‘Maybe if she stanned …’: Reinforcing fan identities and affirming positive fan-object relations through toxic practices in K-Pop fandom | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 10, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN: 2046-6692
  • E-ISSN: 2046-6706

Abstract

This article proposes an analysis of a specific form of toxic fan practice within Korean pop (K-Pop) music fandoms, discussing the role these toxic discourses play in the formation and affirmation of positive fan identities. The specific toxic practices that will be discussed occur in response to the personal tragedies of others, frequently where suicide or attempted suicide is involved. In particular, this article focuses on the ways in which certain K-Pop fans target the personal tragedies of others as a means of reinforcing a positive relation to their fan-object. Crucially, the tragedies these toxic behaviours are directed towards are not immediately related to the fandom or fan-object, and these aggressive fan behaviours are largely unprovoked. This ‘Maybe if she stanned …’ phenomenon serves to express the superiority of fan communities by asserting their distance from the suffering of others, as well as the redemptive qualities of their fan-object. I argue that these toxic fan practices function as a means of reaffirming the righteousness of a particular fandom, and this righteous toxicity is itself the result of the K-Pop industry’s valorization of an emotionally heightened form of fan devotion, as well as a changing online fan environment. In doing so, I hope to demonstrate how toxic fan practices arise as self-affirming meaning-making discourses within fan communities.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1386/jfs_00063_1
2023-05-08
2024-05-19
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Anon. ( 2019a;), ‘ CupcakKe gets called racist slurs by knetz. ’, Allkpop, 11 October, https://www.allkpop.com/forum/threads/cupcakke-gets-called-racist-slurs-by-knetz.340703. Accessed 4 February 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Anon. ( 2019b;), ‘ Felicite Tomlinson: Teen sister of One Direction star died of accidental drug overdose. ’, Sky News, 11 September, https://news.sky.com/story/felicite-tomlinson-teen-sister-of-one-direction-star-died-of-accidental-drug-overdose-11806975. Accessed 27 January 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Bergado, G.. ( 2017;), ‘ BTS fans are outraged with CupcakKe over her comments about Jungkook. ’, Teen Vogue, 6 November, https://www.teenvogue.com/story/bts-cupcakke-jungkook-tweets. Accessed 28 January 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bourdieu, P.. ( 1986;), ‘ The forms of capital. ’, in J. Richardson. (ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, Westport, CT:: Greenwood;, pp. 1729.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Brand, S.. ( 2017;), ‘ Marketing K-Pop and J-Pop in the 21st century. ’, honours thesis, Carlisle, PA:: Dickinson College.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Busse, K.. ( 2013;), ‘ Geek hierarchies, boundary policing, and the gendering of the good fan. ’, Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, 10:1, pp. 7391.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Cameron, K.. ( 2018;), ‘ Toxic regulation: From TV’s code of practices to “#Bury Your Gays”. ’, Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, 15:1, pp. 114.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Cavicchi, D.. ( 1998), Tramps Like Us: Music and Meanings among Springsteen Fans, New York:: Oxford University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Chadwick, V.. ( 2018), In Search of Elvis: Music, Race, Art, Religion, London:: Taylor and Francis;.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Chen, S.. ( 2016;), ‘ Cultural technology: A framework for marketing cultural exports: Analysis of Hallyu (the Korean wave). ’, International Marketing Review, 33:1, pp. 2550.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Dodson, P. C.. ( 2018;), ‘ The BTS army is using #BlackARMYsMatter to call out racism and harassment within the fandom. ’, Teen Vogue, 14 May, https://www.teenvogue.com/story/bts-army-using-blackarmysmatter-to-call-out-racism-harassment-within-fandom. Accessed 4 February 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Doss, E.. ( 1996), Elvis in the Public Sphere: Fans, Faith, and Cultural Production in Contemporary America, Odense:: Center for American Studies;.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Glynn, B., and Kim, J.. ( 2017;), ‘ Life Is Beautiful: Gay representation, moral panics, and South Korean television drama beyond hallyu. ’, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 34:4, pp. 33347.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Goodman, L.. ( 2015;), ‘ Disappointing fans: Fandom, fictional theory, and the death of the author. ’, Journal of Popular Culture, 48:4, pp. 66279.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Guerrero Pico, M.,, Establés, M. J., and Ventura, R.. ( 2018;), ‘ Killing off Lexa: “Dead lesbian syndrome” and intra-fandom management of toxic fan practices in an online queer community. ’, Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, 15:1, pp. 31133.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Haasch, P.. ( 2018;), ‘ “Stan Loona”, the meme sparked by a Korean girl group, explained. ’, Polygon, 21 August, https://www.polygon.com/2018/8/21/17720156/stan-loona-meme-twitter-debut-kpop-explained. Accessed 27 January 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Hills, M.. ( 2002), Fan Cultures, London:: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group;.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Hills, M.. ( 2018;), ‘ An extended foreword: From fan doxa to toxic fan practices?. ’, Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, 15:1, pp. 10526.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Jindra, M.. ( 1994;), ‘ Star Trek fandom as a religious phenomenon. ’, Sociology of Religion, 55:1, pp. 2751.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Jung, S.. ( 2012;), ‘ Fan activism, cybervigilantism, and othering mechanisms in K-Pop fandom. ’, Transformative Works and Cultures, 10, https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2012.0300.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Kim, G.. ( 2018;), ‘ K-Pop female idols as cultural genre of patriarchal neoliberalism: A gendered nature of developmentalism and the structure of feeling/experience in contemporary Korea. ’, Telos, 184, Fall, pp. 185207.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Lie, J.. ( 2012;), ‘ What is the K in K-Pop? South Korean popular music, the culture industry, and national identity. ’, Korea Observer, 43:3, pp. 33963.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Lipstick Alley ( 2017;), ‘ Cupcakke leaves Twitter after racist K-Pop fans tell her to kill herself. ’, Lipstick Alley, 3 November, https://www.lipstickalley.com/threads/cupcakke-leaves-twitter-after-racist-k-pop-fans-tell-her-to-kill-herself.1308241. Accessed 4 February 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Löbert, A.. ( 2012;), ‘ Fandom as a religious form: On the reception of pop music by Cliff Richard fans in Liverpool. ’, Popular Music, 31:1, pp. 12541.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Marino, G.. ( 2015;), ‘ Semiotics of spreadability: A systematic approach to internet memes. ’, International Journal of Semiotics, 1:1, pp. 4366.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. McCurry, J.. ( 2019;), ‘ K-Pop under scrutiny over “toxic fandom” after death of Sulli. ’, The Guardian, 18 October, https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/oct/18/k-pop-under-scrutiny-over-toxic-fandom-after-death-of-sulli. Accessed 4 February 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Otmazgin, N., and Lyan, I.. ( 2013;), ‘ Hallyu across the desert: K-Pop fandom in Israel and Palestine. ’, Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review, 9, pp. 6889.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Porter, J. E.. ( 1999;), ‘ To boldly go: Star Trek convention attendance as pilgrimage. ’, in J. E. Porter, and D. L. McLaren. (eds), Star Trek and Sacred Ground: Explorations of Star Trek, Religion, and American Culture, Albany, NY:: State University of New York Press;, pp. 24570.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Proctor, W.. ( 2016;), ‘ A new breed of fan? Regimes of truth, One Direction fans and representations of enfreakment. ’, in L. Bennet, and P. Booth. (eds), Seeing Fans: Representations of Fandom in Media and Popular Culture, New York:: Bloomsbury Academic;, pp. 6778.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Proctor, W.. ( 2017;), ‘ “Bitches ain’t gonna hunt no ghosts”: Totemic nostalgia, toxic fandom and the Ghostbusters platonic. ’, Palabra Clave, 20:4, pp. 110541, https://doi.org/10.5294/pacla.2017.20.4.20.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Proctor, W., and Kies, B.. ( 2018;), ‘ Editor’s introduction: On toxic fan practices and the new culture wars. ’, Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, 15:1, pp. 12742.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Reklis, K.. ( 2009;), ‘ A sense of the tragic in a Christian theology of freedom. ’, Theological Studies, 70:1, pp. 3760, https://doi.org/10.1177/004056390907000102.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Rogers, C. R.. ( 1961), On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy, New York:: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt;.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Romano, A.. ( 2019;), ‘ BTS, the band that changed K-Pop, explained. ’, Vox, 17 April, https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/6/13/17426350/bts-history-members-explained. Accessed 6 February 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Shin, H.. ( 2009;), ‘ Have you ever seen the Rain? And who’ll stop the Rain? The globalizing project of Korean pop (K-Pop). ’, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 10:4, pp. 50723.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Shin, S. I., and Kim, L.. ( 2013;), ‘ Organizing K-Pop: Emergence and market making of large Korean entertainment houses, 1980–2010. ’, East Asia, 30:4, pp. 25572.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Snapes, L.. ( 2019;), ‘ Félicité Tomlinson, sister of One Direction’s Louis, dies age 18. ’, The Guardian, 15 March, https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/mar/15/felicite-tomlinson-dies-sister-louis-tomlinson-one-direction. Accessed 27 January 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. stan, n.2’ ( 2019), OED Online, Oxford:: Oxford University Press;, https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/64119341?rskey=qCWIUD&result=2. Accessed 4 February 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Suler, J.. ( 2004;), ‘ The online disinhibition effect. ’, CyberPsychology & Behavior, 7:3, pp. 32126.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Vettorel, P.. ( 2014), English as a Lingua France in Wider Networking: Blogging Practices, Berlin:: De Gruyter Mouton;.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Wachs, S., and Wright, M. F.. ( 2018;), ‘ Associations between bystanders and perpetrators of online hate: The moderating role of toxic online disinhibition. ’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15:9, pp. 19, https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15092030.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Whyte, W.. ( 2018;), ‘ BTS fans have been sending death threat to CupcakKe and it’s not OK. ’, Popbuzz, 8 January, https://www.popbuzz.com/music/news/cupcakke-bts-fans-death-threats. Accessed 28 January 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Williams, P. J., and Xiang, X.. ( 2016;), ‘ “Sasaengpaen” or K-Pop fan? Singapore youths, authentic identities, and Asian media fandom. ’, Deviant Behavior, 37:1, pp. 8194, https://doi.org/10.1080/01639625.2014.983011.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Williams, R.. ( 2015;), ‘ Structures of feeling. ’, in D. Sharma, and F. Tygstrup. (eds), Structures of Feeling: Affectivity and the Study of Culture, Berlin and Boston, MA:: De Gruyter;, pp. 2026.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. yckim124 ( 2017;), ‘ American rapper CupcakKe disturbs BTS’ fans with sexual tweets about Jungkook. ’, Allkpop, 3 November, https://www.allkpop.com/article/2017/11/american-rapper-cupcakke-disturbs-bts-fans-with-sexual-tweets-about-jungkook. Accessed 28 January 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Mercier, Faye. ( 2022;), ‘ “Maybe if she stanned …”: Reinforcing fan identities and affirming positive fan-object relations through toxic practices in K-Pop fandom. ’, Journal of Fandom Studies, 10:2&3, pp. 19921, https://doi.org/10.1386/jfs_00063_1
    [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1386/jfs_00063_1
Loading
/content/journals/10.1386/jfs_00063_1
Loading

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): fan devotion; K-Pop; memes; stans; suicide; tragedy; trolling; Twitter
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error