Like... one of Santa's elves?
Nope! This phenomenon might be a little difficult for new K-pop fans to understand. While some English-speaking fandoms have their own identities (One Direction fans tend to call themselves One Directioners or 1D), usually these names are derived from the original media in a linear way. It's a little different in the K-pop fandom.
This card is part of my ongoing collection What The Fandom, where I explain fandom habits, tropes, and phenomenons to newcomers.
K-pop fan clubs usually have a unique story behind the development of their identity.
Via Soompi: "Artists like to show their affection to fans with a title fit especially for them. Fans like to let their loyalty to the artist they love be known to others. " They also usually have a color that they wear to concerts or use to show solidarity with one another. It's a little like cheering for a sports team. When fans of the Red Sox attend games, they tend to wear red as a symbol of their commitment.
Here are the names and colors for a few of the most popular K-pop bands:
Super Junior- ELF
Super Junior fans are called ELF because it stands for Everlasting Friends. Colour: Pearl Sapphire Blue.
SNSD fans are called S♥NEs (pronouced "so one") because it means that SNSD & their fans are one. Colour: Pastel Rose.
SHINee's fanclub, SHINee World, is taken from the title of their first album & because Shining Land = SHINee + World. It's also known as Shawol, which is just a shortened version of the two words combined. Colour: Pearlescent Sky Blue.
DBSK's (or TVXQ) fanclub, Cassiopeia, is the name of a constellation with 5 main stars & there are 5 members in DBSK. Colour: Pearl Red.
Big Bang- V.I.P.
V.I.P. = Very Important Person. The second single La La La is also referred to as Big Bang is V.I.P. Colour: No confirmed color but Big Bang’s banners and light sticks are usually yellow + black. Some V.I.Ps wave black and white handkerchiefs or yellow crown light sticks.
A similar fandom that's primarily English-speaking is dedicated to Lady Gaga. The performer referred to her fans as Little Monsters on Twitter, and the fans claimed the title. While they don't generally adhere to a strict color scheme to identify one another, fans often dress up in outrageous costumes, much like their idol.
There's no color scheme, but the tone of the fandom is definitely about embracing what makes you weird.
Because the K-pop community is so tight-knit, they need clearer boundaries to distinguish which specific fandoms members of the community are dedicated to. Of course, this doesn't mean that you can't love more than one band! The fan club designations are a way for fans to show pride and feel closer to the community. They give fans an identity, and welcome them as part of a group.
Fan clubs and colors provide the framework for fans to express their love for their favorite bands.
These boundaries don't exist to make new fans feel unwelcome, or to create unhealthy competition between fandoms. It's so that fans can find each other easily. Once your fandom has an identity, people with similar interests are drawn to each other so that they can feel like they are part of the larger group. Being part of a K-pop fan club serves this function.
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