BTS: Permission to Desire

Rani Neutill at the LARB:

As a scholar, I decided to bring my devotion to BTS to my research. Because of my growing fascination with this segment of BTS fandom and their love for the group, I interviewed 25 Gen-X women of diverse backgrounds who currently reside in the United States. Older women face enormous stigma for loving a “boy band,” and the seven Korean men of BTS are wholly different from the men many of us were taught to idealize. Women my age are rarely given the space to express desire, let alone lust, and I wanted to understand the contours and contexts of their experience.

What I heard were stories about how BTS has alleviated the sorrows that came from living through the pandemic as stay-at-home moms, remote workers, or unemployed women — women who feel that, once they pass the age of 40, they are no longer allowed to have desires. I found that BTS has been a catalyst for a collective reckoning among many Gen-X women about how the objects of their desires have been shaped by the media and how the freedom to desire has been foreclosed by age.

more here.