Imagine this scenario: a K-pop idol is being interviewed on a variety program and the host asks, “What is your ideal type?
I’m talking about the idea that fans are actually “dating” their favorite K-pop group.
There are lots of ways K-pop idols create more intimate connections with us; everything from fan names, to songs dedicated to fans, to talking to fans in ways normally reserved for people dating each other.
The result for fans is an emotionally confusing connection to people they may never even meet in person but that feels like a real relationship.
Idols use fan club names as a way to communicate more personally with their fans.
When idols refer to their fans they don’t just say “our fans,” but rather use the specific pet name designated for their specific group, be it Hottest, Baby, Starlight, Angel, or Cassiopeia. While I’m not usually one for overly fan girl behavior, it was hard to keep my composure when Bang Yongguk said “What’s up, my Babyz? Although this is a personal example, it is one that applies to the situation as whole.
The more “girly” the fan name the more it gets used as a term of emotional endearment as opposed to a simple description. If fan names weren’t designed to sound endearing and weren’t used as intimate pet names there wouldn’t be an emotional reaction to statements like this.Angel and Baby are two examples of fan names that are also common pet names in the West, which makes it even more difficult to separate the emotions that get invoked when being called “baby” by your real life boyfriend versus your K-pop bias. It becomes a collective consciousness of sorts for fans that identify as a Baby.Every fan feels like the idol is talking to them personally instead of referring to a fan group that includes thousands and thousands of people.Releasing a song that is specifically dedicated to fans is another way idols keep the connection between themselves and their fans strong.There isn’t necessarily a song like this on every album but when one is released it is sure to be popular among the more die-hard fans.Some examples of these songs by boy groups include “Angel” by Teen Top, “Eternity” by U-Kiss, “You’re My +” by MBLAQ, and “Starlight” by VIXX.