If you made it to this third post (if you missed post 1 and post 2 here you go), then I hope if you haven’t fallen down the BTS rabbit hole yet that you have at least started to develop an appreciation for the impact they have had. The one topic I have not directly addressed yet is BTS’s massive fan base, better known as ARMY.
If you google BTS ARMY you can find a lot of info about what ARMY stands for and how the name came about, but I wanted to write more about what they are to me and how they have helped change my life.
So Here’s Myth #1
When I tell people I’m an ARMY, the most common comment is usually along the lines of…
“Aren’t you kind of old to be fangirling? Aren’t their fans all 15 year old girls?”
Remember me mentioning how I started off as a closet BTS fan? I once believed this myth and it’s So. Not. True!
Fans of All Ages
As I fell further into this fandom I was surprised that, no, not all BTS fans are teenage girls, and no I was not alone being in my 40s and being a total fan. I’ve met women in their 20s, 30s and on through their 60s and 70s. They range from stay at home moms, to nurses, engineers, teachers, and lawyers. Not to mention some of the cutest fans were the kids I saw at the concerts. I was shocked how many young children there were who knew all the songs and dances! These are just some of the fans that attended the Las Vegas concert or that I have met online.
The family that armies together, stays together. Who doesn’t love a group that can bring grandparents, parents, and grandkids together with a common love? Some of the people I met told me about how not only were they ARMY, but so were their mom and dad as well as their kids.
For me personally, BTS has brought me closer to my niece which I love. It always brightens my day when I see an Instagram message from her about a new song or video she’s seen or I send her the latest news I’ve heard about a comeback. Plus, we had the best aunty-niece trip when we went to Las Vegas to see BTS perform. We were only there for about 2.5 days but had a blast attending the concert, BTS events, picking up treats from the M&M store and the Hershey’s store among other things.
It’s Not Just Women
During their Las Vegas appearance V even called out how many male fans were in the audience and they definitely represented! The male fans also ranged from young kids to full grown adults who weren’t afraid to show their love!
World Wide Fans
Small town Kansas? Represented. Australia? Yup. Netherlands. Present!
It would be safe to say I’ve probably interacted with at least one person from each of the fifty US states, and a good number of other countries as well either in person or online. They even represented in the goodies they were handing out at the Las Vegas concert. My niece and I loved going through the gifts from armies located in Mexico, Netherlands, Korea, Hawaii, Georgia, and many, many more states/countries.
Here’s Myth #2…
The next most common comment I get is, “Oh, so ARMY is a bunch of people who just drool over how sexy they think the members are…”
I won’t deny there is a lot of chatter about how good looking each member is, but just as often you will hear about how kind, sweet, caring, generous, talented, etc., each member is and this is also reflected in their fan base.
The reality of ARMY’s generosity…
I could write pages and pages about all the things ARMY have done, but in an effort to keep this somewhat short, LOL, I’ll list just a few actions that blew me away.
ARMY Donates Concert Funds to Ukraine
Tickets to each of BTS’s Permission to Dance performances sold out in minutes, leaving behind some very disappointed fans. While many people could have moped over their bad luck, some armies decided to donate their concert funds to help those in Ukraine.
ARMY Matches BTS’s $1 Million Donation to Black Lives Matter
BTS is well known for their generous donations and in 2020 they donated one million dollars to the Black Lives Matters movement. Soon the call went out to ARMY to #MatchAMillion and within 24 hours raised a matching one million dollars for the Black Lives Matters cause.
Anyone who has paid any attention to ARMY knows that when there is a cause, they know how to mobilize. Various groups have raised money to support fighting hunger, animal abuse, education, and many more causes that you can read about in this article.
The Unknown Sides of ARMY…
ARMY members are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. As I’ve mentioned before, crowds are not my thing and talking to people literally makes me break out in a sweat and shake, but at every BTS event I have gone to I am surprised by the warmth and welcome I encounter.
I still remember meeting my first ARMY friend in person at a cupsleeve event in January, then our group eventually grew to four, and I was fortunate enough to celebrate my birthday earlier this month with this fabulous group!
Random Acts of Kindness
Were you ever that kid who would get excited when you got a surprise piece of mail? That is how I feel these days. Some days I look in my mail basket and find something that looks like this and it totally brightens my day.
I’m continuously shocked by random acts of kindness from other ARMY, like sending me BTS related gifts, sending me motivating messages if I say I’m having a rough day, or just being there if I need to vent.
What I found amazing was the amount of ARMY who spend their time and money making “freebies” or little gifts to give away at concerts. In the bottom right photo are just some of the items my niece and I received when we attended the concert in Las Vegas. There was no guarantee that they would get anything in return. They just made these out of the goodness of their hearts.
AND I have to say giving is just as good, if not better, than receiving. I made some freebies of my own to giveaway in Vegas and my niece said that was one of her favorite parts of our trip. Not to mention I was down in the dumps the other day, but writing a few cards for fellow armies and simply mailing them a few stickers or bookmarks made ME feel so much better.
ARMY is the Best Support Group
“BTS has changed my life and healed me.”
“BTS enters your life when you most need them.”
“I was silently battling from depression when I knew about them.”
These are all things I have heard from fellow ARMY members. While I totally agree that BTS’s message about self-love and their openness in supporting those with mental health issues has had a huge impact on me, I must also say that ARMY plays a huge role as well.
I’ve met so many women who have shown me and others in the groups I belong to such love and support on those rough days when we are all feeling a little beat up. Just today I saw this posted online and so many people chimed in on how true it is.
Am I saying my life is all sunshine and roses nowadays? Of course not. There are still days I’m filled with self doubt and sadness but BTS and the ARMY I’ve connected with has helped me look at myself through a different lens and practice more kindness towards myself. That in itself is a priceless gift.
I only hope I return the favor to other ARMY that I encounter each and every day.
With this I’ll wrap up my fandom experience and I hope you have found a similar source of joy in your life whether it be a favorite book, musician, author, hobby, or something else.
I have been the recipient of Debbie’s kindness on more than one occasion! And I have to say, I’ve met the most wonderful women since I became ARMY. I am 61-years old and have been a fan of a couple of groups, but there is no fandom like ARMY!! We love, support, and encourage one another every day plus keep each other up-to-date on how to support BTS.
Thank you, Debbie, for doing such a fabulous job sharing about our boys and our group! BORAHAE!!!
As always, I’ve enjoyed reading your blogs. BTS brought ARMYs together and I’m very proud to be part of… this is bigger than music, bigger than any skills or talent anyone can share… the outpouring love and support we share to BTS & to one another as fans are truly special! i want to read more of these, let me know if you published “blog #4” – i’ve learnt so much just by reading this 🤗 Thank you!
Wow, another phenomenal post! I’m so early to the game but I just want to say that in this short time I can feel all the energy you are describing. When I first went down the rabbit hole I felt some kind of internal happiness but it was blunted by the fact that I had no one to share or discuss anything with. No one in my close circles was interested in hearing or knowing. Joining an online group including people with my demographics and being able to share/express/interact with others has literally meant the world to me and it makes me smile every day. I could put any number of terrible metaphors here, but maybe I’ll just say that the ARMY I have met (online only so far) have exponentially increased my enjoyment of BTS and just of life in general as well. Thanks for these fantastic posts!
Love this series of articles from Debbie and it is very true. I don’t know why BTS and ARMY came to me in my mid 50s as I am wearing my Koya headband.(for PTD Las Vegas) BTS finds you when you need them the most of which was very true for me. I am very fortunate to have local group of BTS for Moms Adult Army here in my state Massachusetts. We call our group We Are Army. We are in our 40s and 50s who love BTS. We love K Pop K Drama and Korean food. We all things Asian. We meet up for BTS events Cup Sleeve in Boston. Festa in June. We watch online concerts together. (at 5 am) We talk every day via Facebook messenger. I also have BTS Army friends I have met online that I speak to as well. Debbie is one of them. Army is there for you all times of the day. No matter the time zone etc. Army is very generous. Debbie sent me beautiful bookmark of RM my bias. I sent Debbie concert confetti in return. I am very fortunate to have my local Army and my online Army. Love them both. BTS has made me smile made want to meet new people made me want to travel again made me be part of a fandom for first time in my life. BTS has given me self confidence to dye my hair pink and purple. BTS has given me strength to get my tattoo last Summer. BTS I love and Army is my happiness.
Wow! What an incredible read! This honestly made me a bit emotional. I’ve only been an ARMY for a year but since I’ve found this amazing community I’ve been a different person. I’m happier than I’ve been in some time. I had no idea how amazing this community was before I joined them. (We have a bit of a bad reputation based on a very small percentage of the fandom.) I’m just so thankful for Bangtan and the ARMY for bringing us all together!