It’s official: the BTS hiatus has begun. Fans of the uber-successful K-pop boyband have flooded the internet with messages of support after the group’s management, Big Hit Entertainment, tweeted out the bittersweet news. Mandatory fun is the justification for the vacation, as the boys have virtually worked themselves to death since before their debut.
Look, I know the ARMY (collective noun for BTS diehards, for the uninitiated) get enough hate as it is, but I think y’all could’ve chosen a better hashtag. #RestWellBTS clearly confused a decent number of people, since “#RestWellBTS died” is a suggested search on Twitter. They’ll only be gone for two months folks, not forever.
Half of the band have been recording and performing full time since before they were 20 years old, so they’ve barely had any time to live as ‘normal’ young people – i.e. people who can nip into the local pub without an entourage of a thousand screaming tweens. In their YouTube Original documentary series Burn The Stage, RM lamented the missing years of “meeting friends” and “enjoying nature and walking around”, saying “I didn’t have enough time to live as Kim Namjoon.”
The physical exhaustion of touring the world and jumping around a stage for hours every night has clearly taken a toll on the members, too, making the break long overdue. Their fans have been pleading with them to slow down for over a year, ever since Burn The Stage exposed the reality of their lives on the road, showing Jungkook collapsing after a performance in Chile.
Pushing the talent too far is a common problem in the K-pop scene, with performers being forced to suffer through chronic health issues to fulfill the demands of their contracts, in exchange for a shot at fame. That’s one reason why the announcement of the BTS hiatus is so important – as the most popular K-pop group in the world, they have a lot of influence.
Though the ARMY are relentless in their love for the band, sometimes at the cost of the members’ privacy and safety, the majority seem nothing but relieved to see their beloved boys get the rest they deserve. Big Hit made an unambiguous request for any fans who stumble upon their idols to respect their personal space, and many have promised to defend the sanctity of the vacation against stalkers. To be fair this is only day one, so who knows what kind of chaos might ensure in the following content-free weeks.
BTS and their management have set a precedent for giving the world’s biggest and busiest K-pop stars a decent holiday, at last! We should all be embracing that liberating philosophy. Thanks to BTS, I will now be using this rationale to get out of any and all social responsibilities. No Aunt Carol, I can’t babysit your grandchildren next week, for I am on “an official and extended period of rest and relaxation”.