BTS is a boy group from Seoul, South Korea, and they’re considered the world’s biggest boy group since they’ve taken the world charts by storm. I’ve been a fan of BTS for about two years now — over the last two years, whenever I tell someone I listen to K-Pop, I get the same judgmental looks (it’s pretty annoying, to tell you the truth). There tends to be a negative stigma around K-Pop stans and K-Pop music in general, and it’s enough to make people who listen to it insecure or apprehensive about sharing their passion publicly. Korean music is still music, and BTS in particular is doing a lot of good for the world and helping a ton of people. Here are some reasons why everyone should give BTS and their music a chance before blindly judging them.
- BTS Advocates for Mental Health Awareness
One of the main reasons people enjoy supporting BTS is because of how much they advocate for mental health and defeat the stigma surrounding it. Not only do they have a series of albums themed Love Yourself, but they've even launched a campaign with UNICEF under the same name, dedicated to relaying the message of what it truly means to love yourself. They’ve also outwardly supported the #ENDViolence campaign, which aims to make sure that youth from around the world live in an environment that is free of violence. Every member from BTS has been open about their own experiences battling mental illness and accomplishing self-love, and it’s been empowering and inspiring for fans who’ve had their own battles with mental illness, such as myself!
- BTS Covers Real World Issues
BTS has openly criticized many social constructs that are active in South Korea and across the globe. In their song “Silver Spoon,” BTS openly criticizes classism, social immobility and the treatment of financially disadvantaged people in today’s society. Through some of their other lyrics and videos, they’ve addressed how harmful the pressure can be on students in the education system, as well as discrimination based on physical appearance. South Korea is the beauty capital of the world, and there's a lot of pressure on young girls to fit the incredibly high standards held by society. BTS has outwardly encouraged their fans to love what they look like instead of changing themselves to be who society wants them to be. By fighting social injustices and inequalities, BTS has continued to empower their audience with their lyrics and actions toward a better world.
- Kim Namjoon’s Impact On The Youth of The World
BTS was invited to the United Nations in 2018, and their leader, Kim Namjoon, spoke up on behalf of BTS — Goodwill Ambassadors of UNICEF — for the launch of the Generation Unlimited Campaign. I highly encourage everyone to watch and listen to his speech after finishing this article, because it’s incredibly inspiring and a message I feel everyone needs to hear. In his speech, he talks about the harm that society can have on the youth of the world, and how important it is to share your story and engage on a path toward self-love. He encouraged his audience to not only love themselves, but to speak out themselves — to fight for what’s right and to tell their story no matter where they’re from, their gender identity, or the color of their skin. This message reached people across the globe, and it’s a message that BTS continues to share through their music and interviews. As a fan, hearing these messages so often keeps me feeling empowered and inspired, and it’s definitely changed my life for the better.
- Break Down Gender Barriers
BTS has never let their gender or society's perception of masculinity steer them from making bold fashion choices. Over the years, BTS has worn countless gender-defying outfits: nail polish, makeup, jewelry, corsets, ruffles, gems, skirts. You name it, BTS has worn it. When asked by Vanity Fair about “what great style is,” Jungkook answered by saying, “Wearing anything you like, regardless of gender.” That mentality has been proven by all of the members. It’s empowering to see these men who have been so beaten down and criticized over the years continue to push the envelope and defy the harmful constructs put in place by society.
- They’ve Worked So Hard And it Shows
Their fame did not come easy. BTS trained for years to finally debut with a company that had barely any money, while tied to long contracts and held under a microscope to the rest of the music world. They trained for years, putting their hearts and souls into their music and their training. Their goal from inception was to debut with the concept of being an honest purveyor of the experience of youth, and that’s what they did — that’s what made them so successful. BTS doesn’t distance themselves from their fans; they show their audience the real and hard parts of their lives. They show the good and bad, and it differentiates them from other idols in the industry. They had to be vulnerable, and they had to work and train hard in extremely difficult circumstances for years.
Now, they give show-stopping performances with long-constructed themes and concepts through different eras that take their fans through perfected storylines. Their music means something, and they express it through fashion, film, dance, lyrics and many other mediums of performance art. BTS keeps things interesting, and they work so hard to impress their audience any chance they can get — and it works! BTS was the first Korean act to ever perform at the Grammy’s and the Billboard Music Awards, and they’re the first South Korean act to ever top the Hot 100.
BTS has not only broken-down cultural barriers, but social stereotypes as well. By doing so, they’ve empowered many people through their music and their influence in day-to-day life. By speaking out about social injustice, inequality and mental health, they’ve challenged the typical narrative given off in South Korea, and they’ve empowered millions of fans across the globe. So, the next time you’re looking for new music, give BTS a chance! And don’t shame people based on their music taste. You never know what someone’s favorite artist means to them, so keep an open mind. Unless they listen to country music. I’m just kidding...Or am I?