MANILA, Philippines — Some might imagine that stanning over South Korean pop bands and their music, trend and relationships is just for younger folks. Nevertheless, with regards to the Okay-pop phenomenon BTS, one group of followers within the Philippines is proving them improper.
They name themselves the “Titas of BTS.”
However earlier than we go any additional… What’s a tita?
“A direct translation is an auntie, so any person who’s an older lady,” group founder Demai Sunio-Granali says. “Even in case you’re not a relative, you deal with somebody who’s an older feminine a ‘tita’ out of respect.”
Sunio-Granali, 38, began a Fb group for BTS followers in 2020 with a handful of pals throughout her similar age. Three years later, that group has grown into a world on-line neighborhood of 1000’s of ladies — and a few males — of their late 30s and older, all diehard BTS followers.
“It was actually simply began as a spot for us to convene and to share BTS content material with one another,” Sunio-Granali says, laughing. “We did not actually see all the things it might grow to be.”
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Photographs for Dick Clark Productions
The Fb group consists of over 14,000 members and is a continuing stream of BTS updates, information and dialogue. From V’s current Elle Korea picture shoot to Jimin’s new solo album, “Face” — if it is BTS information, the group is speaking about it. In addition they often maintain in-person occasions to have a good time birthdays and dance to their favourite BTS hits or simply to have dinner and atone for the newest BTS gossip.
Sunio-Granali says everybody has a narrative about how they turned followers of BTS — quick for Batang Boys. Some obtained hooked by pals; others by siblings and kids.
Sunio-Granali got here throughout the band after spending time watching Korean TV dramas, she says. After she fell in love with a track carried out by a member of BTS on one of many soundtracks, that led to a different track, then one other and one other.
Quickly, she realized this group was completely different from another boy bands — primarily, she says, due to how they convey messages and inform relatable tales by their lyrics.
“I linked with them due to how they expressed themselves by lyrics, how they informed their story and the way they describe their struggles,” Sunio-Granali says.
Why do Filipinos love Okay-pop?
Okay-pop, as a style, has gripped the Philippines in near-obsession. Korean dramas are a standard entry level into the music. And whereas Korean popular culture could also be a worldwide phenomenon, stans — overzealous followers — within the Philippines are on a completely completely different stage.
For years, the Philippines has topped world rankings in listening to Okay-pop on streaming providers and mentioning Okay-pop on social media. In 2022, the Philippines was the second-biggest viewers for BTS, after the U.S., based on Spotify. In the meantime, Twitter information exhibits the nation additionally got here in fourth on the planet final yr for tweets mentioning Okay Pop. In 2021, it ranked third.
“The rationale why Filipinos love Korean tradition, on the whole, is due to our shared historical past,” says J.R. Igno, an assistant linguistics professor on the College of the Philippines. “Significantly, we have been colonized by completely different international locations.”
This relationship goes again to the Korean Battle, he says, when the Philippines despatched troopers to struggle alongside South Korean forces. However the Korean wave — or Hallyu — actually took off within the Philippines within the early 2000s, with the popularization of Korean dramas and their soundtracks.
Okay-Content material has gone past Asia and other people all around the world are Tweeting about it in real-time.
🇵🇭 followers merely can’t get sufficient, making the Philippines 4️⃣ that Tweet essentially the most about Okay-Tradition in 2022. pic.twitter.com/6YkLzVqze5
— Twitter Philippines (@TwitterPH) September 6, 2022
Due to the historical past of colonization, Philippine tradition has all the time been fluid and open to outdoors influences, says College of the Philippines Baguio historical past professor Zuriel Domingo. “And due to globalization, you’ve gotten the web, which is free … so it isn’t being compelled on us.”
Domingo notes that Okay-pop is not simply music, it is an entire bundle: visuals, trend, folks to idolize — all backed by a authorities in Seoul that has prioritized Okay-pop as a cultural export.
A spot to stan with out worry of judgment
Titas of BTS member Jabba Tantay, 39, says as a result of the aunties’ group is older than different BTS superfans, they admire that entire bundle in another way.
“Once you’re a teen, it is a completely different sort of fan-girling, proper? It is extra about, he is so good-looking. He dances so nicely. There is a completely different appreciation,” she explains. “Once you’re a bit older, you see different issues. Like, we focus extra on their relationships with one another and the best way they convey their messages.”
They will relate, the ladies say, to members like Jin, the eldest, who has taken over the function of massive brother to the remainder of the group. Or Suga, who is understood for his “arduous on the skin, however comfortable on the within” persona. And whether or not it is writing in a uncooked means about the price of a lot fame or being uncertain of whether or not you have completed sufficient as you grow old, they are saying BTS is aware of the best way to sing about real-life, relatable points.
For a lot of titas of BTS, there isn’t a different protected area to stan for the band. Most of the ladies are professionals who maintain high-level positions or moms with households to handle.
“There have been judgments from their very own circles,” she says. “The everyday statements can be: ‘You are too previous to fan-girl. Why are you want this? You are too previous, you are a mom, you’ve gotten X variety of children.’ “
Tantay says that is once they realized how severe a platform they’d. “It was an avenue for individuals who wanted a spot to launch no matter it’s they had been feeling, the place they’d not be judged for it.”
And this mission will not change, Sunio-Granali says. The titas will assist BTS even whereas it’s on a break, and can hold their Fb group operating till the band is ready to return — hopefully in 2025.
In the end, although, it does not actually matter what occurs to BTS, she says.
“I’d think about [our friendship] the most effective reward that we now have acquired from being followers of BTS,” she says. “On the finish of the day, we’ll be left with this friendship.”