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Groupies Take a Powerful Influence on the Rights of Consumers
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[0호] 승인 2005.07.06  
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Teenagers love media celebrit-ies. It is a typical phase of youths all around the world. Teens can be categorized into groups of fans of various celebrities. Adults may frown at their groupie mentality.
Then what is groupie?

Groupies are fanatics who are motivated by extreme, unreasonable enthusiasm for oppa-budae or ppasooni in Korean.

Usually youngsters are apt to pour their blind enthusiasm and worship on their favorite singers. Sometimes the girls from large fan clubs and their members are fond of the celebrity chosen for that club. It is well known that there have been fights between different fan club members.

Besides a celebrity the popularity among teenagers, if you only try to look around the entertainment industry, you can penetrate other force that control the congregation of groupies.

These are the entertainment companies that want to sell more records, and broadcasting companies that struggle to raise their program ratings. Therefore, groupies are a phenomenon nurtured by entertainment and broadcasting companies. You may see white, red, blue and orange balloons on some TV music programs.

These balloons quickly become symbols for particular singers. Most adults even know what this representation means.
The main problem with groupies is that teens become divided. This often leads to scuffle among celebrity followers.

On the web, teens use the anonymity of cyberspace to create rumors and insult other celebrities and their groupies. Once, an anti-fan of Korean boy band, god, even toxic chemicals to the parents of the singer. One more example of powerful fanatics, teens of another boy group H. O. T. blamed the police and paralyzed the police website with a large number of e-mail complaints.

Only because the police arrested a member of that group for driving under the influence. This worship of celebrities is similar to fascism in that it does not justify the actions that fans take, but merely displays a lack of reason and uncontroll-able emotion.

These days, however, the fans have a tendency to make a new aspect. Blind love for media stars is changing into a movement for consumer rights and they are now demanding the reformation of the music industry. Especially, the Internet has posed a fabulous impact on the movement of fans.

Through the net, fans can express and exchange their opinions about singers. This flow is becoming more popular with fans in their twenties and thirties as well as with teens. Today, the public have a great deal of economic power so that they have influence over which stars become popular and idolized.

Moreover, the relationship between singers and their fans is no longer a master and servant relationship. Fans can prove what is popular and thus put demands on broadcasting and entertainment companies. We can visualize their weight in the cases of Seo Taiji and god.

Fans of Seo Taiji started a campaign to stop advertising for an entertainment news program because it reported an incorrect story of him. This campaign got agreement from four major companies two years ago.

They also contributed to the loss of a censorship on the songs and lyrics in our country and led to the termination of illegitimate music chart programs that only aired superstars and lipsync singers. As a result, Music Bank on KBS closed music charts, and Music Camp on MBC now makes all singers perform live.

They have introduced their policies through the net and through posters and now work together with other fan clubs to support the movement.

Fans of god campaigned to stop to change the venues of their concert. They believed that changing concert venues would degrade the quality of concerts and only increase the profits for entertainment and broadcast companies.

Fans submitted an official request to the entertainment companies. Through their proposal was not accepted, it brought about the introduction of large concert screens and improved sound facilities of the stage.

In addition to this, god fans objected when the agency proposed to withdraw a member of god. Angry 1067 fan sites opposed the one sided withdrawal announcement made by entertainment companies. Fans worked together to create a god united fan site and forced the company to retract its statement.

Also fans ran ads in newspapers to initiate a cultural consumer movement demanding proper relationships among entertain-ment companies, singers and their fans. This active reaction of fanatics broke the old notion about them as Oppa-budae and has gotten good publicity.

There are still some objections to this movement. Although adult listeners led this movement, they have no influence on the teenage groupie culture. In addition, the groupie movement brings recognition to the fans and their power to express a media celebrities’ popularity and success.

Groupies deserve to praise because they have converted the lopsided connection that existed between fans and singers into a more mutual thing. Until now, people thought of groupies pessimistically but they allow the possibility of Korean pop culture to advance in a more democratic way.

Choi Mi-yeon
Junior, Dept of English Leng. & Lit
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