PFans of K-pop are some of the most passionate people out there, there is no denying that. When new K-pop groups form, the next to come together after that is typically a fandom; those fans who band together out of love, appreciation, and respect for these performers have made a mutual agreement to support this artist through the good times and bad, through thick and thin, for better or worse. Once a group has given their fandom a name, and the fans have adopted that name, the agreement becomes nearly binding.
However, sometimes fandoms go too far. In the recent years, many horror stories have cropped up about fans who become upset by the news they have seen of their idol and they decide to take matters into their own hands by starting severe, dangerous tendencies online.
**WARNING: the following contains references to activities that may be triggering to some readers, please proceed with caution and refer to the bottom of the article is you find yourself in an unsafe position**
It is not okay to start movements on any social media platform that causes harm or discomfort to someone and claim for it to be out of love for an idol. In the past, there have been instances where fans harm themselves and then send idols notes dripped with blood with the phrases like “I bleed for you” written on it in order to dissuade an idol from dating someone, or starve themselves and talk about it publicly because their idol is also trying to lose weight. These crazy trends are extremely dangerous and usually stem from one fan’s over attachment to an artist, although the true mentality behind why some fans choose to participate are somewhat confusing. The best guess that can be made is they believe that if their bias witnesses it, he/she will stop whatever they are doing that is causing them harm. This logic is twisted, though. Very, very twisted.
Harmful movements from fandoms actually become counterproductive in their goals. For starters, inducing a trend that encourages people to harm themselves in the hopes that it will convince a K-pop artist to stay out of the dating scene is absurd. If an idols see their fans self-harming and receive bloody letters from listeners, it most likely scares them beyond belief but also results in a lack of production or performance from them for fear of making the situation worse. The idol is now put in a difficult position of not knowing how to proceed with his own life because of the reaction they might provoke from the fandom. Naturally, a lack of sighting or response from the entertainer will make the fandom more concerned, which would make the movement worse, and everything turns into a vicious, gruesome cycle.
The same can be said about those who participate in starvation trends through social media sites. Often times, if an idol announces that they are trying to lose weight or are beginning a diet, fans become so wrapped up in trying to make their bias feel better that they actually worsen the situation. It is important to remember that idols, like most people, are under constant pressure to look a certain way; for Korean performers and artists, the pressure is probably worse, as the Korean culture has been known to associate thin or slender figures with beauty. However, if an artist makes a passing remark about a weight loss journey, the best thing to do is send encouraging messages that promote love and acceptance, because sending messages about exercise plans or caloric intake to a person who is already struggling with self-image can be very upsetting and triggering.
For fans who have participated in these trends in the past and for fans who are willing to participate in these trends in the future, please keep in mind that there are better, more effective ways to channel your feelings towards your bias. Writing letters or sending fan mail are always some fantastic examples of showing appreciation or concern towards an idol, and many K-pop groups have said that they check their Twitter and Instagram pages for sweet messages/comments that fans leave. Instead of promoting harmful activities online, try starting a collective that will help support both the artist’s and fan’s mental well-being by encouraging positive body image, self-love, and acceptance.
If you feel as though you pose an immediate danger to yourself or others, please dial 911 right away.
If you or someone you know is in need of someone to talk to, please text “Connect” to 741741 to speak with a trained Crisis Counselor.