Fetishizing K-pop groups versus being a supportive fan
Start writing a post

There Is A Difference Between Fans That Fetishize K-Pop Versus Fans That Support Inclusion

I love K-pop as much as the next person, but I'm careful not to cross the thin line that separates degrading Korean and Asian cultures versus appreciating it.

There Is A Difference Between Fans That Fetishize K-Pop Versus Fans That Support Inclusion
Mia Reid

My best friend and I discovered BTS in 2017 and were completely blown away by their talent and hard work. BTS is not the first K-pop group I've discovered, but until BTS I had the impression that K-pop was artists put in groups and treated like robots. It just didn't seem like the music would be powerful or have a strong message for listeners. Sure, the members were beautiful and could sing and dance well, but it was also strange to me that they were whitewashed in some ways.

Telling people now that I love to listen to BTS and appreciate many other K-pop groups, there is confusion or weird faces. If they don't sing in English, how can you understand what they're talking about? Or, don't you think you're fetishizing the culture?

Like many popular bands or singers, there are always fans that give the rest of us a bad reputation. There are always fans that are uncomfortably obsessive, say inappropriate things, or generally get too emotional. What makes American k-pop fans different, however, is that we are accused of exploiting an entirely different culture and fetishizing the idols from Korea. And I completely understand.

I've heard and read many fans say things that make me cringe. Things that are far too sexual to say about any celebrity in general, or downright offensive and degrading comments that insult Asian culture. It's important to keep in mind that while, yes, members of groups like Exo or Blackpink are attractive and beautiful, they do not represent the entirety of the Korean population. They are made into stars, and just like American celebrities are held to an exceptional standard of "beauty," it is the same, if not more for Korean artists.

There is also the conversation that some fans might mistakenly lump any Asian person in a single country, without considering that there are so many different facets of Asian culture within south-eastern Asia. Japan is not the same as South Korea, just like Italy is different from Spain or Canada is different from the U.S.

What brought me to support BTS was the beautiful lyrics, catchy melodies, and impressive dancing that makes anyone say "wow." There is nothing that can stop people from learning what they are saying and the message they are putting out. Lyrics can be roughly translated, subtitles allow us to understand what they talk about in interviews and gauge their personalities, etc. The rise of K-pop allows us to learn more and expand our perceptions, while having important conversations of what is appreciating the culture and talent versus what is only fetishizing and degrading the culture.

The "Love Yourself" message that BTS pushes can be applicable to every fan across the world. The members of BTS say it doesn't matter where you come from, what you look like, who you love or how you identify, because we're all individuals with a voice and beauty.

I was lucky enough to be able to travel out of state with tickets to their sold-out concert in Chicago on the 3rd, and the unity among fans was incredible. Everyone is talking to each other about when they started listening to BTS, what other K-pop groups they like, where they came from, who they came with, what album made them want to support BTS in the first place. We were helping each other make sure we all got a chance for photo-ops, group photos, room to dance, and making sure everyone could have fun and be included.

Before the concert, fans of every ethnicity were dancing with each other to perform choreography from music videos or live concerts. Most of them had never met before, but we were coming together as a community that just wants to push love, acceptance, and unity.

Listening and supporting K-pop does not equal fetishization or appropriation. Diverse artists deserve the same recognition that we give other celebrities, especially when their talent and dedication is at an even higher level. Not supporting a group just because of where they come from or the language they speak is not the inclusive message we are all striving to follow. I think the more important conversation is how we treat any people of influence, no matter what culture they come from. Supportive fans do not equal obsessive fans.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Ancient Roman Kings: 7 Leaders of Early Rome

The names and dates of the reigns of the first four kings, as well as the alternation of Sabin and Latin names, are more legendary than historical. The last three kings, of Etruscan origin, have an existence which seems less uncertain.

inside ancient roman building
Photo by Chad Greiter on Unsplash

It is evident that all this is only a legend although archeology shows us little by little that these kings if they did not exist as the ancient history, describes them, have at least in the very Outlines were real as chief of a shepherd’s tribe. The period when kings ruled Rome could estimate at 245 years.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Love Lost

Being the girl that is falling for the boy is never easy.

Love Lost

You constantly text my phone telling me that you want to see me and hang out, even though we may not have sex we cuddle and that’s intimacy in its own. I’m tired of buying you food and being there for you like a girlfriend when you consistently tell me you aren't ready for a girlfriend. I am constantly feeling I’m getting slapped in the face because I’m doing all these things and getting nothing in return. Every day I feel myself liking you more which is just crazy because why would I even waste my time liking someone there isn’t a future with. I just want you to be honest with me and with yourself, tell me how you feel from your heart, stop just saying you aren’t ready. You are wasting time telling me you aren’t ready because while you are “getting ready” some guy somewhere else is telling me that he likes me and thinks I’m beautiful and wants to date me. I’m not asking for much, but I at least want exclusivity because you ask me for all these things but in return you give me nothing.

Keep Reading...Show less
Pretty Little Liars

From reading the books in eighth grade to watching the television show all throughout high school, "Pretty Little Liars"basically defined my teenage existence. I was completely and totally obsessed on all accounts. However, even though I loved the fact that the books and the show are starkly different, there are simply just some ways in which the books are much better. Let's take a look:

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

To The Girl In The Back Row

I just want you to know you are loved. You are loved so very much.

To The Girl In The Back Row

Recently I was blessed to be a counselor at a wonderful camp, secluded in a cornfield somewhere in Virginia. I consider myself to be a seasoned camp counselor, as I have not only been a camper for most of my life but have been privileged enough to work multiple camps with all kinds of different facilities. I have worked camps with multi-thousand dollar facilities, with zip lines, rock walls, ropes courses, and boats. I have worked at camps with amazing water sports, camps with paintball, camps with canoes and paddle boats and floating blobs or trampolines in the middle of the water. I have worked at camps with in ground pools and camps without any pools, and even some camps with go-karts. I've had problem kids, kids who refuse to listen to anything I say, kids who sneak out after lights out to meet a significant other, and kids who are every camp counselors dream.

Keep Reading...Show less

Why The United Nations Is Key For The World

"As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th"- Donald J. Trump

Why The United Nations Is Key For The World

The United Nations (UN) has been in existence since June of 1945. Since then, the world has come together to work on and solve some of the harshest problems that face the Human Race. Be it children in societal ills like Human Trafficking, natural issues like Deforestation, or issues of extreme poverty, the UN has worked together in an attempt to make it a better place for us all. It's the only organization in the history of the world to bring people together in a willing, peaceful way; a feat that not even the League of Nations could do in the Post- WWI era. Why was it that one organization failed, and the other one is still going strong, 72 years later?

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments