K-pop Idols Dating: Should Fans and Industry Normalize It?

K-pop Idols Dating: Should Fans and Industry Normalize It?

Fans have always known about the K-pop idols’ dating ban. Although time flies fast, this happens to be one of the things that remain unchanging in the industry. On the other hand, Korean actors and actresses have had more freedom when it comes to these situations, but are there differences between the two? Do you think it’s time for fans and the K-pop industry to normalize idols dating or being in a relationship?

Why do Agencies implement Dating Bans?

It’s simply intriguing how these dating bans were born in the industry. Unfortunately, there is no official or confirmed reason why K-pop agencies implement a ‘no dating rule.’ At the same time, it seems ‘off’ to some that these strict rules are followed, but it does makes sense; I have thought of several reasons that led to companies’ dating bans.

1. To maintain focus

In K-pop, especially as trainees, practicing would require most, if not all, of their time. Before stepping into the idol stage and world, these aspiring stars undergo long trainee years to improve and polish their skills and talents. As trainees and artists, they must adhere to the rules implemented by their respective agencies—one of which is the dating bans.

  • This reason was the first to come to my mind when the ‘no dating rule’ was discussed. Companies use this rule to avoid their artists and trainees getting distracted in their careers (or starting paths). The reason may positively affect the performances of the idols, but life should be about great balance.

2. The idols’ image

I was hesitant to write this down, but I think it could also be a reason. Not all, but some dating news or rumors may lead to scandals that may affect the idol or the group as a whole. Well, companies go to a great extent when it comes to maintaining things in peace and keeping the success. We can’t blame these companies for wanting a peaceful career for their idols and groups (even if it’s too harsh or wrong).

  • Also, these idols are under a contract, with the dating ban as one of the rules. Some agencies are stricter than others and have idols punished, fined, or worse—contract termination.

3. The fans

This could also be a reason why companies market idols as the ‘perfect’ or ideal types of people, may it be talents, skills, visuals, and personalities. It may be unusual and weird, but there are fans who want to be with these idols romantically. Of course, as wrong as it seems, companies might have taken this opportunity to maximize this idea. Knowing that your bias is dating would somehow make you lose your interest in them and the group if what you’re fantasizing about is being with them.

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  • Suppose you’re a fan, whether K-pop or in the entertainment industry, boundaries must be set. Seeing them performing, admiring them from afar, and loving their personalities should not be an idea of being together with these artists romantically. There may be times when idols do fanservice, but fans should avoid feeding their delusions, as these stars are just doing their job.

Is there a difference between K-actors and K-pop idols regarding dating?

I can’t help but wonder if there’s any difference between K-actors and K-pop idols concerning dating and relationships. Both are in the limelight, fans are mesmerized by them, and I think the only thing different is their art—acting and singing, dancing, and rapping. In the acting industry, relationships are more positively accepted than idols’.

  • One fine example would be the BinJin couple. After the hit K-drama Crash Landing On You, it was known that the main leads, Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin, developed romantic feelings for each other. Interestingly, with their exceptional chemistry in the drama, it became easy for fans to accept and root for the actors’ happiness and love. The two have been married for quite a while and have a baby, too.

  • Another K-drama loveteam that also bloomed after a show, Descendants of the Sun’s SongSong couple. Although their relationship didn’t end happily, the public once loved the pair too much and praised them for their visuals and talent in acting and how fit they were for each other. It was not until the divorce news broke out that the netizens and fans were divided; from the Wedding of the Century to what happened to them.

  • On the other hand, K-pop idols’ fans are somehow ‘wilder’ regarding these relationships. There’s this unnecessary double standard for K-pop idols who revealed or were reported to be dating. I remember when Red Velvet’s Joy and soloist Crush’s dating news spread, fans and netizens were harsh on picking on the latter’s visual and compared it to BTOB’s Sungjae (which had a loveteam with Joy in the show We Got Married). If it’s these singers’ happiness to meet with good feelings, then I don’t think it’s necessary to bash and even compare it with previous loveteams.

  • BLACKPINK’s Jennie has been one of the idols that faced numerous dating news and rumors, and, of course, it received mixed reactions from fans. From EXO’s Kai confirmed dating news and BIGBANG’s G-Dragon rumor in 2021, people always had a say. Recently, Jennie and BTS V have had dating rumors circulating for over a year or so now.

Unfortunately, people keep high expectations for K-pop idols, and it’s unfair for them. I hope the industry, agencies, and fans will be more accepting of idols’ dating lives. Some may want to keep it private, others may want to flex their partners, and in whatever they wish to do, if you’re a fan and there are no other aspects worth disliking, then you should extend your full support for them.

Idols appreciate and love their fans, and always try to show them in any way they can. I suppose it’s only fair for loyal and true fans to reciprocate this love from the idols in supporting them in their career, and in love, too.

At present, should everyone normalize K-pop idols’ dating?

Personally, the ‘no dating rule’ is OK, perhaps for trainees and newly-debuted idols. It would give them enough time for training, studies, and even a bit of leisure despite the jam-packed schedules. If focusing on their career are the agencies’ goals, then I appreciate their effort of implementing that kind of rule.

  • However, if we’re talking about well-established groups, those who finished their seven-year contracts with agencies, the industry, and fans should normalize seeing these idols date. People should keep in mind that these K-pop idols that they look up to are also human: not because they seem unreachable, they aren’t allowed to do anything else other than music and fan service. Also, after the seven-year mark (specifically idols who were born in the ‘90s), they are obviously in the right age to date and be in relationships.

I am very excited to see idols having the freedom to meet new people and create deeper connections with someone. Fans should love and appreciate idols with all that they are, but we should also support them in whatever endeavors they wish to pursue. Dating doesn’t mean leaving the group; it doesn’t mean that it breaks the group or anything will actually change. It’s what people at the right age do; they meet people, build bonds, and fall in love—and K-pop idols are capable and should do that if they wish.

  • Fans should stop and avoid gatekeeping their idols from romantic relationships. Although the supporters can’t do anything, the fear for idols and companies that fans would leave or drop their interest once dating news surfaces is inevitable. I can’t blame companies, or even the artists, if they keep their relationships lowkey and private, as it would be safer for their careers. Unfortunately, instead of being freely loving and dating, it may become a terrifying thing to do for them. Are you not thrilled to witness how idols’ love lives will blossom?

I think people should accept that K-pop idols are also living their simple lives like everyone else; the only difference is that we see them on small and big screens and admire them, but it doesn’t make it a reason for them to be looked way, way, ‘god-lier’ and perfect than everyone else. They can date, and it’s okay, and fans and industry should not make a big deal out of that.

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