Becoming BTS ARMY; from “I” to “We”. Happy Birthday J-Hope

Becoming BTS ARMY; from “I” to “We”. Happy Birthday J-Hope

On May 5, 2019, BTS concluded their first Speak Yourself concerts, at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles. BTS leader Rap Monster – Kim Namjoon, said

“Wherever you’re from, whatever you speak, however old you are, in this Rose Bowl, tonight we are one. We speak the same thing. We speak the same voice. We speak the same language. This is community, what we call community… Let’s keep speaking the same language.”

What it means to be part a community name BTS ARMY?

When I started my birthday notes celebrating BTS member’s birthday with Jin on December 4, 2020, I was not part of the ARMY. I was just the fan, admiring their music and my knowledge of BTS and the ARMY is shallow. It was just my 2 weeks since I listen to them. Jin, then who became my inspiration to really fall into their rabbit hole and not only that, I just finish my introduction part for PhD proposal because and about BTS ARMY.  

It did not take a long time to choose the identity as ARMY of BTS. Identity is the product of identification. It is about taking side, taking place. (About) who I am and where I stand to speak from the place to act from place.. . Identity is a moving process making (Stuart Hall)

You are probably asking, but why?

My first note was thanking Jin for saving my niece life, and now, I must thank them for saving mine. Someone I respect was shouting out loud to me at my face. In my normal time, I probably will feel devastated, lost, cried and turn to hate the person. But I wasn’t, I was distracted by BTS’s song on my ear than somehow comfort me. They took me into a different reality, where I feel safe and happy.

That’s a very psychological effect that I had from listening BTS. Nevertheless, when I do my research about them, we do speaking on the same language of love and respect. My idealism values are connected to them that make me easily to love them as musician, artists, as a person of each member and as a team.

Once I identify myself to their values, it is easier to make an action. Identity is a source for action as Stuart Hall said. My first action was looking how I can contribute for V’s birthday. That is how I got introduced to Bintang Ungu, a group of ARMY for V as V coined the icon of Purple love – Borahae. Together we support one kindergarten in a poor neighborhood in North Jakarta. We are not only fund  the operational but also involve in creating the program based on what BTS values, to love our-self, respect, and nurturing empathy both for children and their parents. That’s awesome, right!

If BTS ARMY is a community like RM said, and it feels just right, then it is part of the network society where Manuel Castells said being shaped by information and communication technology when communicated the shared values. We took our private communication through public realm through social media and organizing ourselves when we do the collective action. Do BTS tells us to? Nope, the main difference between BTS and other idols is that, they do not need to tell us to do explicitly. According to the study on BTS ARMY movement for #MatchAmillion during Black Lives Matter campaign 2020, Park et al, found that ARMY was moved by BTS’s example of manners and deep meaning of their lyrics. Related to their findings, I do feel being part of the ARMY community is also comforting. We shared laughter, appreciate each other, we share knowledge and information as also doing social collective action.

Being a fangirling at the age of 40ish is something that seems ridiculous to others. But I am not a shame, I am proud instead. Because I don’t see us as a common fandom, we are community, we make movement and hopefully able to change society. As our members are adult, parents of the future generation, we do learn about a good parenting through the BTS’ values, as simple as treat our children with empathy and respect.

I leave it here …

I would like to say Happy Birthday to my bias wrecker Jung Ho Seok – Jhope! You are the sunshine to ARMY with that bright smile and happy face. You are bringing hope to everyone, to believe in yourself. You are following your passion to be a dancer despite the disagreement of your parents, because you believe in what you love in life. Keep shining brightly!


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