me: “do I have to be part of a fandom-fandom to be recognized as a fan of a group I like?”
me: “can’t I just, you know, commit some of the time, because lord knows my biases can be complete embarrassments sometimes.”
me: “also, I swear the word bias implies a singular interest, as in an ultimate ONE. But K-Pop, man, it has a way of turning expressions and phrases on their head.”
me: “I do have an ultimate bias, though. His name is Dongwoon … or is he? I don’t even know anymore.”
me: “Maybe it’s Chen. I’ve been really loving that dude lately.”
me: “I think I’d wear a shirt with his face on it.”
me: “but it’s okay if I don’t follow the everliving fuck out of his every living movement, right?”
me: “because that’s a bit out of my comfort zone as a K-Pop fan.”
me: “also, I’m a lazy fuck who doesn’t care enough. Which is not to say I don’t like him.”
me: “that’s just how I roll.”
The way I see it, what truly drives an intimate connection to K-Pop is not so much the idols and groups themselves, but the rewards you reap in following them, whether it’s visual stimulation, intrigue, or laughter. While it seems a bit excessive for me personally to track down every idol’s whereabouts and daily movements on a regular basis, that could very well be the most rewarding aspect of K-Pop for somebody else. And while some take that shit to the extreme (ie: sasaeng/사생 fans), I think the heart of it is pretty much the same. The big picture reads “K-Pop”, but what you or I get out of it can be worlds apart, and that’s okay.
I’ve met people who follow K-Pop solely for the fashion, while others are only interested in the music. Those are two very different sensibilities that see a return on investment in a pop culture, like all cultures, that doesn’t require a strict protocol to follow. K-Con is a fabulous example of how diverse the fans of K-Pop can be. Last year saw the convention deliver makeup, dance, and singing workshops, parallel to panels about Korean dramas, media, and online communities.
“Crying because I just wrapped up #Misaeng and now I don’t know what to do with myself.” – via Facebook
Right now, I’m in a rabbit hole of Korean drama fervor (I just finished Misaeng. Someone hold me,) and it’s exciting and I love it. Am I a K-drama know-it-all and do I interact with K-drama superfans? Not exactly. Here’s what I do: I Chromecast a few episodes of a drama a few days a week – I’m currently watching Healer – enjoy the fuck out of them, and then turn them off and carry on about my life. Doing K-Pop doesn’t have to be complicated and there is no right way of doing it. I like to keep things a lot simpler these days; I have friends who are the same, and that’s perfect. Are you the type of fan who follows a certain idol on social media because they give you life? That’s perfect, too! Yasss, hunty, get yours.
In a nutshell: You, as a fan, make the calls, and nobody else. Listen to what speaks to you and act upon in ways that best fulfill you. I have a thing for writing, so this is me creating a universe in which I feel most comfortable expressing myself and my interests. If there’s a K-Pop 101 handbook, I don’t want to read it and I don’t want you to read it either, because there’s no fun in being told how to enjoy what you enjoy.
If I want to loop GD&TOP’s “Knockout” til the end of space and time, I’m going to do it and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop me.
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I’ll see you guys soon with an update on the things I’m listening to, because come on – who do you think you’re talking to here?