Fan wars have existed for as long as Kpop has been around. These feuds between fans of different groups are proving to have a negative impact on an already misunderstood community.
These notorious online arguments can be about anything, like which group is best, or which fanbase works the hardest. Either way, fans get caught up in competing with each other.
The trend of putting each other down to try and to promote one group or artist over another is extremely toxic. The most recent example is the bickering between fans of BTS (ARMY) and BLACKPINK (BLINKs). Both groups have released new songs, provoking the two fanbases to stop at nothing to declare their group’s superiority.
BLACKPINK’s “How You Like That” has set a new overall record for fastest Korean group music video to reach 80 million views on YouTube at 23 hours, a record which was previously held by BTS’s “Boy With Luv” at 24 hours and 40 minutes.
Both ARMYs and BLINKs have responded to this by comparing the two groups, with both fandoms throwing out accusations of plagiarism and online chart manipulation (sajaegi). While it’s perfectly normal to feel upset when another group is breaking records that were previously set, the way that fandoms attack each other is totally unacceptable.
From outright bullying to death threats, fans are tarnishing the reputation of Kpop by demonstrating an unwillingness to accept others feelings and thoughts.
It’s difficult enough for Kpop community. Misunderstood by the Western media, ‘credible outlets’ have recently been posting depictions that infantilise and reinforce stereotypes of Kpop fans. The mainstream media has worsened the conflict by pitting the two groups against each other. By writing inflammatory headlines, creating polls and other means or comparison, the media continues to incite intolerance amongst fans.
Instead of bickering amongst each other, fandoms ought to work as a collective force to change these negative views. Fans should be directing this energy towards supporting their favourites, without feeling the need to bash others. A little competition is healthy, but not when it reaches such extremes.