As many of you know, AY is a long-time Airen and also a special contributor to this blog. She said she had a one-hour discussion with a student who is a B*T*S fan on what fandom means, and wanted to get this off her chest.
Fandom can be a double-edged sword. Passionate fans can pivot a star to global fame and unlimited possibilities but passion can be irrational; and “overly passionate turned obsession” is dangerous. It can be controlling, restrictive or even damaging.
For BTS, global superstar, they won the hearts of millions of fans through their music, talents and amazing fan service. In turn, their troupe of Army fans empower them to achieve 23 Guinness World Records. If, on the rare occasion, there is any negative press regarding the band or a particular member, the fans, as well as other members, are quick to speak out and protect them. There are 7 of them to share, support and protect one another and they have an efficient and effective management company backing them up.
For Seung Gi, he has to do it alone.
I admit it. When I first heard the news, I was shocked. What timing! Seung Gi has just reached new heights in his acting career with ‘Mouse’. He hadn’t really had time to bask in the accolades when the news broke. Nobody had any idea that it was coming. It was so sudden that for a brief moment, I even thought it was fake news… But wait… isn’t this good news for him, personally and professionally?
Of course, being a fan does not mean that we have to support our star unconditionally. Very often, when a star commits a crime or has done something morally wrong, fans leave. But Seung Gi has done none of these. His ‘crime’ is that he is dating a woman whose stepfather committed a misdemeanour (stepfather–the bad streak is not even in her genes). Seung Gi is 34. Shouldn’t we be happy for him that he has found someone whom he feels comfortable enough to take to see his grandmother? Why the bad press… and the protest? Setting up his own agency is a new challenge. He is seeking new paths to achieve higher goals. What’s wrong with that? Many celebrities have done it. Why not Seung Gi?
I tried to come to terms with the situation. If I were a mother, and my son came home one day and told me he would not work for company A anymore and that he wanted to start his own business, would I disown him? If my son were dating a girl I did not like, would I turn him out of the house?
As LSGfan said, it is understandable that some fans needed a break because it is heart-breaking to see someone you look up to and care about going through so much. But if that is how we feel, can we imagine the pain that Seung Gi is going through? I understand the leaving but I do not understand the badmouthing. Is our support for Seung Gi so fragile that it cannot stand the slightest test? Is our love for him so self-consuming that we cannot respect his wishes and desires? Why did we become Airens in the first place? Because we like his works? Or we like him as the person we see? Or we fit him into the person we want him to be?
Which side of the double-edged sword are we on? Are we out to destroy him and everything that he has built in the last 17 years, just because…? Or are we standing by him as he scales new heights?
And then, last night, I read this on Tryp’s twitter:
Lee Seung Gi’s 20-Day Saga.
LSG who doesn’t have a single scandal & has been widely loved by men and women of all ages just spent 20 days that were more eventful & difficult than any other time since debut…
For those of us who stay, it’s time we come through for him. I appreciate those who try to keep up the support as it was during normal times. But this is not normal time now. We have to do something more to tell him that we are here for him and that we still care. I do not have any specific ideas as to what we can do. Maybe, we can send some words of encouragement to him on the official website, mail him a card, or just send him some flowers. In such difficult time, I am sure any small acts of kindness can bring immense consolation and comfort.
Seung Gi fighting.