Dara Roa, self-proclaimed ARMY mom, reveals why BTS has been the biggest stress-reliever during the pandemic.
BTS has been keeping us all happy during the pandemic. Their music gave us comfort and even taught our kids some good lessons. But for this mom, they’ve done more than that. Here, Dara Roa shares why she’s a proud ARMY mom:
My fangirling journey has been such a gift so far. I can safely say by now that I am truly, madly, and deeply in love with BTS. Being given a chance to openly profess my immense devotion to these seven boys — RM, Jin, Suga, J-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook; just makes me feel like I’m winning in life!
If you have not heard about BTS, then you must be living under a rock or you’ve taken quarantine life to the extreme. Bangtan Sonyeondan (“Bulletproof Boyscouts” in English) is THE biggest boyband in the world. In fact, they just launched their newest single “Butter”, which is currently on its 6th week as Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, surpassing the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, and Justin Bieber.
“We’re so lucky to be alive at the same time as BTS!” are the words repeatedly spoken by my 23 year old daughter, Thea and myself. We are always in awe of their performances and every thing else they put out into the world. We constantly treat ourselves to BTS content and consume it with so much love and excitement. It has also become our second nature to share videos and photos with each other all day.
Not to mention the occasional VLives that make us rush to each other in a panic just to make sure we watch together (even if we cannot understand a single word said). The Bangtan boys have undoubtedly become our daily dose of happiness. Somehow, days seem incomplete without them.
How it all started
I became ARMY (Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth) only a few months after Thea. She started in May, 2020, while I followed in September. My fangirling life kicked off when I was planning her quarantine surprise birthday party last year. Because I knew how passionate she was about the 7 member group, it was a must that her party should be BTS-themed.
I immediately carried out a covert Bangtan mission to get myself acquainted with the boys. But with no clue whatsoever, I set myself up to dive blindly into the abyss of the BTS Universe. I was not warned! No one ever told me that once you get in, you can’t ever turn back nor get out. You just go deeper and deeper. Hence, my article on why I love them so much. Here you go:
9 Reasons Why I’m ARMY:
1. The love & bond they have for each other.
With the insane amount of media the boys have on the net, whether official or fan-made, you won’t miss their on-stage & off-stage interactions with each other. It’s impossible for you not to feel the warm and gentle tugging on your heartstrings. You’ll pick up on how each would be to the different members, whether they be in sub-units or just one-on-one. For example, you can take a look at how the eldest “hyung” (older brother) and the youngest one — the “maknae” are to each other. This friendship would be called “Jin-Kook”, pertaining to Jin and Jungkook. Whoever you pair each member with, you will immediately see their authentic love, concern and care they have for each other.
Even Demai Sunio-Granali says that Jin plays a big role in showing how much love they have for each other. “Jin was actually my first bias because of how a great big brother he is to the team. I just love how patient and caring he is to the younger members, and how he tailor-fits his “parenting” style toward each of them.”
2. They’re talented!
To be honest, I started off not being able to tell the boys apart. But when I got to know each of them, I found myself to admire and respect BTS for the kind of human beings they are and how much diligence they exhibit when it comes to bettering themselves in their craft. Each one has something unique and special to offer. Each one is irreplaceable. All of them sincerely inspire & motivate each other to become extraordinary. Even in extreme exhaustion, they would insist on doing one more take just to get the perfect shot. There are also times when someone would feel down, because of a mistake they’ve made or for being dissatisfied with their own performance, the other members immediately step in to give comfort and support. They always express gratitude for having each other. They feel that if they have not been together, they will not be able to become as successful.
But we still have our biases as to who we like. Like, ARMY mom Juana Manahan Yupangco has a bias towards Namjoon. “Namjoon is my bias,” says Juana. “Aside from being a musical genius and a poetic lyricist, he’s a good example to young people, did well in school, followed his dream.”
3. They’ve set a whole new standard to “Go Big or Go Home!”
Everything they do is just explosive. They’ve set the bar so high when it comes to performances, choreography, stage design, music video productions, and marketing executions. Everything is just so well thought of and impeccable. Even how they do their collaborations and endorsements are done seamlessly. I feel like they are constantly giving us gifts and surprises. Each month is packed when you’re Army. BTS spoils us with monumental & unheard of shows such as the recent Louis Vuitton Fall-Winter 2021 Men’s Fashion Show in Seoul. That was BIG and historical! I love the caption in one of Louis Vuitton’s Instagram posts saying, “Constructing new meanings. Defying society’s established cultural structure of outsiders versus insiders.”
This is exactly BTS. Always breaking new ground and taking things to the next level. They are undeniably larger than life.
4. They’re naturally good people!
Boys will always be boys. They are constantly teasing each other to the point of becoming too rough. There are times they end up getting hurt and annoyed, but hey, that’s normal and I love seeing them like that. I’m glad that they are open to show their human side despite being in a strict idol culture that Korea breeds. Overall, they are purely and authentically good. They never give off an air of superiority and always acknowledge the fact that they will not be where they are without Army.
Whenever they interact with Bighit (now Hybe) staff, they are very courteous and gentle. They are also very inclusive & mindful when it comes to other K-pop idols. They are definitely our “Humble Kings”.
ARMY mom Janice Villanueva adds, “Loving their songs was a given, but getting to know each member in their online show, and reality travel show— a more authentic, real depiction of their personalities and how they treat each other— was the tipping point for me.”
5. They have irresistible personalities
The 7 boys are so unique and so different from each other that I’m still amazed at how well they get along. It’s so easy to love them all because they’re adorable in too many ways. Despite their differences, they are all genuine and true to themselves. Their individuality just shines through and you will never catch them being pretentious. They are so comfortable in their skin that you’d wish this for your children.
It’s a bonus that they are all extremely funny. Everytime my daughter and I watch “Run BTS” or any of their reality tv type shows like “Bon Voyage” and “In the Soop”, we laugh so hard that we can hardly breathe. We resonate with their zest for life and ability to make any situation something they can have fun with.
Even ARMY mom, Daphne Osena-Paez, agrees. “I am so fascinated with the entire ecosystem they have created. The way they cultivate their relationships with fans, how it all ties in to the positive message, and the entire business empire.”
6. They don’t tolerate toxic masculinity.
It is common knowledge that non-BTS fans often judge the group about their sexuality, fashion choices, and wearing makeup. We should be living in a world where we respect people of all races, sexual orientations, and value each one’s opinions and choices. I love how the Bangtan boys are honest with their feelings and are very confident in themselves that they shun societal beliefs of what should be for men and what should be for women. They treat everyone with equal respect and I would like my son to grow up to be this way. I want him to be secure with himself and be able to do what he wants without being afraid of being ridiculed. I wish for him to influence and inspire others to champion respect for all human beings regardless of ethnicity, gender, or social class the way BTS does.
7. They are true champions of putting “Love Myself” into practice.
Unlike other K-pop groups, Bighit Entertainment (their management company), chose them for their talent, passion, hardwork, and their good nature. They didn’t fit into Korean beauty standards and received so much hate during their earlier years. Moreover, the company they belonged to was a small one that had to contend with the powerful big three. They were not prioritized by tv and radio shows and they received a lot of disapproval from K-pop fans & other Korean celebrities when they debuted. Despite all this, they pushed on and believed in themselves. They learned how to love who they were, create their music, and perform to their heart’s content. They have songs where they spoke about their struggles and how they were able to overcome them. Little did they know, these songs will transcend language barriers and resonate with people all over the world.
In 2017, together with the Korean and Japanese Committee for UNICEF, BTS launched the “Love Myself” campaign, which works against violence toward children and teens around the world. The group donated a portion of their album sales and 100 percent of all profits from their merch to the cause.
Even ARMY mom Rhea De Vera Aguirre agrees, “Their journey is really inspiring and their messages of self-love, hope and positivity really resonate with me and a lot of people.”
8. They spread comfort
Who would’ve thought that the songs written by young boys would speak of unspoken truths and hold so much wisdom. No wonder their fanbase is so diverse and wide. What they say and stand for resonates with everyone. I love how I meet Army online and they openly share how BTS has saved them from their depression. There are so many mental health advocates that are big fans of the septet as they truly embody the realities that people struggle with and at the same time provide the comfort they need.
Demai Sunio-Granali says it shows in her favorite song. “Paradise because of the comfort and reassurance that it offered me during the pandemic. I didn’t even realize then that I was going through an anxious phase (I was in denial, I guess) but that song helped me accept everything that I was going through and made me feel okay about not feeling okay.”
9. They never forget to give back.
Being grateful has always been something they’ve shown even from their earlier days. They would personally purchase and wrap gifts for their fans so they can give it to them at their face-to-face events. They were always so thankful to everyone who loved their music and took time out to see them. Now that they’ve grown an enormous amount of success, they continuously donate on their own to various charities worldwide.
This year alone, Suga donated $88,000 on March 11 to Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center in his hometown of Daegu in honor of his 28th birthday. Last May 5, Korea’s Children’s Day, J-Hope donated 100 million won for the support of children in Tanzania exposed to violence.
From ARMY mom to another
There’s just so much to love about BTS whether its their message, their dance moves, or their songs. Just like how they don’t need Permission to Dance, we don’t need permission to express our love for their music. With their music being all about love, we won’t have to worry about any bad ideas that usually slip in through music. While they’re becoming a force for good, it’s up to us ARMY moms to make sure that love stays alive in our kids.