Honestly, people. This whole dating on instagram thing is completely made up by some stupid fans who couldn’t stand to see their bias be with anyone else but their fans. Because we’re really all going to get married to our biases one day, right?
Okay, so he wrote EXO like ExO. Does that…
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In a modern society, a relationship announcement is supposed to be a moment worth celebrating, one that marks a future of loving, lifetime companionship between two individuals through experiences of happiness, support and compassion. While few individuals realistically have the gall to argue against the positives of true love, that doesn’t stop a small and radical segment of the K-pop community from turning these precious moments of joy into something no short of monstrous.
It’s been less than a day since news broke of Girls’ Generation member Taeyeon’s relationship with EXO-K’s Baekhyun, and yet the two SM label mates have already been embroiled in a ridiculous and non-existent “controversy” fueled by jealousy, laughable “evidence”, and utter idiocy. Unsurprisingly, some fans have put their lunatic minds spewing pure hatred directed at the couple, while others have begun concocting loony conspiracy theories of covert pictures and messages with the intent to ridicule them.
Enter the Exhibit A, an collection of horrifying expressions of shock, insult and bewilderment by Netizens. We’ve retracted all credits because of the obvious.
“Please baekhyun is gay don’t dating with him ;-;”
“Hello Baekhyun I don’t think I can trust you anymore kekekekeke I was really happy when you made an Instagram to communitcate with us. I accepted each photo that you uploaded with a kind heart. But, it was beacuse of your date[?].. If I look at it now, it seems so obvious. I feel so bad that I wasn’t able to notice it earlier. How funny was it to watch your fans? Now I know what they mean when they say you feel a smirk appearing keke But, crying at the same time? I am really upset and my heart hurts; I’m scared that because of this issue the other members might feel the same way as you.. It’s just that I feel bad for all the fans like me who believed in you, all of them [fans] must feel the same way. In order to see whe true fans, an issue like this would’ve had to happen. Compared to the Byun Baekhyun that I used to know, I feel a sense of unjustness[?] keke You did this because you were happy, as a lover[?] I have nothing to say just be happy kekeke I have decided not to be surprised by you anymore.”
“I am very disappointed in you and I’m crying. But, it was really obvious. I guess you really wanted to tell people you two were dating. Now that I think about it, it was useless making an Instagram, buying your albums, and voting for you.”
“This is why I don’t fangirl over celebrities. They end up betraying you in the end.”
“Wow, Baekhyun-ah… I really feel betrayed by you. How could you do this…”
“Hasn’t been that long since I joined the fandom but I’m leaving now~ I don’t care that he’s dating but the fact that he made a joke out of his fans like that”
“Soshi will be at a clear downfall from here on out. Experts said it before that Taeyeon was their last hope.. ㅋㅋ I think it’s time for SM to prepare a new girl group.”
Many hailed 2014 as the year when Korean idols and actors could be open about their relationships, and it had certainly appeared to be a dream come true. New Years Eve brought us the news that fellow SNSD member Yoona and the “nation’s son” Lee Seung Gi were dating. In May, Brown Eyed Girls member Ga In and actor Joo Ji Hoon also widely showed off their affection after their dating rumors had been confirmed as well. The list went on and on, each new relationship representing a shining milestone in the advancement towards the freedom to love.
In stark contrast, the case of Taeyeon and Baekhyun doesn’t fill the narrative of progress. K-pop media often attempts to amplify of the views of extremist groups of minority fans for the purpose of shamelessly spiking web traffic, and shout day after day about worthless “scandals” relating to celebrities, credible or not. Now that a megaphone has been provided, we have essentially opened the door to allow Internet trolls to hijack and destroy what K-pop’s main focus is: to make us united and happy.
In the Asian world, celebrities are often treated differently from their counterparts in the West. In the United States or Britain, any story of two celebrities dating wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow, with readers weary of the constant onslaught of relationship gossip. We’ve already had a righteous debate on privacy laws for celebrities and the ethics of the paparazzi. We’ve already had our discussions on which media outlets to believe in, and whether having revenue-hungry corporations delivering useless garbage to our eyes is a good idea. South Korean society, evidently, has not.
Yes, in South Korea, a relationship means a massive media whirlwind of full-blown faux outrage, with broken-hearted Netizens and ratings-desperate media bombarding the masses with screams of bombastic rage. Even two idols being seen casually hanging out together are sure to face the brunt of an immense Internet hate campaign.
The partial root of the problem, no doubt, can be traced back to the world’s biggest K-pop labels. Idols and groups are packaged such a way that they are presented, not as people, but as a polished product completely at the mercy of the fans. Constantly in the public eye, they are exposed and humiliated, with every single event of public drunkenness, criminal history, or romantic background dissected, their souls torn apart by hoards of Internet animals.
In this case, many directed their outrage at Taeyeon, accusing her of violating unwritten “rules” mandating that K-pop idols (and their social media accounts) belong to fans and to fans only, regardless of personal situations. Not only is this a hypocritical demonstration of selfishness, but it also highlights the concern that many have become dangerously, almost pathologically obsessed and overly-emotional about their idols. If fans can block who Taeyeon can communicate with on social media, doesn’t that show a gross restriction of free speech?
And yet regardless of this, Taeyeon apologized to the extremists, saying in the comments section of her Instagram account:
“Sone. You were very surprised and hurt because of me today, right..I’m so sorry for making you feel feelings that you didn’t have to, and the news that came out today because I wasn’t a bit more careful. I really wanted to apologize. I’m really sorry for hurting you..I think you feel many different feelings, like disappointment, anger, hatred, frustration, and dejection..I can accept it all and I want to apologize because, I don’t know if it’s just what I think, but you must have liked, trusted, supported, and put just as much effort and strength [into me] as well.No matter what I say right now, it could all be interpreted differently..I’m not trying to explain myself, I just want to say something so that you can stop getting hurt at least one day earlier..about the things I post on Instagram, for which I had absolutely no such intentions. Things like, ‘I must have enjoyed posting such obvious pictures,’ and ‘I ridiculed the fans.’ There seems to be a lot of people who think this way so I wanted to let you know that was never my intention or goal..”
So what can we learn from this experience? That it’s clearly time for a permanent reduction in the word “scandal” when we describe two idols being caught together when out in public, and it’s time for the media top stop giving a megaphone for complete morons to express their views. Is it scandalous for members of the opposite gender to be friends and hang out together? Is it morally reprehensible for a woman to date a man who is younger than her? Does anyone think that relationships should be separated by age, race, and country of origin? The close-mindedness is simply mind-blowing.
Finally to Taeyeon (and Baekhyun), this is for you. There is no need to apologize to your fans for loving and caring about another human being. By offering public statements, you are only fueling the venomous fire that radical fans feed on, which only translates into more hate being directed against you and your partner. Stand strong, express your independence, keep on smiling, and you’ll eventually weather the storm.
As to all you haters, who feed on suffrage and rage, who have no lives nor care to realize the rights of others, and who ever so desperately fuel false controversies with poorly-written comments riddled with grammar and spelling errors to satisfy your selfishness, I have a message for you: Shut up. It’s simply the only way to get us to stop laughing at your insanity.
By Andrew Peng and Eric Tang