When it comes to stan Twitter fan bases, the BTS #ARMY is arguably the worst. While in constant and close competition with the #Jelena shippers and #Lovatics who seem to be stuck in the late-aughts glory days of “Camp Rock” and “Princess Protection Program,” the BTS fan base consistently manages to break away from the venom-fingered pack and redefine just how low online trolls will go.
While I’m definitely a fan of BTS’s unique blend of K-pop that has managed to break the notoriously hard-to-crack North American market, just one scroll of their Twitter hashtag left my wig patently un-snatched. Motivated by the same compulsion that makes me search for YouTube compilation videos of train vs. car accidents, I took my Twitter sleuthing one step further and browsed the #ARMY hashtag, populated by millions of tween fans from around the world all sipping the same brand of K-pop Kool-Aid.
Turns out, I’m not the only one disgusted by this collection of mudslinging and toxic exclusivity that insists there’s only one way to support a boy band. Taking up residence in the seedy underbelly of BTS’s rabid social media following, countless former #ARMY members have waved the white flag of surrender and left the fandom for good.
“I was an army b4 but the fandom has become so toxic & it really affects those armys who are innocent & doesn’t involve in fanwars,” wrote one former card-carrying #ARMY member. “i love our boys sm & they dont deserve the hate just bc of some ‘toxic’ fans they will be forever has space in my heart tho.”
I was an army b4 but the fandom has become so toxic & it really affects those armys who are innocent & doesn't involve in fanwars. i love our boys sm & they dont deserve the hate just bc of some "toxic" fans they will be forever has space in my heart tho NCT is now my ult group
— BOYGROUP CONFESSIONS (@KGROUPCONFESS) April 2, 2018
“Maybe its an unpopular opinion but ARMY’s fandom is way too toxic. Well, big fandoms are in general, but lately ARMY… uf,” wrote another critic of the culture surrounding the “Love Yourself: Her” singers.
Maybe its an unpopular opinion but ARMY's fandom is way too toxic. Well, big fandoms are in general, but lately ARMY… uf.
— ℓιν ♡ (@my10tation) April 3, 2018
Listen, people — between the underground and the mainstream, there are more than enough music industry veterans and up-and-coming acts to satisfy the thirsts of fangirls looking for a target for their adoration. Far from a plea for fan cultures around the world to hold hands and focus on the positives, I’m issuing one simple proposed command: Take a note from Danielle Bregoli aka Bhad Bhabie’s book and like what you like, telling everyone else who gives you shit for it to shove off and kick rocks.