Monday, 4 June 2012

Call me.....Noona?

Firstly, I want to apologise for not writing in ages! I've had my end of year university exams, my 19th birthday and I've also just moved to Switzerland and I'll be leaving to go to Korea this Friday so I've been busy! 

Popping "K-pop" into google brings up various search items, among them is a definition in the Urban Dictionary (who doesn't love the Urban Dictionary!?) which defines "k-pop" as the following;

"An enjoyable music genre from South Korea in which crazy fangirls tend to claim guys as theirs and become suicidal when they learn their "Oppa" has a girlfriend he loves and does not care about said fangirl. " 

Crazy K-Pop fans! 
Now, while the above definition is a rather amusing generalization, it was the "fan-girl" comment that got me thinking. I won't lie to you. Continuing on the "defining" path, I would quite happily hold my hands up and define myself as a "K-pop fan". 

Before I get stuck into this blog post, I would like to clarify myself as a fan of the music rather than the idols themselves. I admire them for the effort and practice they put in to produce the music I spend hours of my life listening to but after this, I draw the line. I am not a "fan-girl". I have no interest in stalking the idols nor knowing their lives inside-out. If I meet them, it's cool. If not, I'm equally not bothered. 

However, I know for a fact that I am probably part of the minority. There are huge numbers of "fan-girls" who devotedly follow the lives of their idols and the number of times I've seen Korean song MVs on Youtube and scrolled down to the comments to see pages and pages of "OMG I LOVE -------! HE'S TOTALLY MINE~~OPPA!! I LOVE YOU!!!!", which is....fine, a little scary, but fine. 

I was chatting to some older female friends of mine a while back and we were talking about K-pop, boy bands, favourite members etc...and some of my friends, to my surprise, became quite vocal and possessive of the members they liked. 

I walked away wondering "When does it no longer become acceptable to 'fan' over K-pop group members?". 

It's common knowledge that older male fans make up a large segment of the audience of female groups, take SISTAR, for example, who are famed for their army of Ajusshi fans! A trip to Inkigayo while SNSD had their comeback with "Genie!" was terrifying and intriguing    at the same time as I stood in the face of an army of males SONES of different ages, united by their one love: SNSD.

But what about the girls? Do the same rules apply? Or is K-pop a different ball game altogether? 

Out of curiosity, I decided to make a list of some of the boy bands on my Itunes and find out exactly how old they were! The somewhat shocking results are shown below. I was born on 25/05/1993 and I celebrated my 19th birthday last week, leaving me older than a rather large portion of the currently promoting idols! 

(Artist Name - (No.Younger than me/No. of Members))

Teen Top - (5/6) 

Shinee - (1/5) 
U-Kiss - (1/7) 
B.A.P (4/6)  
B1A4 (1/5)
Boyfriend (5/6) 
Exo-K  (2/6)
Infinite (1/7)
Led Apple (2/6)
Nu'Est (4/5)

With these bands all ranking in my 'Top 25 Most Played', I was pretty surprised. Suddenly, I'm finding it a little difficult to take some of their songs seriously. When Boyfriend promises to protect me in 'I'll Be There", I sigh a little and think, with 5 of you being substantially younger than me, shouldn't it be the other way around?
 I look at Zelo of B.A.P who, at 15 years old is younger than my younger sister, and think "Sweetie, you're no warrior" ...
B.A.P's Zelo - It's nothing personal.....
 the 'tough guy/oppa' image that all the entertainment companies have been carefully cultivating slowly crumbles. 

There is obviously the other slightly  controversial aspect that at 15,16,17 years old...most of these guys are sitting quite nicely under legal when I hear my friends in their late-20s claiming ownership (even in jest) of these younger guys...I do feel a tad awkward! 

I guess it's just different as in the Western music industry, there is generally more focus on the music than idolising the artist - not to say there aren't people who pry into their lives but just not in the same way. 

Is it just me? Is this just a Korean thing that I should look past and see as perfectly acceptable? 

Should I just willingly accept my .... 'Noona-fan status'???

Well, until I have completed internally debating this issue, I will be returning to the likes of F.Cuz, Super Junior, Block B, B2ST,  Dalmation,Exo-M and U-Kiss (minus Dongho); all of whom are older than me, all of whom retain 'Oppa' status!   

My personal bias: U-Kiss. All of whom remain my 'Oppas'....except Dongho. Sorry Dongho. 

Wonderful stuff! 

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