Break ‘Em: 8 Most Common Misconceptions About the K-pop Industry and Fandom Culture
Mar 24, 2023   •   Edgardo Toledo
8List.ph is published by ID8, Inc.
Mar 24, 2023   •   Edgardo Toledo
The K-pop industry is now a bona fide cultural phenomenon. It purveyed an unprecedented shift in the music scene and started a new wave of entertainment, bringing people together from all walks of life. But sadly, the K-pop community isn’t spared from absurd and stereotypical misconceptions that’ll make your eyes roll. At this point, K-pop fans are tired of hearing them, so we decided to make a compilation to address them once and for all.
Although some think K-pop songs sound the same, countless songs prove otherwise. Wanna dance to a song layered with electropop beats and urban rhythms? There’s “Red Light” by K-pop girl group f(x). You can also add NCT U‘s “The 7th Sense” and INFINITE‘s “The Chaser” under unique playlist anthems that’d get you hooked.
K-pop isn’t a singular genre. K-pop music could range from hip-hop to R&B to rock and roll. In other words, there’s something for everyone out there if people would take the time to explore K-pop’s goldmine of amazing songs.
This offensive statement is usually targeted at male K-pop idols for wearing makeup and clothes that don’t live up to society’s standards of masculinity. And to add to their ignorant takes, these K-pop haters would even go as far as calling them gay. How mature. But for the nth time, one’s sexuality isn’t dictated makeup or clothes. And even if some male K-pop idols exhibit femininity, so what? That doesn’t make them less of a person and artist.
K-pop fandoms have no age, nationality, or gender restrictions — K-pop is for everyone. So, if what’s stopping you from diving into the scene is the stereotype that K-pop is for screaming teenage girls, it’s time you looked past party-pooper opinions and discover a whole new side of music.
Some believe K-pop idols are mass-produced identical robots. Whenever someone makes comments along these lines, a K-pop fan screams in despair somewhere because this isn’t true. K-pop idols don’t look the same — most of them simply pass South Korean beauty standards. (Yes, South Korean beauty standards are incredibly high and rigid, but to its credit, it is evolving to become more inclusive. Also, this is a whole other conversation that deserves its own 8List.)
Sure, K-pop idols will have similarities in their clothes or hairstyles, but that’s just how trends work. You’ll find similarly styled artists in any other culture. Every K-pop idol is distinct and distinguishable from the next one if you make an effort to get to know them.
Take a look at MAMAMOO and BLACKPINK, for example. Would you say they look the same? No!
Here’s a quick tip: Try looking at K-pop idols for longer than a split second.
It’s unfair to call K-pop idols not real artists because it dismisses their years of hard work to reach where they are now. Being a K-pop idol isn’t easy — it’s a demanding career that many start pursuing at a young age. Sure, not all idols write or produce their own music, but they still put effort into making all live performances, songs, or music videos unparalleled masterworks. That in itself makes each K-pop idol an artist.
One, this isn’t true. Second, nobody is in any position to police another person’s spending habits. Collecting K-pop merch is similar to another person’s hobby of collecting Funko Pops or limited-edition sneakers. Being someone who spews hate for how people buy things that make them happy isn’t cool. Let’s be respectful of other people’s hobbies.
Since South Korea is sometimes called the “Cosmetic Surgery Capital of the World”, many foreigners believe that all K-pop artists have had some work done. While some have, not all idols have gone under the knife. Some were naturally born to look like gods and goddesses walking among us (must be nice). And even if they did get plastic surgery, what’s wrong with that? Nobody deserves to be vilified for wanting to improve themselves!
K-pop megastars like Twice, BTS, and BLACKPINK conquering global charts is a clear indication that music transcends language. PSA: You don’t need to be Korean to understand and appreciate K-pop music. Sometimes, all you need is to vibe with the song. Also, Google Translate is free.
Bottom line: The music industry is ever-evolving, and inclusivity only improves it. If K-pop fans bother you for being genuinely adoring fans of artists who speak a different language, don’t you think that seems like a you problem?
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