The Menlo Roundtable

Idol Action: The Rise of Fan Activism and KPOP Stans

Fan activism’s efficacy comes from the ability of pop culture to encourage civic imagination. Pop culture often centers on young protagonists trying to make a change in their society or otherwise presents its readers with an idealized or dystopian society.

In any case, the readers resonate with the book’s text, and it stirs their imagination. Pop culture allows people to imagine a better world and themselves as someone who can bring it about. Being part of a Fandom encourages exploration and imagination like that, as well as encouraging cross-culture connections. To participate in fan communities one must constantly be willing to consider new ideas and change their perspectives because fans come from everywhere to share their ideas and experiences. Fandom lowers the bar of entry to political participation as well. By simply being pop culture inspired, fan activists are able to bring fun into their work and help people understand the importance of political issues by drawing connections to pop culture. In this way, fandom has always been a place for people to learn and grow because it gathers many passionate people into one place and encourages them to make new connections.

Photo: / Korean Culture and Information Service (Photographer name), CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons