Jung Chaeyeon caused an uproar among K-Pop community when she was announced to endure double activities with two different acts; her original group DIA where she rejoined them after a temporary leave due to Produce 101 commitments and I.O.I, a group formed with best eleven trainees from Produce 101 where she was ranked 7th. So what went wrong? What was in their mind? Does being in two groups bring more harm than good? How many questions left to answer?
To learn the truth, we need to dive deeply into every mind for us to truly get a proper grasp of what’s going on.
Before we venture into a human mind and its mysteries, we should understand the concept and theory of the mind itself. What is a mind? According to Wikipedia (everyone’s favorite), “the mind is a set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, and memory. It holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions.” The highlighted part holds the key in unlocking the mystery of a netizen’s mind and how does it works, ergo on how do they perceive things.
Whenever an issue arises, netizens perceive it differently with their own point of view. Sometimes, they would go with popular opinions, whether it is right or wrong, it does not matter. Sometimes, they believe it’s the other way around. To further our discussion, let’s take a look into Chaeyeon’s double acts issue and see how each perspective plays its role in uncovering truth behind a netizen’s mind. There are five major point of views relevant to this issue: Chaeyeon’s perspective, public/neutrals perspective, DIA/I.O.I-related perspective, MBK/YMC-related perspective, and netizens with a pH value less or greater than seven-ish perspective.
Let us put ourselves in their shoes and see things through their lenses~
1. Jung Chaeyeon
To immerse yourself in her situation, you need to be her. Assuming we are in her place, what would you do? An idol who is contracted to promote in two labels, MBK and YMC. A member of two different groups, DIA and I.O.I. A single entity that is working in two dimensions, yikes! One big word: catastrophe. As a rising star, one tiny mistake might destroy her chances to hit it big in one of the most competitive entertainment industry in the world. She wouldn’t want that. Her labels wouldn’t want that. Her groups wouldn’t want that, so does her fans. Thus leaving her with no option left but to fulfill her responsibilities as a darling of DIA and I.O.I. For the first month since Produce 101 ended, she had to endure a grueling schedules with I.O.I. That’s understandable because I.O.I was everywhere. From commercial filming to variety shows. As expected from nation’s produced girl group.
Other than arising health issues, there should be no complaint here because you can’t become successful without having enough exposure and working continuously. You don’t stop in K-Pop. There is only moving forward. She knows that, and she doesn’t want to lose her inclining momentum. When an uproar occurred, you can tell just how much pressure and burden she has to carry on her back while keeping a poker face all the time just to tell us that she’s alright, everything is going to be alright. She posted a message on her Instagram to clarify things. Being branded as a traitor after she was seemingly unable to attend certain schedules with I.O.I (during that time, the month is full of I.O.I-related schedules), you did see that coming. It was hectic for her but she handled it like a champ and a true professional. Now you want to be like her, right? You wish.
2. General public/Neutrals
Now we are one of the public. Either we ‘produced’ her or not, again it doesn’t matter. Articles are released, news are flooding in, and rumours are starting to fill up the noises. People are starting to talk about her. You are curious about it so you end up doing a mini research of what’s going on. The first article you read is a negative one, and judging from comments posted, she’s not having her best day. From here, perceptions will branch into two paths. Path of believing and path of denying. You will ended up believing it from your first reading, and it will be heated up with surging comments. Or, you will just rub it off and take it at face value because you know the things posted might not be accurate or even true to begin with. None is wrong because first thing first, we are barely perceiving information taken from the news. The information are transferred into our brain and as we process it, our surroundings and other external factors create a perception thus playing its part for our forthcoming output and eventual feedback. Secondary source of information tend to lose its credibility value because of possible defamation and distortion. The public mostly will only churn out majority voice because of herd tendency. Unless, you are brave enough or don’t really care about getting flak. Uh-uh.
Do the public hold any significance? Yes, they do. If they don’t like you, you’re not getting anywhere. It’s like a whole nation is against you and your career that is bound to fail. So as one of them, what do you feel about this whole ordeal? There are two primary responses to this: 1. You might feel that MBK and YMC are not doing a proper job at managing her career path and schedules, and/or 2. She’s an opportunist, a sly fox (since K-netizens love to depict people of certain characteristics with certain animals). These are normal responses because we are not in their situations, and we will perceive it as it is. It might be true that both labels are bad at managing, but it could also be that conflicting dual promotions with only a few missed schedules might be the best for her and their interests. She could be an opportunist, as she try to get the best of both world, to win on both sides. Why not kill two birds with one stone while you can? But that does not guarantee the birds to not retaliate if failed.
Congratulations, now you are a member of DIA and I.O.I! DIA is your original group. Though I.O.I is just a temporary project group, it’s still your main medium for publicity and exposure until an imminent disbandment happens (let’s be real). Here comes the tricky part, how are you going to juggle all given schedules from both groups without being irresponsible? Who should you prioritize?
The answer is both. In your case, there is no other option other than following orders. What set both groups apart is schedules. For the first two months since Produce 101 ended, you will attend hefty schedules with I.O.I under YMC flag. At the same time, MBK has decided that DIA is making their comeback in the following month. From that, we can see that there is almost zero time gap for you to prepare for the comeback unless, you cancel out certain schedules and sacrifice free times with preparations for the comeback. That is the only doable way. She did just that.
What about fans from each group? DIA fans (now known as AID, don’t bother adding a little ‘s’ at the end of it because English grammar is nonexistent in K-Pop) waited for almost a year for them to make a comeback. Their début was underwhelming in the eyes of the public, tagged as T-ara’s little sister and manage by MBK, they got buried real quick. Despite that, fans are still hoping for them to make a comeback and started to blame MBK for the girls’ lack of exposure. Concern on their possible disbandment sent fear within the fandom. You can’t blame them really.
As for I.O.I fans, the news of her making a comeback with DIA invoked various reactions. Some of them felt that it is too early for her to have schedules with DIA in a midst of Chrysalis promotion, as it might disrupt the plans and flows. Some fans concern about her health and well-being because double and cross schedules/promotions might be a bit diabolical. They don’t want her to miss out schedules with other members because I.O.I only lasts until January next year, something to think about. She gained fame through Produce 101 and I.O.I, and from that a feeling of attachment and a sense of belonging awoken among I.O.I fans toward her, the same can be said about AID as Chaeyeon is originally a member of DIA. Bloody hell.
You might think this whole mess stops there but I haven’t yet to mention her real fans. Those who truly support her and don’t really care about her being in DIA or I.O.I or somewhere else. These fans might receive the most turbulence during this whole ordeal and I’ve experienced it myself. They have to witness all kinds of Jung Chaeyeon fans bickering with each other endlessly, up to a point where her fandom cracked, and had a split end. Now, she has two major fandoms. Though till today, her real fans are still hoping that one day that reunification of these two factions will become a reality. Let’s pray for them.
To know them is to become them. Even though you might not like it, and that smiling uncle in the picture above is not helping either. Don’t stare at him for too long! You might get scouted. Anyways.. uh.. um.. oh yeah what do you guys think they have in mind about Chaeyeon?
In business perspective, Chaeyeon herself is a money-making prospect. Especially for MBK. Ever since the merging happened, MBK is like a new company with CCM tag tailing its shadow. They know the public despise them, so they want to change things. MBK sent T-ara to China and let them have promotions in international market, which worked out pretty well considering anything that is related to T-ara will be forgotten quickly in their homeland. Now, they shift their focus on DIA and Shannon Williams (Queen of Instagram Tea). Before we continue and try to escape from seeing more of that uncle’s horrible choice of tee, we should take a note that DIA is actually MBK’s first idol group. T-ara on the other hand is CCM’s first. Are you still seeing him? Okay let me jump a paragraph.
Okay another one.
That’s more like it.
Let’s get back to the topic at hand. Now we realized just how important DIA is to MBK, we should be able to understand why they want to use her popularity from Produce 101 and I.O.I as a paraphernalia of saving DIA and themselves. She is adored by the public, and when was the last time a personnel from CCM/MBK received such love? Yes, before the Budokan incident.
By the looks of it, obviously MBK had already planned a comeback for the girls even before Produce 101 ended. The productions and preparations may seemingly rushed but a summer comeback was set in stone. Or not due to latest revelation from Shannon Williams that her comeback was pushed back because of DIA. It means that it is possible MBK originally planned a comeback for Shannon first instead of DIA. Of course, you would promote DIA first while one of the member is trending. MBK (supreme leader Kim Kwang Soo is still alive) is also known for their noise marketing and public relation tactics. The fact that people are talking about Chaeyeon and her cross/double promotions might excite them.
What about YMC? They already stated that it is eligible for I.O.I members to proceed with activities and schedules with their parent labels for a whole duration of their contract, with discretion and agreements between both parties. It is not wrong for Chaeyeon to attend and take part in other schedules that are not I.O.I’s. MBK proceed with the comeback regardless of resentment from the public because it was never wrong in the first place. After the rage and anger had subsided, people were able to see things more rationally. As of now, everything is working out quite well. Other I.O.I members like Kim Sejeong (debuted with Gugudan a month after DIA’s comeback), Zhou Jieqiong and Lim Nayoung (actively participating with Pledis Girls schedules) are able to follow her footsteps without much backlash.
5. Netizens with a pH value less or greater than seven-ish
Here comes the fun part. What if we are one of the grumpy netizens who gets piss off over everything? Internet has become our second life. PC is our new home. Community boards/forums are our new workplace. Let us become the NETIZENS!
As one of them, what would you do? First of all, we need to get piss of first because there is a new rising star in K-Pop. Since we are already getting tired of hating on Seolhyun, Tzuyu, and other trending idols, why not shift our hatred towards Jung Chaeyeon. She has everything except for variety skills and singing abilities. But of course it wouldn’t be fun if we hate on those parts. It’s too obvious and she would just admit to it. Plus, her other members like Sejeong, Chungha, Yebin, and Eunjin can cover her weaknesses up. Dang it what should we do? Oh yeah we really should hate on her visual instead. Why? Because it make us feel like an East Coast gangsta for mocking her best talent, by being pretty. Yeah, that feels good. I feel like spilling my soda all over the floor and wait for my mom to clean it up. I’ve accomplished something. I’m such a badass.
For some reason, rising rookies are giving me chills. What if they displace my biases off the charts? What if they become more and more popular and started to win public polls? Won number one on music shows more than my babies? Achieved certified all kills on digital charts, and rise to become a digital monster? I’m scared. I’ve never been this terrified before. What should we do? There is no other way other than to demonize them. Let’s start with Chaeyeon. There are twelve topics of her published today. Hm but it’s not juicy enough to be translated and stigmatized so let’s just go with a fairly negative topic and focus on its negative comments. Yeah, we should do that. Pretty sure there are other people like us who feel the same way and want to bring her down, hoping that they will agree and take it as solid facts. These people will help us fan the flame. Don’t worry about the small amount of upvotes in each comment. They only care about the negative comments. Even if positive comments received hundreds of upvote, who cares really? We want to be a badass here, not a priest. So to speak.
I feel bad now. You guys should feel the same too. At least, we all realized of what we have done. Why would we do such things to someone we don’t even know? It must be hard for her to read harsh comments after trying so hard to gain at least a glance of curiosity from the public, and we tarnish her chances and obliterate their hard work to pieces through false accusations and defamation. We call her traitor. We call her fake. We call her useless. All proclaimed without knowing her first. Are we strong enough to endure day-to-day life like she did? It’s not just Chaeyeon. This is for all existing idols. You don’t have a slightest idea of just how hard it is to become an idol. Competition is high, chances to début is low, opportunities to shine is nigh impossible. For me, it’s a foul play to accuse an innocent person of doing something that they never did. A foul play is technically a crime. So let us not become one. Don’t fool ourselves with things that are clearly making a fool out of us. Be smart.
What I want to make out of this is that before we try to start an argument and make a case out of it, we should look into others’ perspectives first. You can’t make a fair conclusion OR come to an agreement without looking outside of the box. There will never be an end to it. Through comprehension and countenance, we will see things better and wider. It will make us a better person too, as we become much wiser and have empathy towards each other. Disagreement is inevitable but at least we learn to understand each other’s reasoning and concerns. You don’t go around and shove your beliefs down their throat every single time just to make them agree with it. That is just naïve. Foolish arrogance won’t do you any good. Think about it.
It is difficult to combat bigotry, prejudice, and sentiments
For an example, you can’t say that her I.O.I fans are wrong because they only support her when she was seen in Produce 101. They are her fans after all. They want to support her and you have no right to say otherwise. While her I.O.I fans can’t say that her DIA fans (man, this is getting confusing) should wait until I.O.I disbands because that is selfish and blind. AID have to wait for almost a year for a comeback and you expect them to wait for another year? Apathy among these two fandoms of the same flag is high.
It’s even worse among company stans and casual fans. From my years of experience dealing with K-Pop fans, company stans possess the biggest sense of elitism and arrogance. If they feel threatened by something, the best course of action for them is to pull “my faves list of previous achievements” card. It’s pretty idiotic if we start think about it. Once you pulled that card, your rivals will pull the same card to counter-claim. It goes on and on and on until someone takes a stand and bring Taylor Swift and Rihanna into the scene. All discussions end when Michael Jackson or The Beatles made their cameos.
You can witness this in our own forum. It’s pretty clear. Whenever there’s a topic of achievement or similar to it, someone will ruin it and others will join the party. I rather sit and watch them argue with each other instead of joining them flipping tables because I followed K-Pop not because of its achievements but for its entertainment. Why fight if we can learn to listen to each other and enjoy good music together? In my opinion, good music always wins. I considered myself as a girl group trash but I listen to all kind of music offered by K-Pop as well. If it’s good, it’s good. But if my faves release a bad song, it’s still bad. I’m not deaf, please.
It is difficult to combat bigotry, prejudice, and sentiments, but it’s easy for us to watch this video below and end our day with a smile. Enjoy!
Featured image cr: @fantalogic_kr