Hi, my name is Eri. I am a K-pop fan and we need to have a serious talk about our oppas.
If you’re in the loop, I’m sure you’re aware that Super Junior are planning a comeback later in the year. There has also been recent news regarding some ELFs wanting to boycott Lee Sungmin because his behavior is supposedly negatively affecting the image of the group. This has caused management and Super Junior to hold a conference with the fans to discuss the direction of the comeback.
This isn’t particularly shocking news in the K-pop community. Fans (particularly those in South Korea) are very vocal on how their idols should be. K-netizens demand that their idols be transparent with them. That idols have an active social media presence, that idol groups should engage in the fandom and be actively good role models while being singers/dancers/actors/entertainers etc.
This kind of “controversy” has happened before and it will happen with different groups in an array of circumstances. This kind of discussion will continue to happen for as long as the industry lives.
While I agree that idol groups have a responsibility of being somewhat present online for fan engagement and that they should be accountable for their negative behavior, something has become very apparent.
Fans are forgetting that their oppas are, in fact, human beings.
What? My oppa? A PERSON WITH FLAWS, EMOTIONS, AND *gasp!* A PERSONAL LIFE??
Some K-netizens have the tendency to get so wrapped up, so obsessed in the whirlwind of the industry that they forget that as much as our idols have their responsibility to us (fan meets, concerts, etc.), our oppas do not have to share every. single. thing. about their lives with us.
I repeat, OUR OPPAS ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO SHARE THEIR WHOLE LIFE WITH US. They don’t have to discuss what they do in their personal time. They do not have to share every moment of their lives with us. They do not owe us their family life, their hobbies, or their relationships. They have the right to their privacy, just like we do.
WE DO NOT OWN THEM. They are people, not dolls. We are fans, not owners. We do not have the right to dictate what they do, who they associate with, what they eat, what they wear etc. Just because we buy their products, support their music, vote for them for awards etc., that doesn’t give us the right to boss them around.
We are their fans. We support them because we want them to succeed. We do these things for them because we love them and want them to achieve great things. There is a time and place to discuss items of importance. This is not the time. This isn’t the issue. This culture of boycotting and complaining about non-crucial things does not support our favorite oppas/unnies/chingus.
Imagine yourself in their shoes: your every move dictated by management. People calling you names, judging you harshly and boycotting you because you want to have something for yourself. All this and many more on top of the daily physical demands of the job. It’s not a joke. It’s hard. We don’t see the un-glamorous side of the industry from where we are. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try to be a little more empathetic towards them.
These “controversies” are always going to happen if we don’t change the culture. I know what I’m saying doesn’t apply to everyone. I’m not saying that all K-netizens are bad people, of course not. I am speaking as an international fan who has been supporting and participating in the K-pop industry for almost a decade. No matter where we’re from, in this regard, we’re all the same. We are fans.
What I’m trying to say is our idols are people, too. I hope we can remember that the next time something like this comes up.
Anyway, thank you for reading and I’ll catch you in the next one.