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Posted by AllK_Maknae Wednesday, April 19, 2017

[OP-ED] Why fans feel angered when Korean idols 'change'

2NE1, Minzy, HyunA, G-Dragon, Sulli, KARA, Choiza
Change. Let's think about it for a moment. There is a lot of negative connotation behind the word. Who hasn't run across the phrase "They've changed" in forums and comments more than once? K-Pop fans hate when idols suddenly change or grow into something they didn't ask for. 

But what makes change so bad - especially when it comes to a K-Pop idol? Well, it has been easily dissected into what makes fans so furious and how we can overcome the pain of change - without bashing or hating on any idol in particular.

The real change is watching this then "Roll Deep."

The main reason why change hurts fans so much is because of a long but simple answer. Idols, when we first witness them, have this singular, enjoyable image and concept that we like and connect to them deeply. For example, Sulli (ex-member of f(x)) used to be very sweet, wholesome and charming girl with an overwhelmingly friendly appearance overall. Now, Sulli seems to have blossomed into somewhat of a "naughty girl" with a taste for adventure and a wild Instagram feed to match.

Exhibit A.

While many point fingers at ex-boyfriend Choiza or some, to her defense, say she has always been this way, I feel she is just growing up and making some changes. Now that Sulli is out of the idol spotlight, she has a lot more freedom to see what she likes and dislikes. With that comes change and now that she has some creative freedom, she may come back with a different (and sexier) look on life.

"But wait, Allk_Maknae, it isn't the fact that she is being sexy - it is her attitude too," say some readers. True, her attitude is evolving but Sulli's attitude will always be evolving. You can hate it or love it, just accept it and move on with it. The list of older idols who honed the sexy concept could go on and on, so can't Sulli go about her business?

Another quick example is previous KARA member Nicole. After leaving KARA, Nicole came back with the sensual and alluring track "Mama" and showcased her adult mentality. Because, it's likable, fans accepted it. Since Sulli seems to be a bit more extreme in her development many fans can not. Sulli if still Sulli - whether she is cute, sexy or both - enjoy her changes so you too can grow alongside the idol.

Second, we also see idols mature over the years since they debut at an early age and have been in the public eye since they were 14 (in some cases). Over time, after concept changes, company advancements and them growing as an artist, these familiar faces begin to lose their first known identity. There is a void that can't be filled by that idol anymore because they are creating new memories for us to enjoy. Idols are expected to be perfect, make us happy and be the one thing in our lives that would never change. However, life (sadly) does not work this way and even our beloved idols change because they too are only human.

True, not all change is good - sometimes the fame gets to idols' heads, like G-Dragon's unnecessary expensive fashion or HyunA being deemed the "only baddest female" rapper. The Hollywood syndrome happens and idols may even become complete narcissists, but fans should welcome their change nonetheless (not enable - just welcome it).

Last but not least: the company leash! Companies like the big three got their idols on lockdown. Like a cliche, ready-for-TV, rich family, it is no surprise their children (in this case idols) go berserk with just a taste of freedom. Don't be the same leash. Circumstances, such as YG and Minzy where idols are left rotting and fending for themselves in the backend, require bold actions and change.

Unless an idol makes a change for themselves, (like Jessica Jung did) they may remain as everyone's favorite visual from that amazing 9 member girl group. Just like a K-Pop group's concept, there are things we like and dislike - but the promotional concept continues on with or without your support. So instead of bashing idols for breaking free from the cookie cutter industry, shouldn't we encourage their new trials and errors? The same way their music supports fans during their most difficult times of change in their life, fans can give back and respect idols' good and bad as a human.

In the end, change happens with or without you. Change isn't handing you a spoon, forcing change down your throat and expecting you to change - neither are idols. Accepting change isn't easy either, I know, but there are ways to invite it in. Idols change so they can create more music, they change so they can understand our changes and they change so they can become better people at the end of the day. Idols lead different lives but they don't stop changing when their promotions are done.

Change is inevitable and everywhere we go. If things aren't changing then it appears to be too complacent, boring and old things become forgotten. Fans can choose to grow alongside idols or huddle in a corner holding their previous albums and crying over it. The choice is yours.

  1. 2NE1
  2. Minzy
  3. HyunA
  4. G-Dragon
  5. Sulli
  6. KARA
  7. Choiza
  8. OP-ED
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