In the wake of the interviews and some of the American media chatter surrounding BTS, there is one thing that keeps showing up over and over that grates on my nerves. The US media is insistent on portraying BTS fans as a mass of screaming teenage girls. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of teenagers in the ARMY fandom, and that’s fine! In fact, I have gotten to know a lot of great young people through being an ARMY, but I want to take a moment to set the record straight. We are not only teenagers caught up in a fad.
If I’m being honest, most of my ARMY friends are over the age of twenty-five. Being a somewhat older fan myself (28) is part of that, but the diversity of ARMY goes beyond my preferences. BTS has a lot of songs that encourage personal growth, moving on past failure and defying standards set by society in order to pursue a life that is meaningful. These kinds of messages reach beyond age, beyond language, and across every culture. They are relatable and express genuine messages of encouragement that people of all ages and backgrounds can connect with.
Just after their rounds in America, ARMY who were also annoyed with the media portrayal of the fandom started a hashtag on Twitter. #BTSIsNotYourAverageBoyBand trended for a while and I was impressed by the variety of people sharing their stories about why BTS was important to them. Tweets came in many languages, from all over the world. I saw posts from fanboys, parents, doctors, teachers, students and many others. A lot of adult fans shared their gratitude towards BTS for helping them through loss, anxiety, depression, and loneliness. These are real problems that we face, and through the ARMY fandom, people have been able to connect with others who have shared similar struggles. The diverse tweets show that through their music, BTS can reach out to people all over the world and bring them together. It also shows that despite what the media thinks, ARMY is not just here to scream over cute boys (though most of us are guilty of that anyway).
The benefit for BTS is a massive outpouring of support for things like fan voting, album sales, views and plays for their content. Fans show gratitude by working together across the globe to support them in constant, impressive displays of unity and strength. Because of the group’s encouragement and inspiring words to their fans, ARMY have been determined to show the same support right back. The impact has propelled BTS to heights that once seemed far out of reach. People always say ARMY is the most ‘extra’ fandom when it comes to doing The Most to spread the word about BTS, but it’s clearly working. A diverse fan base proves that BTS is not just ‘the new hot thing’ and that they have an appeal that carries across all cultures. With BTS and ARMY working together, they are taking the entire world by storm, and have found a very big part of the key to success in international music scenes.
Are you an ‘older’ ARMY who is also totally over the misconceptions about the fandom? Let’s continue to work hard to show who ARMY really are! Tell us what made you fall in love with BTS in the comments below!