BTS Army defends Suga after online backlash over his weight gain

The loyal BTS fan base BTS Army has found a creative way to defend and support one of its beloved K-pop idols after an online backlash over his apparent weight gain.

#YoongiWeLoveYou is trending worldwide on Twitter after BTS member Suga was accused of "not looking like an idol".

On August 12, netizens started commenting on photos posted on Nate, a Korean website, which appeared to show that the 26-year-old band member had put on some weight.

The Army considered the negative comments unacceptable and quickly took to Twitter to support Suga, whose real name is Min Yoongi.

Thousands of BTS fans posted photos and captions praising the Korean celebrity's looks and talent, using the hashtag YoongiWeLoveYou.

Korean beauty standards are largely influenced by the physical appearance of K-pop idols, actors and TV personalities.

Most Korean media stars appear to be slim, with pale and perfectly smooth skin, V-shaped faces and large eyes, which creates a "checklist" for other idols. And celebrities who do not match the criteria are usually criticised by k-netizens.

One tweet shows a compilation of four photos of Suga smiling during a performance, captioned with: "we'll always love you, yoongiii~~~ please stay happy and healthy~~~".

Another tweet reads: "Min yoongi, do not you ever try to change yourself just to please others because you are perfect just the way you are " , while the third tweet with photos of Yoongi states: "Just look at him. He is ETHEREAL."

The fan base is so powerful that the tweets started trending worldwide even though BTS is on a break after a busy year of launching new music and touring.

"I just woke up and see this # trending, haters our boys and their beloved armys are on deserved holiday until Oct 11th. Please kindly refrain from engaging us this time," one tweet read.

This is not the first time BTS Army's support has trended online. Last month, "cholinergic urticaria" became a top search term on Naver, a South Korean search engine, after BTS member Kim Taehyung shared that he had been suffering from this heat-related allergy.

And in October 2018, Army were quick to criticise The Times for comparing BTS singer RM's English skills to the Friends sitcom character Joey Tribbiani.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.