Stalking, harassment, breaking & entering, these are not alien situations in the lives of celebrities. Many times the guilty party is jailed because of this dangerous affinity with a popular entertainer. When does the love and admiration for talented people take a turn downward? Is there a fine line between fanaticism and dangerous obsession? The Fan-Girl phenomenon is something the US media only sees every decade or so. Usually these fan-ships are not negative, they’re maybe some casualties of concert crushing, but all in all for most it is a positive experience.
In the West, we can especially pinpoint times where popular musicians inspired a mass hysteria such as the 1950’s rise of Rock-n-roll, or The Beatles Invasion in the 1960’s. Even the clone Boy-Band wars of the late 80’s and early 90’s had their own obsessive fan groups. On a American daytime talk-show (Rachel Ray) a 33 year old female talked about her obsession with NKOTB. She stated very normally how she saved a half-drunken water bottle belonging to Jordan Knight for over 12 years. This bottle was stolen, by her, out of a hotel hallway that she snuck onto as a teenager. So loving a celebrity this way can become a way of life that lasts into adulthood.
This is considered Fangirling, for a lack of a better term, is a way of being and a hobby for girls. Time, effort and money is poured into hobbies for merchandise, travel and more. What is strange is that many of the fans do not care if these celebrities are prepackaged by talent agencies. They will absorb anything their star does, or will do, because they want to relate to him/her. They will sleep on lines for concert tickets, allow themselves to be pushed and pulled in small enclosed spaces just for a partial glimpse. They let fantasy cloud their minds in hopes of romantic meetings and more.
Fan girls in Asia hold a plethora of wealth that makes business men, in control of these celebs, very very rich. For a monthly or yearly dues, they will join fan-clubs run by talent agencies that sign these bands. These half baked prizes that the fan-clubs promise are not even worth the price. It is usually hearing a song excerpt that will soon be ripped and all over the net… or like in the case of Johnny Jimusho Boy-bands (like SMAP or NEWS) they will put the fan on a waiting list to buy overpriced tickets to a concert, They don’t even give a discount!!! This strangeness, to pay someone to like them, has a positive/negative effect on how the fans see themselves in correlation to the star of there choice. They believe that their obsessive behavior will impress their star so much so that they are on a personal level with him/her socially. With that there is a whole seedy side to fangirling called the AntiFan.
AntiFans, especially in Korea, are proud of their unhealthy fixation. What is surprising is how Vocal they are on how they willing to harm others physically. Most times these are young girls that, like their positive opposite fan twins, will spend time and energy on a popular celeb. However they go to great lengths to tarnish the reputation of prepackaged pop-stars and the fans who love them. The antifan groups build Internet communities were they constantly publish negative rumors and fan-fiction that depicts celebrities dying horrible deaths. Computer literate antifans have hacked into personal websites, such as Cyworlds Daum, and Hanmail. Korean Artists like Park Ji Young, Bae Seul Ki’, BoA, Hyori Lee, and Danny (from G.O.D) all have had their cyworlds hacked into. The Hacker in Bae Seul Gi’s case deleted files and used the blog to personally attack another Cyworld user (A non celeb) who bashed her. Which made fans/antifans battle their disagreements even more. When she once again regained her own access she had to explain the situation. In BoA and Danny’s cases, they were blackmailed over private photos. The stars payed the sum but it was then realized later that this person was also the person who harassed Hyori Li’s cyworld.
The SM-Entertainment group Super Junior, or Suju for short, have been popular targets by fanatical fangirls as well as Antifans. The Suju members who have had their cyworlds hacked reported that they noticed small changes at first, like graphics and background music changing, that they overlooked to be glitches. The guys would close these accounts and then reopen new ones, but without success the hacker would follow suit. The Suji members that reported such harassment were Sungmin, DongHae, Leetuek, ShinDong, and KangkIn. Leetuek also has a special talent for causing a stir on Cyworld. He once posted on how champion skater Kim Yuna would not network him which released a backlash of negative harassment on innocent skater. Leetuek recanted his statement saying he was just fibbing so people would give him sympathy he never thought that fans would go to great lengths to threaten someone else. He since apologized to the skater for not thinking. In my next article I will explore the ever growing danger of antifanship. You will read on how many stars have been kidnapped, hospitalized and led to their untimely deaths aided by fan obsession and antifan sentiment.