If you’re following the K-pop scene, chances are you’ve heard the word “bias” or the phrase “my bias” being used in multiple ways. But if you’re new to the fandom, “bias” in this case is unlike its typical definition — which brings up negative connotations of being unfairly prejudiced. In the K-pop world, it’s a much more positive thing.
Having a “bias” in this context refers to having a favorite singer or band member in an idol group. In fact, you can more or less think about it as a synonym for “favorite.” According to Know Your Meme, the slang term took off in the 2010s and has been gaining momentum ever since.
Redditors have even theorized that fans started using the term even before the K-pop craze hit the West, which may explain why the word is only associated with K-pop. Other fandoms, for example, will simply say “my favorite.”
It’s often used in conversation across Twitter, TikTok and other social media platforms as K-pop stans reveal their current bias to see if it matches up with anyone else.
In other posts, a combo of K-pop bands are shown, and users are asked to chime in if they see theirs pictured.
Sometimes fans use the term “ultimate bias,” which refers to their favorite singer or band member out of all of the idol groups, and not just their favorite within one particular band.
Over time, a person’s bias may change, but the loyalty runs deep.
However, some K-pop fans would rather not be tied down to one bias at a time and prefer instead to stan multiple performers simultaneously.
Reddit fans frequently chat about their bias in the subreddit r/kpopthoughts.
Although K-pop is not a new phenomenon, it took a while to catch on in the U.S.
According to Vox, the South Korean-based pop music got its start in 1992, after reforms in the federal government allowed for major changes in music and television. As South Koreans were no longer subjected to oppressive government censorship, an electric hip-hop sound known as “Hallyu” began to take shape.
That said, the style that became known as K-pop wouldn’t achieve the global popularity it has now for another 15-20 years. According to Vox, K-pop is characterized as having a “distinctive blend of addictive melodies, slick choreography and production values” as well as “an endless parade of attractive South Korean performers who spend years in grueling studio systems learning to sing and dance in synchronized perfection.”
In many ways, its popularity is reminiscent of the American boy band craze of the late ’90s and early ’00s — except that instead of just NSync and the Backstreet Boys duking it out on “Total Request Live,” K-pop has produced a large number of popular groups that have stood the test of time.
These are the so-called idol bands that K-pop fans often speak of — and once you understand the intense fandom they generate, it’s much easier to see how the whole concept of having a “bias” came about in the first place.
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