What matters most in the world of entertainment is the impact it brings to the audience, and the power it holds to spread that impact.
I am a BTS ARMY, but before I became an ARMY, I was one of the many ignorant people who disliked K-Pop. I knew nothing about it except the fact that girl groups wear too much makeup and dress provocatively, and that boy groups and other K-Pop artists, whether male or female, wear makeup. It was one of the reasons why I didn’t bother knowing any K-Pop artist because I was blinded by my distaste on people who wear too much makeup. I didn’t understand back then why K-Pop male artists had to wear them.
As I grew older, I started having that kind of disfavor for a reason that I don’t understand. When in fact, when I was much younger, I do remember getting whipped for Michael Jackson and I had no issue with David Bowie, Prince, Boy George, and all other legendary male artists who made wearing makeup look cool back in the day. For some reason, I lost my sense of artistry. Hence, I got shortsighted and couldn’t appreciate fashion as it is, or the evolution in the entertainment industry.
Then BTS came into my life when I needed them the most. It was the perfect timing. It was the time that nothing made me happy anymore. When I discovered them by chance, I just couldn’t get enough. I had to find out what made ARMYs love them so much. And it wasn’t hard to learn those things because BTS is not hard to love.
My interest in BTS made me excited to wake up in the morning and find out more things about them: their music, their lyrics, their humble beginning, their journey to success. As I learned about BTS, I learned about K-Pop and the Korean culture. The more I learned about BTS as a group and individually, the more I couldn’t understand why they have so many haters. Then, I reminisced the times that I was ignorant about them and somehow put the pieces together.
Here are the top 6 possible reasons why haters hate BTS:
1. Because of their make-up.
Like I mentioned, those who aren’t familiar with the K-Pop industry won’t know that wearing makeup is a common thing (even for male). So, it’s normal for them to have smoky eyes and bright lips on music videos or during performances. It’s to prevent them from looking exhausted and to make them look brighter and younger on camera. But truth be told, they really have no choice. Even if BTS doesn’t want to wear makeup, they have to, despite the many criticisms they have received, like when people say they look like girls, or look so soft and feminine. BTS ignores these kinds of criticism because they know that people who criticize them for wearing makeup do not understand the K-Pop culture. But for me, after learning more about BTS, my distaste in K-Pop had died down. Even if I like them way much better with bare face, I have accepted the fact that wearing makeup is part of the K-Pop culture.
2. Because they hate K-Pop.
We all have different tastes in music, just like we have different taste in other things like food, clothing, etc. Lots of BTS haters hate K-Pop itself and they hate BTS more than other K-Pop artists because they are the most popular ones. It is also linked to the fact that even male artists wear makeup and look feminine, so this boils down to being narrow minded. Every person hates certain things, but to act on that hatred by posting malicious comments or harassing BTS on social media or other platforms is just plain unacceptable.
3. Because of their popularity and success.
Haters are the most envious type of people amongst all mankind. They are fueled by xenophobia and crab mentality. In the first half of the year 2019, BTS sold more albums than popular U.S. artists like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and Billie Eilish. I remember Billie defending BTS during an interview at the Austin City Limits Music Festival where she was asked who she should collaborate with. Someone in the audience suggested for Billie to collaborate with BTS and while there were fans who screamed, “Yes,” there were people who shouted, “No” and this shocked Billie. In response, she said, “Stop! Oh my god…that’s so mean?! I’mma listen to them. They’re very nice. They’ve said some very nice things about me.”
Every year, BTS continue to grow and has become the most influential group artist worldwide. Currently, they hold 28 world record titles and have been inducted into the Guinness World Records Hall of Fame in September 2021 for their many achievements. In June of this year, they have become the most streamed group on Spotify of all time with over 16.3 billion streams, and that’s only one of the many records they broke. They were the first Korean group to ever top the iTunes Top Songs chart in the United States with their remix of “Mic Drop,” the first K-Pop group to perform on a major U.S. Award show when they performed at the 2017 American Music Awards, making it their U.S television debut, the first K-Pop group to be nominated for a 2017 Billboard Music Award and ended up breaking Justin Bieber’s six-year title of Top Social Artist when BTS bagged the trophy. They were the first K-Pop group to ever win a BBMA as well. As of this year, they have won Top Social Artist for five years in a row. They have won nine American Music Awards including Artist of the Year in 2021. BTS continues to outsell Americans and break records for their songs, albums, social media popularity, and so on.
Whether haters like it or not (obviously not), haters had to see BTS everywhere because of their continuous growth and evolution and that pisses them off, especially because of their xenophobia and crab mentality. Haters hate seeing a group of Korean boys beating U.S. artists and paving the way for other Korean artists.
4. Because RM & Suga left underground rapping and chose to become idols.
RM & Suga were underground rappers. Before RM became the leader of BTS, he was “Runch Randa,” “Largo,” “The Nexist,” and “Stealo,” tearing up the underground hip hop scene. He was also a part of the Black Pirates crew. Before Suga debuted as a BTS member, he was a member of the famous band where he had his short rap career. He used to be an underground rapper by the name Gloss and the hip hop crew he was a part of was called D-Town. Long before RM and Suga became BTS, they were already very passionate about their music. Some fellow underground rappers weren’t happy to see RM and Suga leave underground rapping to join the world of idols who wear shiny clothes, makeup, and dance to upbeat songs.
In an interview with KBH Hiphop Radio in celebration of BTS' first anniversary in 2013, B-Free attacked RM and Suga for quitting their careers as rappers to become K-Pop idols. He made fun of their clothes, make-up, saying they looked like girls, then commented on their music, accusing them of copying Kanye West. For this incident, B-Free became ARMY's public enemy no. 1 and despite his super late apology to BTS, ARMYs will never ever forget what he did. The only reason he apologized after six years was because he was being bombarded with negative comments from ARMYs and he has more dislikes than likes on his James Bond video. That’s not a valid reason to forgive someone who isn’t genuine in his apology. Moreso because his apology came too late.
5. Because they broke stereotypes.
BTS, together with ARMYs have clearly knocked down Western supremacy and broke down stereotypes. Before BTS became a phenomenon, U.S. artists ruled the charts and Hollywood heartthrobs were the girls and women’s ideal type. Well, the world has changed now. K-Pop and other Asian talents are being recognized, and women’s taste in men has changed. At least, ARMYs did. But ARMYs are so widespread and take up a big chunk of the women population, as well as men. We all have now recognized and embraced music despite the language barrier and proved that music transcends languages. We all have now realized that men, just like women, are considered beautiful, not just by their looks, but by their attributes. Imperfections are not considered flaws anymore. They are a person’s identity and they are a sign of being human. ARMYs embraced BTS not only because of their amazing talents, dedication, great looks, but also because of their imperfection.
6. Because of ARMYs.
If there’s someone who protects and supports BTS more than anyone, it’s the ARMYs. But sometimes, ARMYs can be too protective that there may be instances when people think it’s too much. I, for instance, have been a victim of cyber bullying back when I was a newbie ARMY and didn’t know much about BTS. One mistake and I was constantly bombarded with hateful words, making me feel as if I were the worst human to ever live on Earth. ARMYs can be so loving and supportive, in fact, they are the best fandom in the world, but never EVER mess with them. I think that there are haters who don’t really hate BTS, but hate how extra ARMYs can be, especially on social media. Good thing is, I think there are more good ARMYs than the toxic ones.
© 2022 Shey Saints