ARMY,  ARMY Discussion

Who is allowed to be ARMY?


Many people call themselves ARMY. However, not all ARMY claim each other, consciously or unconsciously. Most people agree to different extents that everyone who simply calls themselves an ARMY isn’t one automatically. This also ties into the fandom’s responsibility when incidents occur. It is a good idea to at least be familiar with how you personally define ARMY and be aware that not everyone has the same idea of ARMY.

I am going to list a few examples of labels that are used in a negative way to alienate others in the fandom.

  • solo stans/non-OT7 – think one/several members are superior to the others
  • saesangs – “stalker fans”, who invade BTS’s privacy and/or personal space
  • all multifandoms – support BTS alongside other kpop groups
  • all multifandoms which BTS is not their ult – support BTS but BTS is not their first priority over another kpop artist
  • manager army – would like to micromanage BigHit and bash BigHit and others who do agree with their plans
  • company stans – will blindly defend BigHit, no matter what they do
  • no jams – make oblivious/offensive jokes about BTS
  • large accounts – a “big account” is generally considered to have at least 10,000 followers, but this opinion may vary, usually in the context of cliques
  • everyone except mutuals
  • use a specific social media platform
  • koreaboos and/or kpoppies
  • are a certain age
  • are a certain gender

Again, the purpose of doing this is not to persuade you to have a particular set of ideas about ARMY, but to make yourself more conscious of biases that exist. I do not mean to say that these are all inherently negative or positive. Also, keep in mind that everyone’s definition of these terms as well can vary.

Some questions to ask yourself, you do not have to share publicly if you do not wish:

  • Which labels/groups of people within ARMY do you personally not claim?
  • How extreme does a person have to be for you to consider them to be a part of each label?
  • How do you react to those who you deem unacceptable – do you ignore them, indirectly confront them, or directly confront them?
    • For example, commenting under a post that is from someone who you give a certain label would be a direct confrontation, but mentioning a label in a post would be an indirect confrontation.
  • What effect do the discrepancies in our own definitions of each label have in fandom culture?
  • What role to the opinions of the people you are surrounded by play in defining what is “acceptable”?
  • Do you believe your definitions of each label and which you do not deem acceptable are true of most other ARMY?

After reflecting on how this knowledge applies to you, you may then use it to help you understand the behavior of others. It is important to understand that who gets to decide who is allowed to be ARMY is and who gets what label is debated. Is it BTS? BigHit? A majority consensus in ARMY? There is not a clear answer. ARMY is a large, complicated microorganism. It has many “tribes” or subunits with their own culture. Each person has their own opinion of what you need to do or be in order to be considered a “real” ARMY.

This goes into another level of complexity when we discuss responsibility for incidents.

  • When one or a few people act on behalf of all of ARMY, should the whole fandom be responsible?
  • Can responsibility be taken away by not claiming those individuals or those who fall under similar labels?

These are mostly just points to ponder for yourself. I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter in the comments section on the site, on social media, or on the site forums.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article only represent the views of the author and do not represent the views of BTS ARMY Guide, its partners, the sources used, and/or BigHit Entertainment. 


Hello, I'm Ella. I'm a psychology student from the USA and my native language is English. I became an ARMY in January 2018 and have never had a bias. In addition to BTS, I love books, anime, manga, food, sleeping, spending time with my cats, and writing poetry. You can find me on Twitter as @castles_of_air.

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