1. Stage 1: Confusion
So your friend sent you this funny music video, but you’re not sure what’s going on. What’s with the bright colors? The explosions? What’s with the alien-biker getup? Why is that man screaming at that girl’s butt?
2. Stage 2: Intrigue
You find yourself humming that one particular tune, so you watch the video again. And check out some of the Youtube suggestions, because they looked cool. Listen to all the Girls Generation singles, why not?
3. Stage 3: Denial
Those songs were okay…it’s not like you listened to them close to 50 times or something…have a couple of groups on your iPod. It’s funny and stuff, but you’re not into it. Honestly.
4. Stage 4: Secrecy
Okay, so you might be hooked. But you know how weird it would be to tell your friends you like Korean music now; they just wouldn’t get it. You’re just going to keep it on the down-low for a while.
5. Stage 5: Obsession
You have officially become obsessed. You’ve got your bias (or at least a few), you know the majority of the words to your favorite songs, and you have tracked down every talk show with English subs so you can see your favorite groups being interviewed. You may or may not have had a fan-freak-out moment or two. You follow all the fan blogs so you know the instant anything related to your biases is posted, even if it’s a translated tweet. Not to mention your gif collection is to die for.
6. Stage 6: Integration
You and the fandom have become one. You are embroiled in all the drama, have spent many hours defending your bias, and have even begun your own K-Pop tumblr. You’re not sure when it happened, but somewhere between posting your very first Block B gif, and declaring war against the girl who said CL “is a pathetic Lady Gaga-rip off who’s more plastic than a credit card,” you have merged with the fan community.
7. (Seriously though, don’t insult CL. The BlackJacks will kill you)
8. Stage 7: Koreaboo
It’s not just enough to be a fan anymore. You want to learn Korean, eat Korean food, watch K-Dramas, wear popular Korean clothing, even live in Korea, just to be closer to your bias. You watch all of Eat Your Kimchi’s videos to get a better grasp of the culture. None of this would be a bad thing, if you weren’t so obnoxious about it. Especially when you drop random Korean words into your sentences. Sometimes you even wish you had been born Korean. You are now a Koreaboo - the Korean version of a weeaboo. This is the low point of your transformation into a K-Pop fan. (This stage is optional.)
9. Stage 8: Realization
Someone has opened your eyes and killed your idealism. You now know that everything is a carefully calculated corporate move, from the songs, to the TV appearances, to the cutesy behind-the-scenes footage.
You might feel betrayed, fooled, or upset by this news. You may read this reality check blog and just can’t believe it’s true. All their songs are set up by big corporations? They’re trained for years before debuting? They all get extensive plastic surgery to look like they do?
11. Stage 9: Acceptance
You finally come to terms with K-Pop and its fandom. Sure, it’s got sasaeng fans, and the groups are designed to make tons of money, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the music or the people who are singing it. After all, they’re still performing it themselves. Now you can blast all the BIGBANG you want without feeling judged or self conscious.