iFans: Mapping K-pop's International Fandom

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Survey Data

Fans of Girls' Generation, SONES (pronounced So-One, signifies the relationship between the group and the fans; also refers to the song “소원 (Perfect for You)” from the first single), are fans of the group for a variety of reasons. These responses were collected from a convenience sample of 54 responses collected between December 7, 2012 and April 29, 2013. These responses generated 143 significant statements, which were analyzed using the phenomenological method.

Music

Fans like the catchy, upbeat songs like "Gee" that define the group.  One respondent wrote:  "Even I sometimes enjoy a super girly song, and that's when SNSD comes in handy."  Another wrote:  "It's because their songs are really nice and can give me happiness."  However, SONES don't all agree. Some like their newer songs.  One SONE wrote:  "I love their 'new' music. I mean 'The Boys' and the 'IGAB' is not the cute era like 'Gee' and the old songs."  Another respondent wrote:  "Their music has grown throughout the years, with their initial cute songs to sophisticated & sexy tracks."

Appearance

SONES often described the members of the group as beautiful and cute.  However, others commented on their style.  One respondent wrote:  "I think how they look and how they're styled is the biggest reason I like them."  Another added: "They're stylish." Others commented on the range of concepts used by the group.  One respondent noted:  "They're mainly girly and cutesy, but I also like it when they go 'bad.'"

Individual Members

Several respondents identified individual members of SNSD as their favorite.  One respondent wrote:  "My favorite member who I follow when I dance is Yuri.  She's one of the older ones and a better dancer than singer, it seems, so I identify with her.  She's also a really good sport in interviews and at concerts, so I also like to watch her there."  Another noted:  "I love how they stay true to themselves. Like how Jessica says that many people misunderstand her actions and view her having a cold personality, but she says that once you get to know her, she's not like that at all. I like how she says that she won't change who she is and would rather show an honest girl instead of a fake person."  Several respondents identified Seohyun as their favorite member:  "Another person is Seohyun. She is very couragous. Many people think Kpop stars are dumb. She is different and doesn't want to be like that. So she continued her studies, despite the fact that she still had busy schedules being in Girls' Generation."  Tiffany was also a favorite:  "Tiffany is the ace in the group who is versatile in many areas and may be the key that helps them get a foot in America."

Fans Who Are Not Fans

Several respondents qualified their identity as fans of SNSD.  Some admitted to just liking a few songs:  "Wouldn't call myself a fan but I do like a couple of songs, would say only 5 songs top." Others were more straigtforward with their dislike:  "I am not a huge fan of SNSD. I personally dislike every image they've put out (except for this recent one)."  Others seemed more ambivalent about their relationship to the group:  "I'm not as big of a fan of them but I have some history with them too!"

 

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