to be the favorite animal of JYJ’s Jae Joong. Fans will also donate to charities in the name of their groups. Sometimes, groups spur on this action. For example, rookie group VIXX recently asked their fans to not bring gifts to a fan meeting/signing, and instead, give the money they would have spent on gifts to a charity the group had selected.
Also, fans will cater food for staff when their biases are filming a drama or movie. While this may seem like a gift to the artist, it’s actually beneficial to the staff and other actors involved. Staff does not have to worry about finding time to get food and people have access to nourishment. This is especially important when dramas and movies are known to be so time-consuming, to the point that many do not sleep or eat. Free food is good for everyone.
I’m not sure if fans simply mirror the generosity of their biases (some are known to be especially generous), or if they are doing this because they are just good people. Regardless, others are helped and receive benefits.
The Bad: Closed-Mindedness and Problems with Safety
There are open-minded fans of groups. Even if they are a member of one fandom, they still respect and like other groups. Some fans don’t allow their top biases to cloud their judgement or interfere with them liking another group. You will also find fans who will not say anything bad about other groups. However, this is not always the case.
Amongst K-pop fandoms, you will find some of the most closed-minded fans. One thing I’ve noticed is that some fans believe that if you are a fan of one group, you can’t be a fan of another group. How utterly ridiculous is that? In that same vein of thinking, there are those that think if you are a fan of a group, you can not say a single negative thing about them. I have seen, in the comment sections of articles, fans ridiculing and jumping on fans of the same fandom simply because those fans did not think a song/photo/outfit was the best. They tolerate criticism from non-fans even less. No rainbows, unicorns, glitter equals hatred and stupidity. I can not be the only one who has an issue with this. Fans simply want their artists to be their best, so shouldn’t they be able to constructively criticize their biases so that they can become better? It’s one thing to defend your bias against an unnecessary and vile attack, but it’s another thing to defend against someone simply stating their opinion. Just as I have mentioned the generosity of Cassies above, I have found some members of the Cassie fandom to be particularly guilty of this.
There are also fans who refuse to listen to other groups or admit their talents. While I appreciate devotion (such as the Shinhwa Changjo fans who have been with them for 14 years), some people cross a line into a territory of blindness, and that’s not a good thing. Luckily, not every one is this way.
Also of note is their tendency to overcrowd airports and rush their favorite artists. THIS IS NOT COOL PEOPLE!! You are risking the safety of not only yourself, but also other fans, strangers, and even your own biases. STOP DOING THAT!!
The WTH?!: Antis and Sasaengs
**I have italicized Antis and sasaengs simply for the fact that I don’t truly consider them fans. These could have been in the “Bad” category, but antis and sasaengs are so ridiculous, they leave you scratching your head, trying to figure out their reasoning.**
Antis are basically haters and particularly vile creatures. In the most basic form, they spout hatred and nonsense. Most often, this comes up as throwing eggs at artists or simply saying hateful things on forums. Sometimes you will see where people discuss “black oceans.” This is basically where fans will not wave their glow sticks and wear black, in protest to an action either done by the group or the label. For instance, with the breakup of DBSK, many have threatened the black ocean at concerts, in protest of JYJ no longer being with the group and the drama that has since unfolded. Others have threatened the black ocean against EXO in, from what I gather, a response to the belief that they were formed to take Super Junior’s place (like that makes any sense). To an extreme, they’ll promote the suicide of their targets and even target the families of the artist. The most famous antis would have to be the TaJinYo, some of which, thankfully, are imprisoned. This group targeted Tablo of Epik High, claiming, in particular, that he lied about his educational background and used this to his advantage. I won’t discuss everything, since that would take a while, but the backlash they created led to Tablo being afraid for his and his family’s safety. This is truly despicable behavior. Not only that, it makes no sense. To target strangers who have no affect on your life whatsoever, and who you can simply choose to ignore if you don’t like them, is seriously illogical.
I won’t really talk much about sasaengs a.k.a stalkers, because that will take forever. I will simply say that they are probably either mentally disturbed, evil, or lower than scum. The graph below will show how I feel about them and Antis. They make Beliebers look sane. Just saying.