Dear K-Pop Fans: It’s Time To Come Out Of The Closet

Dear K-Pop Fans: It’s Time To Come Out Of The Closet

By Coleen Ramos. Illustration by Maureen Gonzales

I have a friend who once wanted to retweet a picture of her favorite member of this particular K-Pop idol group. She was having a dilemma on whether or not she’ll retweet it. Of all the things to agonize over—her grades, her friends, her life—she wastes time on a mental debate about exposing her affectionate inclinations towards K-Pop, suffering from a false sense of disapproval from people she thinks actually cares about what she posts. Honestly, it doesn’t matter; it will just get scrolled over along with thousands more like it.

I asked her what the problem was, and I should’ve probably guessed her answer: “Nahihiya ako, eh.”

See, this is the effect that social media has developed. Maintaining that perfect image we molded ourselves into in expense of the uniqueness of the things we like confined us to what people deem as “cool” and “not cool.” It’s always a dichotomy of positives and negatives—K-Pop and non-K-Pop—when we are, in reality, free to choose anything in between. We’re free to love our 4D idols, their random dance plays, the member OTPs and how they’ve evolved from their debut to the present.

It shouldn’t become your skeleton in the closet, hidden by your low self-esteem and conscious image awareness. It deserves more than your hesitancy to express how much you love something people have no reason to hate and make fun of.

It’s not your image or social life that’s at risk, but a whole entertainment culture built on your support and adoration. It depends on you to retweet that picture and blast that new single you can’t yet lipsync to just because you can, and just because you want to.

I get it. It’s K-Pop, and it’s distinctly alien to everything we’ve ever known, heard, and seen. It’s not common to see guys sporting rainbow colored hairdos they change every month, or performing girl group dances and have people liking it (seriously, we like it). They’re hardly the manly men with the likeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but scrawny Michael Ceras with abs.

It shouldn’t become your skeleton in the closet, hidden by your low self-esteem and conscious image awareness. It deserves more than your hesitancy to express how much you love something people have no reason to hate and make fun of.

Haters would hurl the word “gay” for the simple use of guyliner and sparkly outfits and spread it like cancer in the YouTube comments section, and devoted fandoms assemble to do what they do best—making people shut the fuck up.

I understand. You don’t want people looking at you funny, mocking you for your senseless taste in music. Why listen to music that you can’t understand? It’s not like people understood what Rihanna keeps work, work, work, work, working on, but people dig it. Why listen to music you can’t comprehend then? Music is as universal in effect as language can be. Why limit yourself to the usual when the unknown is out there to astound you?

As Billboard said, when it comes to music there’s no objective right or wrong, good or bad, only preferences that creates fans like us making the possibility of K-Pop artists to exist. They won’t be around forever, they will tire, grow old, and reminisce the days they had fans who stood by them when most wouldn’t. Sure, being a K-Pop fan assures an empty wallet and a large loss of memory space (I live for BTS GIFs) but it’s never too lacking in giving us entertainment, variety and fan service. K-Pop has so much to offer, and they’ve become bigger and more appreciated because of us.

Seize it, claim it, or whatever, but don’t ever be ashamed of it.

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