One of the things that truly gets my goat is when someone makes an off-hand remark about something I adore. Music in general and Kpop, in particular, are weirdly personal. There are plenty of groups that I enjoy simply because their music hits a sweet spot. However, there are those that I love with a genuine intensity. It’s a different kind of relationship than what I have with the people in my day-to-day life, obviously, but that doesn’t make it any less real. So when someone – be they a friend, run in the same circles as me, or just someone I happen to be around – says something negative because they think they’re being funny or makes pointed remarks about individual members or the unit as a whole, accurate or not, I get very, very defensive.
None of us knows the bond that anyone else has developed with any group out there. Nor do we know how our relationships will change as we move through our own particular musical journey. It’s like KpopontheDL always says, sometimes you stare at the member you dislike so much that they end up your ultimate bias. It’s 100% ok to have your own opinions about individuals or groups, songs or albums, and to express them in a respectful manner. In this world of different styles and tastes, in a hobby that relies so heavily on personal chemistry to bond with a group, it is never ok to say that something is terrible or that a particular idol doesn’t deserve to be in a group. We all should have learned way back when we were children that personal attacks are cruel and unnecessary. We don’t make people feel good by saying something sucks.
I have been on the receiving end of this type of teasing and it doesn’t feel good. I’ve watched friends have their favorite artists disparaged by oblivious acquaintances more interested in having a laugh or sharing an opinion than understanding the impact of their barbed comments. I am also positive that I have thoughtlessly doled out my own fair share of crappy remarks, but in the last couple of years, I have been working to get better about it. It helps that my KB and I have sometimes shockingly different tastes in music – my favorite song on a comeback will often be her least preferred. The song she chooses as her anthem will likely not get the same reaction from me. And that is completely and totally cool with us. But notice how I said it – least preferred and a different reaction. I didn’t say that her favs were bad. They just aren’t necessarily to my taste. It’s not a big deal if we don’t feel the same about something, but it is a big deal how we communicate that. We aren’t perfect – always learning and getting better – but we are certainly at a point where either of us can state ‘that was a shitty thing to say’ and rather than get pissed, we reflect on ourselves. At least, we strive to be that mature.
I guess what I’m trying to get across here is that we all should be watching what we say when we’re being critical. When we’re in big chat groups or writing comments on articles we should be thinking twice about the adjectives we’re using and we should refrain from making harsh judgments unless we can guarantee that we’re in a safe space with someone that isn’t going to be unnecessarily hurt. It’s like everything else in life – we don’t know who we’re insulting when we make jokes about mental health or physical appearance – and we don’t know who loves the song or the idol we just ragged on. This is exactly why fandoms get bad reputations.
For instance, BlackPink, a super talented, absolutely gorgeous girl group on YG – full of girl power vibes and high fashion styling – isn’t actually to my taste. I recognize the effort they put into what they’re doing and I can see, without any question, why they’ve become so popular so quickly. I know why folks love them. They just aren’t the girl group for me. I shouldn’t make someone feel like garbage for loving them and I shouldn’t be made to feel like trash because I don’t. Just because we are so far removed from Korea and from our Kpop loves doesn’t make it any less impactful for many of us. I think this physical separation and the anonymity of the internet that we’ve all become too comfortable with have falsely informed our perception of what’s acceptable in dialogue. Sharing your opinion doesn’t have to be a dick move if you do it right.
Kill This Love, BlackPink