Girls' Generation Fans Explain the 'Optimism & Hope' of the K-Pop Girl Group

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Girls' Generation perform at the 2015 K-Pop Festival at Prudential Center on Aug. 8, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. 

As part of Billboard's Fan Army Face-Off 2015, we've asked people to write about what being part of the fandom means to them. Read below for an essay from two Girls' Generation fans. Fans of the K-pop girl group are called Sones.

For most of us, loving Girls' Generation spans across different continents and breaks down barriers like culture and language. Let us tell you why even after eight years, Girls' Generation still gives us butterflies.

If you want a simple, factual definition, we’ll leave you to your Google and Wikipedia searches. And for the curious passerby, that’s probably more than enough: you’ll get the members and their names, their histories, their struggles, their accomplishments. But for those who get pulled in further, watching television shows featuring these lovely women and pushing ourselves to stay up hours past midnight (or wake up before the sun has even risen) just to catch a performance live, defining what Girls’ Generation means us -- and what we as a fandom mean to each other -- becomes a little harder. For us, Girls' Generation and their fandom go hand in hand, because we embody the same thing: hope. 

Anyone who cares to look will be able to see the sheer optimism that pulled these girls -- when they were still only girls -- through these past eight years to where they are now, at the pinnacle of the K-Pop industry. They're a group of lovely, mature women who have seen more than their fair shares of hardship, endured more than their fair share of loss, and battled through it all to end the day with a smile. Sure, making it this far takes an incredible amount of hard work, diligence and grit. But without the right attitude, can you truly say you’ve succeeded? That optimism and hope is what shines through and keeps us planted firmly in this fandom.

Then there's the fandom itself. We certainly aren’t the only ones to boast a large international community, though we are proud that we’ve raised over $100,000 for various charities, subtitled countless Korean shows for fans around the world to understand, and helped Girls’ Generation take home the 2013 YouTube Music Award for music video of the year. With all our accomplishments we’ve also had our struggles. But at the end of the day, those who can say that we are truly fans of Girls’ Generation (“Soshi” for short: an abbreviation of their Korean name, “Sonyuhshidae”) are the ones who can draw from that incredible well of optimism and appreciate it -- and maybe even do a little bit with it ourselves. And because we have taken to heart the ideals Soshi embodies, we, as fans, are truly “Soshified."

With that, "Soshified" became the name of Girls' Generation’s largest international fan community. But they have a name for us as well: "SONE." Which, among other more subtle things, is "wish" in Korean. And really, what better way is there to share that endless faith -- that great mountain of positivity Girls’ Generation stands on top of -- than to wish it upon anyone who might need it?

And the other meaning of SONE? It also shows the fact that "S(oshi and their fandom are) one." So through this united front, we will go forth together, to wherever the future might take us. So yes, we can’t necessarily say that we've been there since the beginning, but we can make sure we are here until the end.

-- moonrise31 (Caroline) and Soy of Soshified.com, the largest international source for Girls’ Generation boasting over 300,000 members. Follow @soshified on twitter for more updates on Girls’ Generation.