Monday, February 28, 2022

Thoughts on Being a BTS Fan

It’s 2022, who has not heard of BTS at this point? I for one am a big fan. BTS is probably the world’s biggest music act/artist of their generation. I think it would be a disservice to call them the biggest boy band or K-Pop group since they have gone beyond being in those categories. After all, they are also Louis Vuitton brand ambassadors and South Korean Cultural Ambassadors too.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I first heard of BTS when my niece introduced them to me in 2017. I have since become a fan of their music and have appreciated the variety in their songs as well as their jaw-dropping performances. Although I was already listening to their music and watching their performances back then, I can’t say that I was part of the BTS Army until last year.

When the group was first introduced to me the one who was my favorite (my first bias) was Jimin. I just loved watching him dance, especially when he does Black Swan. I have always been a fan of contemporary dancers and he is spellbinding to watch when he moves. I remember my niece would often point him out to me during those early years and give me printed photos of him to keep. 

I have always said that I became ARMY when I watched the 2021 Muster with my niece. That was when I really fell into the rabbit hole and never came out. That was in June 2021. Since then I have devoured every bit of content and information on the group that I could. Considering how much is out there and how they continuously come out with content, I think I may never be able to catch up, but that’s OK. I am still enjoying every minute that I can. 

Since the Muster last year I began liking everyone, not just Jimin. But I have to admit that Jimin, Taehyung (V), and Yoongi (Suga) are my favorites. I actually surprised myself when I was cleaning out my phone and cloud storage: back in January 2021, I had saved a photo of Suga on my phone. I guess I was already starting to get into this whole thing by then because later on, I had apparently saved a photo of Taehyung on my phone too. 

Anyway, since becoming a fan (or more appropriately, part of the BTS ARMY), I’ve come to realize that there are some pros and cons to being a fan. I thought I’d share some of them here:

The Fellowship Among ARMY

I have to hand it to ARMY, when they get together to do something, they really do it. Fund-raising for charity in honor of the guys. Birthday events. Supporting BTS as one solid unit. There’s just so much good to be said about how ARMY comes together for BTS and for each other. I remember when I was new to all this that there were so many people, including complete strangers, who helped me to learn more about the guys and shared content that I did not know about. So many of these people I meet online are supportive of my other interests too, as some of the ones I met on Weverse have visited my blog at one point or another. 

With so many ARMY all over the world who come together with such a show of force as needed, it wouldn’t be a stretch that if BTS asked them to do something to save the planet, everyone would be able to do something and collectively they would make a big difference for the environment.

The Complicated App That is Weverse

I’m on the app and it is, well, interesting. The members of BTS interact with fans there, but mostly they only react to posts and comments from fans who write in Korean. I remember talking to one non-Korean ARMY who confirmed this was the norm on Weverse. Sometimes as an international ARMY that makes me feel a little left out so I’m not on there as much as when I was new to this. I also noticed so many who are just there to ask people to subscribe to them and to like their posts, although I have no idea why that was so important. I do appreciate the updates from the members on the site though (but their translation feature needs improvement, just saying).

There’s so much more I can say about the environment there but I’d rather not go there if I will only offend people so let me just end this here. 

Will the real ARMY please stand up?

I remember one time that I tweeted some (constructive) criticism on a photo of one of the guys and someone tweeted that I should take down my post. It was weird since I wasn’t saying anything against the member himself, but more about how the photo was edited. It seems there are many “fans” who are what they call “solo stans” or fans of just one member and not the entire group. This is why they can be so territorial about their idol and what is being said about them. 

Someone then explained to me the concept of OT7 (being a fan of everyone in the group) and how solo stans ruin this by always complaining about how their idol is not getting the attention that he deserves. As an exact opposite, there are also bashers who are actively attacking specific members of the group online, as if they are getting an unfair advantage compared to other members. It’s a dynamic that I can’t quite wrap my finger around and would rather not involve myself in. It’s just too much for me. 

I also encountered some “fans” who were attacking a fellow ARMY on Twitter for being too old to be a BTS fan. The woman was in her 40s so this is weird for me since I’ve read that there are fans who are even well into their 80s. 

I’d like to think that if you were truly ARMY, you wouldn’t be attacking fellow fans or any of the members online or otherwise. You wouldn’t be mad at constructive criticism if it is feedback that the group can take and improve on. In the beginning, I was active online so that I can learn more about the group and be updated, but I have since cut back on the people I follow and the sites that I visit because I don’t need this negativity around me. I’d rather get my information from a select few who I feel are truly ARMY and from BTS themselves via Twitter, Weverse, and Instagram. 

The Merch, OMG the MERCH!

There is so much great merch that can be purchased and they are all pretty expensive. In the past 6 months alone I think I have spent a good amount of money on merch, ARMY membership on Weverse, and (online) concert tickets alone. I’m currently on my cutting back phase and I am hoping I can hold out for as long as I can because as much as I love these guys, it’s not practical for me to be spending so much money on them when I have so many other things that I have to prioritize. We’ll see how long I can go without spending anything on them this year (hahaha). 

Are you a BTS fan too? What were your thoughts when you first became a fan? What do you think about it today? Please leave a comment and let me know your story!


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