K-Pop: Common Misconceptions About Monsta X

Promotional image of (from left) Sohn Hyunwoo (Shownu), Im Changkyun (I.M), Lee Minhyuk (Minhyuk), Lee Jooheon (Joohoney), Yoo Kihyun (Kihyun), and Chae Hyungwon (Hyungwon). Copyright goes to Starship Entertainment, Monsta X, and Monsta X’s social media.

Hi! It’s Annie!

As my first post about Monsta X made obvious, I have been being pulled further into being a Monbebe and I am not sad about this at all. Monsta X has some pretty good music. I have to thank the compilations of these boys just being genuine and kind for winning me over a little more. When most people familiar with Monsta X on a surface level hear their name, genuine and kind is probably not the first words that pop into their head. These boys have the reputation of being the bad boys of K-Pop. They are known mostly for being intimidating and sexy, and their stages and wardrobe keep to this image. But upon further inspection, I’ve found these boys to be very sweet. If any group needs a common misconceptions post, it’s probably them.

Shownu is Scary:

The two members most well known for taking off their shirts are Wonho and Shownu. This image also garners a certain reputation. Especially because both men are so muscular. In an episode of ‘Monsta X Ray’ when the boys were helping at a daycare, one of the kids took one look at Shownu and burst into tears. But Shownu is the group teddy bear. He’s probably the most awkward in social situations and he’s known for his gentle nature. Remember the kid I was talking about before who burst into tears at the sight of Shownu? By the end of the daycare day he gave Shownu a kiss after Shownu spent the entire day trying to prove himself. Have you heard of anything so adorable? Another misconception often attributed to Shownu is that he isn’t a good leader, but this is generally only based on the fact that I.M leads English interviews. If you think the best English speaker should always be leader, you should really revisit that opinion. It’s entitled at best.

Minhyuk is the Maknae:

It would surprise many people to know that, the way the group is now, Minhyuk is actually the second oldest of the group. He is only younger than Shownu. Minhyuk generally has the brightest fashion sense of everyone else in the group and definitely has the most lighthearted personality. Minhyuk is the type to immediately get along with children or brighten up the moods of everyone else in the group. It’s difficult to find non-photoshoot pictures of Minhyuk where he’s not smiling. While Minhyuk seems like the youngest at first glance, he is older than most of the other members in the group and if you watch him after a while it becomes more apparent. Minhyuk may be a bit of a prankster, but that doesn’t make him irresponsible. Even if he is the messiest one.

Kihyun is Extroverted:

Kihyun is the mom of the group in the same way that Shownu is the dad. Kihyun is the one that appears to be most friendly when first watching them and because of his openness, many people confuse him for being an extrovert. Kihyun is also known for being very confident in his looks and his abilities which also makes people assume he’s more people-oriented. But Kihyun is a self described home-body and much prefers being at home and spending time cooking and cleaning to many other outside activities. Yes, he is very caring and he will single handedly football tackle the patriarchy. (Kihyun has condemned privileged male behavior on multiple occasions.) But being friendly doesn’t necessarily also mean extroverted.

Hyungwon Doesn’t Care:

Hyungwon is known for his model looks and his tallness, which added together makes for a pretty intimidating looking person at first glance. Hyungwon is also known for his meme faces and sass, he’s one of the members who has the least qualms with cussing, and he very much values his alone time and sleep. I’ve seen people look at Hyungwon and assume that he’s the least connected and he doesn’t care as much about the members. None of this is correct in any way. If you watch Hyungwon around the members, he’s one of the most smiley and giggly of them all. He has extremely close relationships with every single one of the members and also gives excellent advice. He may be difficult to wake up, but he’s also one of the designated drivers of the group and an excellent songwriter. He’s actually a DJ too! Hyungwon is just as hardworking and caring as the others.

Joohoney Just Makes You Anxious:

Yes, that was a really bad reference to ‘Love Killa’. And, you know what, by all means he does make me anxious. One of my initial introductions to the group was the ‘Love Killa’ MV and I was immediately intimidated by him. He had an intense presence in that MV. So imagine my surprise when I looked everything up even more and he was one of the sweetest members of the group. Like honey, hence his name. Joohoney is just as adorable as he is intimidating. If you didn’t know better, you might also think he’s the maknae. He’s also the member most likely to use pet names for the other members in the group. Joohoney is definitely not one to be afraid of. He’s as sweet as his name suggests and just as funny and smiley. Most of your anxiety will come from trying not to fall in love with him.

I.M is Serious All the Time:

I.M is also one of the members that comes off as super intimidating. And to be honest, I.M has been forced to be serious in several ways. ‘Monsta X’ as a group was formed on a show called ‘No Mercy’, which was exactly as the title suggests. The members were pitted against each other, and many of them didn’t like each other at first. But everyone was against I.M more than anyone else because he joined halfway through the show after several eliminations already happened. He was forced to train and grow up fast and he also leads most English interviews on top of all that. While he is blunt and also has writing credits on most of their songs, he’s also just as soft as the other members. He’s the maknae and though he may not look like it, he is treated by the others as such. He definitely has a cute and silly side that comes out with the other members.


I am always on the fence as to whether or not to add Wonho to these things. In my eyes and in the eyes of many of the fans, he will always be a part of Monsta X. And his removal from the group still feels very unfair. But I also want to respect the fact that Wonho is a solo artist now and I want to treat Monsta X as a group the way they are now as well. Many people treat Monsta X as though it is forever broken without Wonho and I’m not sure any of the boys in the group or Wonho would want anyone to view the group as that. So, unless I’m talking about something that Wonho is specifically in or I feel like I should be talking about him in a specific situation, I am not going to include him in some of my general group posts. Yes, he should still be in the group by all means. But I respect his choice to leave and he’s actually doing pretty well for himself right now. I hope his career keeps getting better! Let me know if this decision bothers anyone or if I should be handling this in a different way.

The boys are so adorable and have such a close relationship with each other. They also are known for their kindness once you start looking within the K-Pop community. Monsta X has stood for rookie groups when no one else was supporting them, refused to let their fans or staff brave the rain, vocally supported the LGBTQIA community, spoke against the way men treat women, painted their nails or worn bracelets for important causes, and over-all shown that they care for the community. Don’t be scared off by the bad boy imagery. These boys are some of the softest and most genuine in the industry.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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