It’s hard to ignore the latest news that has rocked the k-ent world: Park Shi Hoo accused of raping a 22-year-old trainee. As the scandal continues to brew, and as more and more facts and “facts” get reported by the media, the discussions and comments among netizens has likewise exploded.
I’m not writing this post to speculate about the truth of the case.
Rather, the varied responses across the different sites and comments sections that I’ve visited have given me food for thought.
There’s one scandal, but there is such a wide variety of responses.
On one end of the spectrum, there are fans who wholeheartedly believe that Park Shi Hoo is innocent and get upset when others assume or insinuate his guilt. On the other end of that spectrum, there are netizens who are calling him scum and mocking the fangirls for being blind.
The interesting thing is, the people on this second end of the spectrum aren’t all antis, and some have been actual fans. So where does the difference in response lie?
Having gone through a phase of my life where I was a complete Park Shi Hoo fangirl – I was hopelessly head-over-heels infatuated with him – I think I understand where each camp is coming from.
WHERE I AM NOW
I’m not an infatuated Park Shi Hoo fangirl now, having taken up a new, long-term residence in Camp Gong Yoo, but I still have been appreciating Park Shi Hoo’s acting and his roles in various dramas, eg, The Princess’ Man, in which I thought he was awesome.
While I’ve been saying, “Oh I love Park Shi Hoo,” those words don’t mean what they used to.
I’m basically no longer in love with him, and that statement could just as easily read “Oh I love Joo Won” or “Oh I love Lee Jun Ki.” It’s a casual, appreciative kind of love, and not total fangirl love, and that’s made the world of difference, as far as my response to this case is concerned.
From where I’m standing now, it’s much easier to look at things more objectively and weigh the information that’s being released through the media, and consider how the odds are stacked and so forth.
My interest in the case is more distant and less involved than it would have been, had I still been a fangirl in love with him.
A TRUE STORY
I do still remember a time, though, when I would have been completely heartbroken and deeply disturbed by any hint of tarnish to his reputation.
In the thick of my Park Shi Hoo love, I’d trawled the net – extensively, I might add – for photos and information pertaining to him. I was completely enamored by his clean-cut image, and his no-drinking, no-smoking stance. In my mind, I thought of him as the perfect, perfect boyfriend.
And then one day, while perusing a video montage of him on YouTube, I came across several photos of him smoking.
On hindsight, it wasn’t a big deal at all, but at the time, my mind swirled in disbelief.
On one level, I wanted him to be the clean-cut, healthy-living kind of guy who didn’t smoke, but as I delved deeper into my completely discombobulated state of mind, I realized that beyond that, I really, really didn’t want him to be a liar.
I remember doing mental gymnastics for a good number of hours, trying to find a way to give him the benefit of the doubt, because I just couldn’t bring myself to believe that it was possible his no smoking stance was something that had been fabricated for his image.
I still don’t know for sure what the truth around that is, but I remember thinking something like, “Maybe he’s not a smoker, but smokes casually for photo shoots & such.”
Whatever it was, I decided to still believe in him and support him. That is, until Jang Hyuk showed up on my screen and stole my heart – but that’s another story for another day.
My point is, I’ve been there before, and I think I kind of know how the Park Shi Hoo fangirls feel right now.
THE CRUX OF THE MATTER
I believe how each of us responds to the current scandal depends on how invested we are emotionally as fans.
Serious – and I mean, serious – fans consider the star – any star, but in this particular case, it’s Park Shi Hoo – as their husband, boyfriend, brother, son or something similar. In their hearts, he’s family.
And when someone who’s related to you in that way is suddenly accused of something as serious as rape, what does one do, as a family member, or as a parent, or sister, or brother, or girlfriend, or wife?
You go through shock, confusion and denial. You want to believe in the one you love. You want to stand by your loved one. You desperately hope that he is innocent. You defend him when others question his innocence. You get consumed by anger, grief and every emotion in between. You can’t eat, sleep or otherwise function as you usually do. You get edgy and sensitive.
And most importantly, you can’t bring yourself to abandon your loved one, even when the evidence presented starts to look more and more damning.
That’s just the nature of love.
WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US?
As with all scandals, we all have an opinion.
What I ask is that we all make a greater effort towards being sensitive to those who are more emotionally invested than we.
Certainly, if the husband of a friend were accused of rape, none of us would think to tell our friend that her husband is scum and deserves to face the long arm of the law.
No. Instead, we’d be focusing on her, and how she’s holding up in the midst of the case proceedings. Few of us would be insensitive enough to expound at length in front of her why we think he’s guilty. Nor would we tell our friend that she’s blind &/or dumb to still stand by her man.
And so it should be, in terms of how we interact and communicate with Park Shi Hoo’s serious fans.
Let’s be sensitive to their emotional turmoil. Let’s not label them blind or dumb just because they can’t or don’t wish to abandon their love for Park Shi Hoo.
Yes, if he’s guilty, he needs to be dealt with justly.
But in the meantime, let’s not bash one another just because some of us are more emotionally invested than others.
Let’s do what real friends do for one another.