If you’ve never seen a K-pop fan outright disrespecting another group just because they don’t particularly like them online, then congratulations! You’ve lived a truly blessed life. Unfortunately for most of us, these people are everywhere: in YouTube comments, on Twitter timelines, lurking in Instagram DMs. Their main purpose, it appears, is to agitate others into insulting them so that they can prove a point about fans of a particular group. I’ve seen it way too many times, with some fans straight up starting beef with fans of another group just to be mean. And honestly it just has to stop.
Liking a Group Doesn’t Make You Better
I don’t why this is the core issue, but it is. The problem is that people treat their favorite group as if it’s a reason to treat other people like garbage. I remember years back, when I first got into K-pop, there were these two girls who terrorized everyone who was into BTS because they saw them as a rival group to EXO. They had somehow deluded themselves into thinking that their behavior–insulting others, belittling people for their preferences, and blatantly claiming that they were better because they loved EXO–would somehow be approved by EXO because they were a superior group.
Sadly, those girls were not just an isolated case and there was a short window of time where many EXO-Ls took to treating ARMYs very poorly. It wasn’t all EXO-Ls and it wasn’t to say that ARMYs didn’t retaliate or antagonize, but the whole thing was–to put it plainly–stupid. It went so far as to extend to end of the year programs where a rumor spread that EXO-Ls decided to shut off their lightsticks during BTS’s performance. Whether or not it was intentional we can’t know, but the groundwork had already been laid for this to interpreted as a direct aggression.
Over time, this old EXO-L vs. ARMY beef faded (largely because everyone got tired of it, started liking the other group, and the ones who hung on were drowned out) but others like it have cropped up. And here is what everyone needs to learn: it’s not that deep. People have different tastes in music and they express their love for their groups differently. It is not your job to police the internet unless someone is harmful or hateful. Maybe that one fan squealing about their group is being cringey, but how does that have anything to do with you? Ignore them and move on. Don’t engage and become the jerk who started a fandom war.
You Don’t Owe Your Faves Anything
So many fans feel like it is their job to defend their faves from the hatred of others. They make it a point to go through people’s “unpopular opinions” posts and comment how wrong they are. They try to create a movement against that person just for expressing their opinion as if that had somehow harmed their group personally.
Here’s the truth: it doesn’t matter. Your faves don’t care. As long as you keep loving them, it will not matter one way or the other whether or not someone has an unfavorable unpopular opinion. You are not their personal bodyguards; they pay people for that.
Enjoy Yourself & Don’t Be a Jerk
K-pop music is just a genre of music that we all happen to enjoy. It is not a lifestyle, it is not an exclusive club. It’s just music. Just because you devote your time, your effort, and your love to it does not mean that you have to defend it at all costs against anyone who may have a differing opinion–because they’re trying to do the same thing! Just enjoy the wonderful music that your faves have made and respect everyone else trying to do the same.