BTS Subverts Norms Again With Their Paper Magazine Cover

BTS are known for breaking down barriers. Whether it’s through music, fashion, or TV shows, the members of BTS connect with people around the world. Their words and actions inspire people to be themselves and the group often subverts norms in music and fashion. In their new cover and article with Paper Magazine, BTS subverted norms once again.

BTS Paper Magazine
BTS | Andrew Lipovsky/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

The BTS article with Paper Magazine is a collaboration

For the Paper Magazine article, BTS collaborated with Lisa Frank and Louis Vuitton. Lisa Frank is a businesswoman known for her colorful designs marketed for school-aged children. In an editor’s note, Paper Magazine explained how the collaborations fit with BTS’s message.

“For PAPER’s 2019 Break the Internet moment, we combined three cultural powerhouses: BTS, our cover stars; Lisa Frank, who created custom artwork; and Virgil Abloh, whose Spring 2020 collection for Louis Vuitton Men appears on the group. BTS is the biggest music group on the planet and since the beginning, they have championed youth empowerment,” reads the editor’s note.

The note continues, “PAPER is particularly inspired by their ‘Love Yourself’ campaign and speech at the UN last year when RM urged young people, ‘No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin color, gender identity: Just speak yourself. Find your name and find your voice.’ For decades, iconic American artist Lisa Frank has similarly empowered young people to express themselves freely and think creatively. Her art is the ultimate symbol of ‘Love Yourself.'”

BTS breaks down the idea of toxic masculinity

The editor’s note explains how Louis Vuitton fits with BTS’s “Love Yourself” campaign.

“Finally, there is simply no one better at communicating with younger generations and breaking barriers in fashion than Virgil Abloh, artistic director for Louis Vuitton’s menswear as well as the founder and creative director of Off-White. Separately, their contributions to pop culture are enormous, together they Break the Internet,” the statement concludes.

In the article, each member of BTS posed in individual and group shots while wearing Louis Vuitton. The background images were designed by Frank. The images of the article’s photo shoot embraced Frank’s trademark bright colors and smiling animals.

The photos take things BTS have been criticized for, such as femininity and appealing to women, and promote it even more. In doing so, BTS confronts gender norms and the idea of toxic masculinity.

BTS embraces their fans with the Paper Magazine cover

When it comes to entertainment, people look down upon art forms appreciated by women. Boy bands historically have women-led fanbases. Because of this, men and the general public write off groups. Young people’s opinions are often discredited as well due to their age.

BTS’s article with Paper Magazine reinforces the ideals BTS preach, youth empowerment and speaking one’s truth. The cover art for BTS’s Paper Magazine sends a clear message that BTS does not need the validation of those outside their fanbase. The article references BTS’s fandom, ARMY, as “one of the most passionate, mobilized music fanbases in the world.”

“It’s an honor that people around the world love our music and messages. It seems like there’s no language barrier,” BTS said of their fans. “We think that ARMY helped us spread our music across the world. All of this would have not been possible without ARMY.”

Combined with the youthful designs from their photos, BTS alludes that everything they achieved is thanks to a young, female-led fanbase. In a time where people discredit both women and youths’ opinions, this acknowledgement from BTS is monumental. The article and photos send a clear statement that BTS and their fans have broken a fandom norm in the entertainment industry.