Hi! It’s Annie!
I wanted to make a post for anyone who is newer in the fandom, because I can see why becoming an ARMY right now might be stressful. It seems like every day there’s something new happening in the fandom. And not all of those things are positive. So, I wanted to create a friendly guide to how to navigate some of the negative things and, for ARMYs who aren’t so new, I did include some advice for how we can make things more welcoming. Many of these things are stuff we all already do, but a reminder can’t hurt. So, if you’re new and considering getting into BTS, don’t be afraid!
Of everything, this was probably what made me the most apprehensive about joining this fandom. Generally ARMY are not the ones who start Twitter wars. But there are several other fandoms who start Twitter wars after attacking the members of BTS. I wouldn’t be surprised if most people who aren’t even ARMY have seen these before. A while ago a massive group of people attacked Jimin for his style. Obviously, Jimin is amazing and all of their complaints against him were completely unfounded. Lately, the attacking has come from several people accusing BTS of having unfairly gotten the success that they’ve worked so hard for. My sister covered this in her last post. My advice about these Twitter wars is that I would personally stay out of them. The ARMYs who get involved with them for the most part upload nice or random posts about the boys to bury all the negative comments. And this is great! But if you’re an easily stressed ARMY or a new ARMY, I would highly recommend staying off Twitter. I personally have been using social media a lot less and I hear a lot more ARMY are doing this as well. There’s no reason to get into the discourse about American media treating BTS awfully if you can’t mentally handle it right now. The best way to protect them if this stresses you out is to ignore it or bury it so that BTS doesn’t see it. This also brings me to my next point..
Be careful about the BTS merch that you buy. This is also something that became more prevalent recently. This is a point that especially goes for anything American media based surrounding BTS. If you see a magazine with BTS on it while you’re out shopping, the temptation to buy it is there. I know, I’ve felt it. But it wouldn’t hurt to do a quick google search about the magazine and the interview itself first. Many of these magazines are actually pretty insulting towards BTS and are using them to get the money from their fans. I had to learn this lesson the hard way, when I was a baby ARMY I did accidentally purchase a magazine with BTS on it without doing proper research on it first. And the magazine was pretty insulting. Don’t make the same mistake I did! It doesn’t take that long to pull out your phone and do a quick search before deciding whether or not this magazine was respectful enough to earn your money. Thankfully, more and more K-Pop internet shops are refusing to sell pieces that aren’t respectful. Unfortunately, this doesn’t go for companies like your local Target.
I have not been to a BTS concert personally. And I am hoping to get to go to the next concert. I’ve been a fan of BTS for almost a year and a half now, but I know that there are fans who have liked them for much longer than that. And many of those fans were devastated to learn that their concert tickets were made invalid. It was hard enough to get those tickets before this fandom tripled in size. This doesn’t mean that you as a baby ARMY love BTS less or don’t deserve to go to concerts as much as those people do. And if any ARMY who has been in this fandom longer tells you differently, just ignore them. You are not made more or less of a fan by how long you’ve liked BTS or what era you came in on. So be understanding when ARMYs are a little concerned or angry over the concert tickets, but don’t feel like that discounts you wanting to be a part of that purple ocean. Don’t let yourself be bullied into not going to a BTS concert if that’s what you really want.
I absolutely had to mention this because it’s important. There are a lot of ships in this fandom. It’s honestly not surprising. But I would advise you to be able to differentiate between the romantic and friendship shipping. Please remember that they are involved in a culture that may be very different from yours and sometimes things that they do which may look romantic to you isn’t really. And even if it was, it’s not your place to say who should date or who likes who. BTS are not your sims. Shipping them romantically is entirely inappropriate. Shipping them as friends is absolutely ok and adorable. But unless they deliberately say they are in a relationship, don’t assume things. And just because a bunch of ARMYs do it, doesn’t make it right for you to do it. I’m not saying that it’s not ok if members of BTS started dating. I’m saying it’s not ok for you to nose into their personal lives and make things possibly uncomfortable for them.
I know a lot ARMYs who are new want to know everything about the boys. And I mean, EVERYTHING. But please leave their families alone. Their families are not fair game just because the members are in the limelight. Looking up the personal information of people close to them is downright intrusive. Let them have their privacy. And this includes any picture that might be uploaded onto the internet of a member of BTS with their family member. J-Hope’s sister has suffered from this intrusion on her privacy many times in particular. Leave them alone.
We have so many posts on this exact topic that you can check out. Everything from choosing a bias to your bias changing. But there are other things that I wanted to mention that came to my attention more recently. If you ever decide to change your bias, you might see a lot of ARMYs on social media talking about bias loyalty. While many of them don’t directly say that you shouldn’t change your bias, the implication feels there because they talk about how they shouldn’t be wrecked by other members because they want to be loyal to their bias. Please, never take these too seriously. It is entirely ok to change your bias and changing your bias says nothing about you or your sense of loyalty. Keep in mind that you don’t know them personally and as you grow and change as a person with BTS, it’s entirely plausible that your bias will also change. As long as you love all the members, don’t worry about it! And please remember to have fun with it!
This kind of goes for everyone who’s an ARMY, but I do see people who are newer to the fandom doing it more. Please do not go on the social media accounts of Asian men and talk about how much they look like a certain BTS member. There have even been cases where men have been accused of stealing their personalities. This also goes for some idols in South Korea that fans are only beginning to become familiar with. We should not start comparing all Asian men to BTS just because they’re mainstream. It may sound flattering to compare someone to BTS, but doing this really isn’t. Especially if you start accusing people you don’t know of acting too much like a BTS member. You don’t know that person, so how could you possibly know if they’re basing their personality after a member of BTS? And most of the time, I assure you, that isn’t the case.
You might be seeing several fandoms on the internet discouraging ARMY from streaming multiple times or buying multiple albums. Don’t listen to this. They might say that it makes things unfair, but it really doesn’t. Fans enjoying music and buying merch is not wrong. And telling fans how much they can stream and buy is simply ridiculous. It’s what fans do. Stream as many times as you want!
I know some of this might seem obvious, but I figured I’d put it out there. Especially since I’ve started seeing a lot of ARMYs express fear that the recent stresses in the fandom might discourage new people from joining. ARMY was hit with a lot at once, and I totally understand if you are a brand new or even an experienced ARMY who doesn’t quite know how to get out of that stress. My advice would be to take some time off of social media, watch some ‘Run BTS’, and make sure to have fun and relax within this fandom too. Our boys want us to be happy, so stressing out about all of these situations is certainly not what they want. Yoongi even told us to relax after they lost the Grammy! But if you are new, don’t get scared off. This fandom is large and there’s always fun, comforting, and welcoming places within it you can go. Like the Magic Shop for example. People attack ARMY sometimes, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be safe and heard here. Welcome!
See you across the pond!