There’s no question that Kpop idols and groups are becoming global celebrities. They’re breaching borders worldwide by dominating international music charts, appearing on your local news programs, and even collaborating with artists from all around the world.
Consequentially there’s been a huge influx of new Kpop fans. The hottest YouTubers are now reacting to Kpop music videos for the first time, and places like Hot Topic and Forever 21 are selling Kpop-themed pieces. With all this new hype, it’s safe to say the genre is steadily losing its stigma of being “weird” and is becoming the new global trend.
As a fairly seasoned Kpopper, it’s almost nostalgic to see the comments and questions from new fans. So, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and relive the confusion, excitement, questions, reactions, and obsession that overtook us all when becoming a Kpop fan.
Here are some common Kpop characteristics that may have initially taken you by surprise:
The Guys All Wear Make-Up
Unless you’d already known about the full face slayage, seeing a boy group with eye-makeup and other cosmetics popularly reserved for girls could have been a shocker. Now I’ve never been one to judge, but discovering an ENTIRE industry where many heterosexual men casually wore makeup like it was just another Tuesday made me question my entire existence as a female. Honestly, who is that pretty in real life?
Even as veteran fan, I still ask myself how idols can be so manly while working fierce winged liners and sultry smokey eyes— things generally considered feminine. And most importantly, how do I get that same fierce perfection? How?
Large Groups Are Super Common
Because my first Kpop MVs were of Big Bang and 2ne1, I was under the impression that Kpop groups were similar to western groups, primarily consisting of 4-5 members.
Then I discovered the magic show that was EXO’s “Call Me Baby.” Members were popping out from everywhere— cars, couches, and even what seemed like thin air. Eleven members just felt too unnatural. Seriously! Some had to be backup dancers!
After watching others reacting to the video, it was clear my reaction was a common one. New fans are almost always surprised when groups have more than 5 members. For most, Kpop is their first encounter with groups of this magnitude.
However, now that I’m a seasoned Kpop fan, groups like I.O.I, Seventeen, and TWICE feel like a normal amount of members. For us, the more the merrier! Honestly when a group consist of five members or less, there’s almost a lacking feeling in my opinion.
Ships, OTPs, and Bromances
After seeing something as alluring as Kpop for the first time, naturally you’d want to hear about other’s opinions and reactions. Curiosity leads you to the comment sections on videos and articles, where you search for people who share your confusion, intrigue, or even distaste.
What I found under my first GOT7 video had absolutely nothing to do with the MV, but had everything to do with whether Markson, Jinson, or Markjin was the better couple.
It didn’t take long to unveil that fans “ship” members together, meaning they are supportive/approving of fictional couples within the group. Said couples had specific names, videos, and even merch dedicated to their bromances.
Honestly, this was just another addition to the “WTH” file I was mentally composing on the subject of Kpop. However, as I watched and observed groups’ interactions, I found myself slowly beginning to ship my own favorite couples too.
Today, as an intellectual, I know that Markson is life, JJP is real, and GotBangtanX needs their own variety show!
Even with all its quirky components, Kpop continues to thrive worldwide. It’s a genre that transcends even its own country’s borders, and easily captivates audiences from various demographics. Whether you’re a newer fan or just getting started completely, we welcome you!
For most fans, it’s more than just a genre, it’s a way of life. It offers a connection to people you would’ve otherwise never known. It’s a community of the craziest, most dedicated, and above all, the most accepting group of people you will ever meet.
Now there’s a ton more that made us all furrow our brow when we first got into Kpop! So stay tuned for a continuation of my list, and let us know what some of your own “OMG” moments and thoughts were as a new Kpop fan!
LizzySKpop is a WTK writer who stans GOT7 above all things in life and loves to try Korean beauty products. She also enjoys the music of MONSTA X. BTS, BIGBANG, and many more. Although she is pretty new to the Kpop world, she is already a hardcore fan and finds more groups every day to love. No matter what though, she will always love GOT7 the most and constantly relives the moments when she was able to see them up close and personal like at a hi-touch events and a personal Skype session! She is proud aunt that has spread the love of Kpop to her nieces as well.
Media: BigHit, SMTOWN, Arirang, YG