BTS helps fans a.k.a ARMY overcome eating disorders and focus on studies.
Empty dishes of food lie around the table. The daal in the bowl has almost dried up, the laptop still continues to play “ON”, a song by BTS. As the pages of the book flip due to the wind, Sreya and Sania share a dialogue on how “BTS- Bangatan Sonyeondan” kept them motivated and pushed them to do better for themselves. ARMY is what they call themselves- The BTS fandom.
Sreya V, ARMY shared how she feels about watching BTS eat or study with them. “Watching my favourite K-Pop band do things such as eat or study with me makes me want to do it with them. As an ARMY, watching BTS study or eat, I automatically associate it with comfort. It is easier to do these things knowing that someone I admire also does the same.”
Sania Maima, ARMY has emphasized on how BTS affects the lives of fans. “There was this one instance where Jeon Jungkook, a member, was having banana milk on a Vlive and the next moment the product got sold out. If BTS personally promote eating and staying healthy, it’s pretty likely that 70 percent of the fandom will definitely follow them. Fans see them as idols and not just artists.”
She also said that the band has a very specific target audience which makes it important for them to keep them interested through introducing better ideas. Compared to other bands, BTS has a strong way of staying in touch with their fans. Shows like Run BTS, Vlives and Bangtan Bomb are ways to deepen the connection with the fandom.
Shikha Suresh, a psychologist emphasized on how this relation with the band improves connectivity to fans. “With an increase in the use of social media, our focus is more on parasocial relationships where you are not actually meeting the person but are building feelings towards them. It might bring you closer to the artist you love. For the band it is useful as fans will definitely connect with them,” she added.
Eat Jin and Eating disorders:
“I was diagnosed with an eating disorder during my schooling. I was reluctant to eat food and used to limit myself from eating a lot. I used to give my lunch away to my friends. Eventually this took a toll on me,” said Aisha H.
Dr. Saroja V, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina said that, “Any age group can be affected by Eating Disorders (ED). The exact cause is unknown. It is usually a combination of biological, psychological and social factors.”
“I found support in my mother and did visit a doctor, however watching Jin and the other members eat made me want to have food with them,” she added.
Eat Jin is one such show where the idol, Kim Seok Jin from BTS does live videos of him eating food while encouraging fans to eat with him.
Tanushree, ARMY has shared her experience of watching Eat Jin. “I just had my lunch while watching Eat Jin. I feel like I am sitting and eating with someone and not watching them on screen. I feel better when I eat with him and it does have a positive effect on my eating habits.”
The show feels personal as Jin describes what he is eating, makes conversation with the audience and is hilarious. It does uplift my mood instantly stated Tanushree.
According to research on eating disorders, they stem from irregular eating habits. This involves anorexia and bulimia, but due to lack of awareness around it in India, hardly any cases are reported officially. Both anorexia and bulimia are disorders due to the fear of gaining weight. Binge Eating Disorders (BED) are also prevalent in the country where eating is looked at as a coping mechanism. It was concluded that eating disorder cases do exist in the country.
“Though these videos are acting as a good impetus, at the end of the day they are not medical professionals,” said Anuradha Reddy, a student at Gandhi Medical College, Hyderabad.
She further said that the requirements of every body are different, everybody has an individual body response. They are not monitoring what you are eating, but are encouraging you to eat but seeking out professional help is required.
Cognitive behavioural therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy are required to intervene with ED treatments, according to a study on Psychological Treatments for Eating Disorders. It also states that 49 percent of the people had a positive treatment outcome.
“Nutritional management of the disorder is vital as it includes the right amount of hydration, vitamin and mineral supplementation. Adding on to this, treatment includes medical care and monitoring, medications, psychotherapy, self and family help,” Saroja said.
Anuradha further said that mandatory psychological treatment is vital for EDs. Anorexia and Bulimia’s origin is psychological and not physical. When the cause is such, the treatment needs to be psychological. It does not start physically but can go to an extreme of starving oneself.
Study with BTS and lack of motivation:
With colleges moving online, students have felt a lack in connection with their classmates and studies as well. “It was a challenge for us to focus and concentrate on what we are trying to achieve. I discovered the Study with BTS videos around this time and eventually was able to make progress and improve my productivity,” said Maya Abhinav, a student from Gandhi Medical College, Hyderabad.
“I use the study with BTS videos, as a pomodoro timer. It’s nice and lightens up my mood. It’s a very innovative idea and they should continue making more such videos including workouts and skin care routines,” said Sania.
She added on to this that she feels like she can take things at her own pace and feels confident about it.
“The fact that BTS are trying to put in effort into helping ARMYs is very important to me. They motivate me to do things, which is needed right now. By watching their videos, I don’t feel burdened with doing the tasks alone,” said Sreya.
The connection is not termed a real social connection, Shikha emphasized on how important it is to maintain boundaries. “People should be able to function well without it as well, if they cannot, it moves to an obsession and eventually hampers your daily routine. At the end of the day it is not a normal relationship.”