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BTS: Beyond the Stereotypes

High school can hardly be called a breeze. Becoming a teenager naturally entails the internal conflict of crafting your authenticity while fitting into societal norms. I used to be quite assured in my self-identity until 9th grade, the time when all my peers had grown out of their middle-school skins and sought to be more mature. A flood of insecurities ravaged my mind most of high school, all because my persona failed to level up to others’. I didn’t think I was pretty enough, smart enough, or talented enough. Even if I had achieved something extraordinary, I would dismiss it as “unremarkable.” 

A lack of self-worth can be detrimental, but what truly escalates the dilemma is harboring the dejection within. I struggled to find a person I could confide in about my self-doubts. It always felt like no one would take me seriously because I was “only 15” or “only 16”, and therefore, just young and oversensitive. Others claiming our emotions stem from a war of hormones contributes to the positive-feedback loop of self-loathing. 

Age is not a reason to invalidate someone. We all need people in our lives to tell us “you matter,” “you are appreciated,” and more importantly, “you are allowed to not be ok.”

Saying that there will only be good things from now on

Saying that you won’t get hurt

I can’t say that

I can’t lie like that…

It’s okay come on when I say one two three forget it

Erase all sad memories hold my hand and smile.”

These translated lyrics are from BTS’s 2! 3!, a song dedicated to their beloved fanbase, Army. It encompasses refreshing words about letting go of hurt and moving forward with faith. The most crucial aspect of this song is acknowledging that our pain and obstacles cannot magically disappear, yet they [BTS] will walk the road to healing with us. 

I found out about BTS during the peak of my self-esteem issues. Coincidentally, DNA was the first music video I saw of theirs, a song about destiny bringing two people together. I like to think it was destiny I found them, because without their heartfelt music, I don’t know how I would’ve healed when trying times arose.

Being a 15-year-old Army, many assumed I only stanned BTS for their attractive appearances. Even schoolmates would scoff about their 10-year-old siblings “going crazy” for them. Stereotypes of looking hot, attracting young girls, and being an entity of obsession are commonly associated with boy groups. While handsomeness is not a drawback, it can become an issue if it overrides the creative talent of the artists.

To be transparent, I didn’t consider BTS’s looks at all when becoming an Army. There are hundreds of singers that are physically attractive and make catchy songs, why should I choose BTS over the rest of them? It came down to the depth of their lyrics. 

Time and time again I have heard melodies of love, break-ups, sex, etc, but it felt alleviating to finally hear songs about sadness, fear, motivation, and hope. Whalien 52 has a special place in my heart, their song about the 52-hertz whale that cannot be heard by others of its kind. Using such an astute symbol for loneliness still amazes me to this day.  

Not just in classroom settings, but even on live television, jokes have been passed about BTS only appealing to little girls. The ironic thing is, their lyrics are quite mature, eloquent, and raw enough to transcend all age and gender barriers. Not just lyrics, but their entire discography itself. From their debut album, 2 Kool 4 Skool up till Love Yourself: Answer, the artists have crafted a beautiful journey of the evolution of love, wrapping up the era with the enlightening message of loving yourself first. 

This article isn’t a recruiting attempt into the Army fandom, but rather, to shed light on BTS’s admirable qualities that surpass a typical boy band. Being an Army for 3 years now, I truly believe BTS and their music have brought immense positivity into my life, and I’m sitting here a full-fledged adult! Bangtan Soneyondan knows how to go beyond the scene, beyond the stereotypes, and beyond the standards.

Gayathri is a first-year Biotechnology major and member of the UCD Her Campus Digital Media team. She loves to write, work out, sing, and sleep (college students need more of that nowadays). When not indulging in her boba addiction, she likes to wind down by watching hilarious Youtube vids with a hot cup of tea.
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