In my previous post, I discussed BTS lyrics and the different types of love based on ancient Greek philosophy thanks to a monthly event organized by WordsByBangtan.

This time, in honour of women's month and Yoongi's birthday month, the theme is: empowerment, resilience and perseverance. But before we begin, I feel it is appropriate to recall the meaning of these three words.

Empowerment=

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When we talk about empowerment, women's rights movement always comes to my mind, and this makes sense because empowerment is a keyword for the process of becoming stronger and more independent, in claiming the rights of any human being; empowerment means autonomy and self-determination, but also means overcoming one's position of lack of power, or overcoming the lack of influence for such changes, and thus recognising and using one's own resources, and putting them to use to achieve one's ideals.

Perseverance=

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At the mention of perseverance, BTS immediately comes to mind. There's no way it doesn't, when the word itself means the action of doing whatever you set out to do regardless of the difficulty or the time it will take to achieve your goals; perseverance means to persist, to keep going even when it means falling down in the process. It is a continuous effort and determination, and those of you who are BTS fans will know right away what I mean here.

Resilience=

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Resilience is basically about recovering. It is the ability to overcome, to get over difficulties; for me, it also means not only to face those difficulties but also to take them as some kind of reference for the future. That's why I also want to mention the meaning of resilience as a psychological terminology because I will concentrate on this later on. In simple words, psychological resilience in people is when they develop (psychological) capacities as a coping mechanism to deal with stress or to keep calm in critical situations. When talking about psychological resilience, I should mention factors such as a positive attitude or general optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, or what for me is the most important, the ability to see failures and mistakes as a form of useful feedback for development.

Now that we have gone through the meanings of the keywords, I will focus on connecting them to BTS and each of their aspects.

I will start with the BTS lyrics because even though each song has a specific message and they differ from each other depending on the underlying topic, they somehow connect to this empowerment that I mentioned before. And as the title of this post says, one way to change begins by speaking out and making clear what your ideals are, what is your purpose of fighting? Shout it out, and try to achieve them. That's empowerment, and that's BTS with their songs.

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There are many songs that could be taken as examples of empowerment, I know last time I wrote a very long post, I will try not to make this one the same (don't trust me, I don't do it either haha), and well, then I thought to myself, what if I start with the albums? There is no simpler way to show the empowering nature of BTS's art than with their albums themselves and not just each song (which are too many and could make this article a mini book.)

In each album, BTS gives us messages for a necessary change in society, but also personal changes to improve ourselves. So, this could be summed up like this:

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In 2013, BTS released their first album "2 Cool 4 Skool" in which the main subject is the social pressure on young people to pursue dreams that are not their own.
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This, in simple words, is the pressure on young people to follow steps they don't really want to follow, with the ideal of having a stable job or earning money at the expense of putting aside any form of personal expression or desire that might prevent them from alleged success. The main song for this is undoubtedly "No More Dream" the whole song is a scolding towards parents, young people, and society alike for imposing and allowing themselves to be dictated to by ideals that are not theirs in the first place.

Nevertheless, I'll leave some lines that I feel are appropriate as examples=

"What is the you that you’ve dreamed of

Who do you see in the mirror now, I gotta say

Go on your own way

Even if you live only one day,

-do something_

Put your weakness away"

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"Why aren’t you saying anything? You said studying isn’t your thing

You’re actually scared to drop out of school, right? Look at you, you’re already preparing to go to school

Please grow up, dude, you’re just all talk with a glass mentality

(Stop!) Ask yourself if you have ever tried hard"

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"Why do you keep telling me to go on a different path, hey, take care of your own business

Please don’t force me"

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The next album “O!RUL8,2?” (2013) shows the other side of oppression: the rebellion against it. I would like to mention "N.O." as the title song, which says it all.

"Dream has disappeared

without even a moment to breathe

Living the same lives on a running wheel of school, home, and PC bang,

pressured to be number one, the students become double agents between dream and reality"

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"The adults tell me

that the suffering lasts only momentarily now

that I should endure it a little more

that I should do what I want to do later

Everybody say NO!

The word “later” can’t do anything anymore

Don’t live your life by being trapped in someone else’s dream"

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"The adults make a confession

that we have it so easy

that we are happier than we deserve to be

Then what am I, who feels miserable like this

There is nothing to talk about together other than studying

Kids like me overflow out there

The same lives of puppets

Who is going to take responsibility for our lives?"

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With the album "Skool Luv Affair" the following year, BTS continues to focus on school life but with a different purpose: the yearning of teenagers, whether in the form of personal interests such as romance, which begins along with the various physical and mental changes at that very age. I see empowerment here in a way that maybe I don't know if it is the exact interpretation, but it is my understanding, and that is the freedom to feel because I see that many times young people are not allowed to experience love because it is only seen as an inconvenience for the dreams forced by adults.

I will leave some songs as examples.

Boy In Luv =

"Hold me tight before I eat you up,

before my heart lets you go

Say what you want

Say what you want

What is it that you really want"

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Tomorrow =

"Why am I remaining in the same place when there’s a long way to go

Even if I scream out of frustration, it only gets echoed in the empty sky

That tomorrow will be somewhat different from today,

I can only beg"

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"Because the dawn right before the sunrise is the darkest,

you, in the future, never forget yourself of now

Wherever you’re standing right now, you’re just taking a short break

Don’t give up, you know it

Don’t get too far away tomorrow"

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Jump =

"No matter who stops me,

I go on my way

One life, one shot

Leggo (Leggo!) Leggo (Leggo!)

Even if I live only one day,

there can never be any regret

So let’s jump"

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On the album "Dark & Wild" (2014) they continue to focus on young people and their feelings, but this time that empowerment, in my opinion, is given by the recognition of negative emotions, whether the unsuccessful love affair, jealousy, anguish, anger; the message is clear to me, to let people see that it is normal to feel those negative emotions, the key here is to overcome those difficult moments and not let that negativity consume you and take over you as a person. Well, at least that's my interpretation, I could be wrong, I know.

Intro: What am I to You =

"You again say that you don’t like it but also don’t hate it

Am I going ahead of you? I wouldn’t do anything you don’t want

My one-sided love with a lover

I want to a reckless love without calculation

Please hold me

It feels just like a tug-of-war with no opponent"

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Danger =

"Am I really your boyfriend? I’m sick

Why do you put off expressing your feelings like homework

Are we doing some sort of business? Or do you hate me?"

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Let Me Know =

"Every second, raindrop falls and wells up around my eyes

You well up

Even when I just breathe, I see you

Perhaps it’s true that love blooms like cherry blossoms and wither away easily

As if it was a dream, we burned like a flame yet only the ashes are left"

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“The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever” (2015 – 2016) is special to me because if you were to portray the mental health of young people and young adults, this is the one for me. It talks about the pressure of success on those about to enter adulthood, the deterioration of mental health due to stress, anxiety or depression, social stigmas that are not often touched upon because mental health is seen as just that, a taboo.

Intro: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life =

"Though my grades are as low as the floor, even harder

I shout at the world that it’ll all be fine

But instead the world scares me

If you’re going to be scared like that, just stop"

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Whalien 52 =

"A lonely kid under the ocean

I, too, want to let the world know

my value Everyday

I get motion sickness from my worries

The sticker is always behind my ear"

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"I go towards my future

I believe in the blue sea and my hertz"

There are songs that stand for empowerment of strength of conviction and defiance of the norm, such as "Silver Spoon" =

"At the part-time job, there’s passion pay

At school, there are the teachers

The bosses are harassing

The media talks about N-po Generation every day"

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Change the rules change change

The storks want to maintain [the rules]

But I can’t let them have it BANG BANG"

or another one as “Dope” =

"The media and adults say sell us out like stocks, saying that we are weak-minded

Why do they kill us before we even try? They’re enemy enemy enemy

Why do you already hang your head? Take this energy energy energy

Never give up you know you not lonely

The dawn of you and me is more beautiful than the day

So can I get a little bit of hope? (yeah)

Wake up the sleeping youth, go"

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The album "Wings" shows how the temptations and uncertainties of life are part of growing up. The empowerment here, in my personal view, is to normalize what represents us as humans: the feeling of being lost and alone, or feeling that everything you do seems to be done in an extreme or unrestrained way.

There are songs such as:

Lost =

"I’m still standing here with my eyes closed

Lost between the desert and the sea

I’m still wandering, not knowing where to go yeah

I never knew that there would be so many ways

ways that I couldn’t go and ways that I can’t go

I never felt this way before

Maybe I’m becoming an adult"

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Awake =

"It’s not that I’m believing in it

I’m just trying to endure it

because this is all that I can do

I want to stay

I want to dream more

But, even so,

it’s time to leave"

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"Like those flower petals over there,

as if I have wings, I can’t do so

Maybe I, I can’t touch the sky

But I still want to reach my hand

I want to try running, just a little more"

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Not Today =

"If you can’t fly, then run

Today we will survive

If you can’t run, then walk

Today we will survive

If you can’t walk, then crawl

Even if you have to crawl, gear up"

Other songs are more focused on social concern, such as:

21st Century Girl =

"No matter what others say, no matter what the world says,

you’re the best to me just the way you are

Never be afraid

Whatever they say, you’re fine (Alright)

You are strong"

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Am I Wrong =

"Where is it headed

the world has gone crazy

Even if I get lost in the crazy world,

I still want to live more

I want to find my faith

(Am I Wrong)"

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With the "Love Yourself" trilogy we have three albums: "Love Yourself, Her" (2017) / "Love Yourself, Tear" (2018) / "Love Yourself, Answer" (2018) which basically focus on adulthood, the inner debate of emotions, and love in its different shapes and forms: first, finding love and how it impacts on your life, either positively or negatively, then the mourning of the dream of perfect love with the end of relationships, to finally address self-love and accepting ourselves as we are, resulting in the answer that although love has its variations and manifestations, to be able to grow you must first start with yourself, and to do so, you need to love yourself first.

We can see these three phases in these three songs in each album as examples:

Intro: Serendipity =

"The universe has moved for us

There wasn’t anything even slightly out of place

Our happiness has been destined

Cuz you love me

And I love you"

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Outro: Tear =

"For a time, you were my dear

But now, the beer tastes only bitter

My heart stained with a belated self-hatred

gets emptied even by that wind brushing by

Goodbye that ended up coming to me is what I deserve at the end of my playacting full of lies"

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Epiphany =

"The shining me, the precious soul of mine

I realize only now, so I love me

Though I’m not perfect, I’m so beautiful

I’m the one I should love"

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Then we have the album "Map of the Soul : Persona" (2019) which concentrates on searching for oneself, understanding yourself deeply, searching for answers to what you are or what you want to be as an individual. Basically, searching but embracing your own self at the same time. While the album "Map of the Soul : 7" (2020) focuses on BTS as artists, artists who are at the same time people just like you and I.

Intro: Persona =

"So I’m askin’ once again yeah

Who the hell am I?

Tell me all your names baby

Do you wanna die?

Oh do you wanna go?

Do you wanna fly?

Where’s your soul? Where’s your dream?

Do you think you’re alive?"

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Interlude : Shadow =

"Woo, every day, I was excited about how far I’d go

I was running frantically and somehow reached here

Yeah, hmm, the shadow at my feet

Looking down, it’s gotten even bigger

Even if I run away, following me is"

The form of empowerment here is as a form of individualism: what are your criteria and concepts of living? what defines you as a person? why do you keep fighting and dreaming? It is the freedom of self-expression, without letting the standards imposed by society affect you or dictate to you how you should be.

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Finally, we have the album "BE" (2020) one that was created because of the worldwide situation in which we all had to adapt; this album is different in many ways, it was not planned from the beginning, it just happened, and in this one, all the members contributed deeply individually as well as as a group.
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I also take it as an example of psychological resilience, because it is a necessary album for times where stress, fear, and anxiety are stronger than ever, and because it is an album created purely for comfort. Taking the cognitive side, this album represents optimism, motivation, human values, self ideals, and coping mechanisms. On the other hand, on the behavioural aspects, this album represents the self-care conduct and mental exercise to integrate the health of the whole body.

Life Goes On =

"There’s no end in sight

Would there be an exit at all

My feet refuse to move, oh

Close your eyes for a moment

Hold my hand here

Let’s run away to the future

Like an echo in the forest

Another day will come

as if nothing happened

Yeah life goes on"

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I know this seems like just a summary of the albums but I hope my point was at least understandable in some respect. The way I see empowerment is not just in pretty words and encouraging others, or yourself, to follow your ideals. For me, the form of empowerment that BTS provides is through the concepts of their albums and the lyrics of their songs; because where one may see a song of friendship as something simple and without much meaning, another may see it as a form of example to follow or a source to think about their own friendships, and for me, there is no clearer form of empowerment than to stand up for the voices of those who are always hushed, even when the ones who silence those voices are actually ourselves. Because BTS is a group that decided to talk about the suppression of dreams, the hypocrisy of society, love in its different manifestations, and to let us reflect in those lyrics to make the point that we are not alone or weird for thinking the way we do.

BTS has a huge fandom, people of different nationalities and cultures, all of whom will always admit to you that BTS have changed their lives in some way or another, no matter how minor of a change it may seem; some people learned to love themselves more, others are trying. Some people became involved in social causes to help the most vulnerable ones, and others are still part of the oppressed but are even stronger in their battle. BTS, like it or not, is a group of seven artists who made several social changes, not only in their own country but internationally. And all this, all this change for a better world, was started by their art and their way of expressing the positive and negative in life through songs. BTS has EMPOWERED many people all over the world.

We must remember that BTS is a group that started from the very bottom, in an almost bankrupt little company, with media obstruction in their own country; but they PERSEVERED, determined to follow the path of their own beliefs, and in the process, they found a sense of RESILIENCE, because for every hateful comment, for every rumour and lyrics taken out of context to bring them down, they managed to recover from it and keep going on their path. And because with them, Army always was and always will be around, because this fandom understands such perseverance and resilience, that we experience it constantly in our everyday existence either because we are all human and life is a bit tedious from time to time, or because we are simply fans of a group that is dedicated to singing and dancing, a group dedicated to doing good deeds and thinking for a better world, and because unfortunately, it is always BTS and Army vs. the rest.

But remember Yoongi's words: "we are no longer afraid of landing as long as we land together."

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This is a re-post, I made it months ago.

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Sources= https://doolsetbangtan.wordpress.com/ @/doolsetbangtan on twitter. This was written for a monthly event celebrating the lyricism of BTS, more info here= https://wordsbybangtan.carrd.co/ @/wordsby_bangtan on twitter.
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Find me= https://dollhousedolly.carrd.co/#attic
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See more of my BTS articles=

THAT'S IT, BYE!

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