Many are confused why BTS were brought into the discussion in the first place.
On November 23, KST, British GQ Magazine published its “Most Stylish People On The Planet 2023” list, and out of the 23 names on there, G-Dragon was the only Korean celebrity. While his inclusion on the list is a proud achievement, the magazine’s choice of wording while describing his influence has left a sour taste in the mouth of many.
The paragraph dedicated to talking about G-Dragon’s style had a very unexpected mention of BTS.
G-Dragon was selling out Seoul stadiums before BTS was even a Petri dish in a K-pop factory farm. Coloured hair? Womenswear? Chanel and luxury house campaigns? Nike collaborations? G-Dragon did it first and he’s still out there.
But it is the particular phrase, “BTS was even a Petri dish in a K-Pop factory farm,” that made ARMYs enraged. Given the history of dehumanization of Korean pop artists in the West, where K-Pop is often stereotyped as “factory manufactured music,” this phrasing unsurprisingly stood out to fans as outright racist, which they called out immediately.
petri dish in a kpop factory farm… how far will u go to dehumanize people of color it’s disgusting. https://t.co/x78faoQNeB
— ꒰⑅ᵕ༚ᵕ꒱˖♡ nibby⁷✩‧₊ (@ZoroMins) November 23, 2022
— tony⁷ (@btspopmp3) November 23, 2022
Ah yes, what better way to introduce a Korean fashion icon than to commit a microagression against another group of Koreans. Surely, in the year 2022, you understand how insinuating BTS was manufactured plays into racist tropes of Asians being robotic with no autonomy? https://t.co/RPtDpzx2kt
— Patty⁷ 🇨🇦💜🐋 (@btbtbtsssssss_) November 23, 2022
insane how you decided that perpetuating dehumanizing racist rhetoric against korean artists while trying to uplift another korean artist was the way to go https://t.co/zvEWKBuZDq
— jojo⁷🌊💙 (@93SHAD0WS) November 23, 2022
— the information action ratio⁷ (@borahaezu) November 23, 2022
The fact that G-Dragon has always been a fashion-forward icon is not lost on anyone. He has numerous achievements to his name to fill multiple paragraphs, but the opportunity to highlight his artistic influence was somehow lost by the magazine for no apparent reason. Fans are appalled that instead of showing genuine appreciation for him, British GQ resorted to namedrop an unrelated group, that too in such a problematic angle that not only insults BTS but diminishes the entire K-Pop industry at large, which G-Dragon is also a part of.
Artists like Jackson Wang of GOT7 have directly spoken up against this harmful stereotype, which diminishes the hard work of Korean artists who work just as hard as their western counterparts to create authentic art.
Locals calling Kpop “manufactured” will never not be the funniest, most ironic thing to me… and Jackson has a few words on that… pic.twitter.com/1fVJPpoFMt
— gotexopink will always laugh last (@ministryofkpop) December 9, 2019
Neither the British GQ Magazine nor the writers Zak Maoui, Murray Clark, and Finlay Renwick have commented on this issue yet.
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