2013 has already been an unprecedented year in the number of celebrity relationships that’ve been exposed by the media. With the recent string of idols being outed for going out on a date or being in a relationship, we must come to grips with the idea that, sooner or later, our very own bias(es) may be caught dating. If your bias was caught in a dating scandal, how would you react? How would it affect his/her career?
Pat: Isn’t this timely because my second ultimate bias is Myungsoo. If any of my other biases (Hongbin, Zico, Ravi) were caught dating, I’d react the same way I reacted when my then ultimate bias, Jonghyun, was caught dating Shin Se-kyung: You go [insert bias name here].
My first reaction to Myungsoo’s rumored scandal was “Congratulations, can Sunggyu be next?” And I think this will be the same when my other biases get caught. I’d be happy because my bias has a life outside of his group — though I admit to judging Myungsoo hard if his rumor is true because that girl is suspicious, not to mention she once tried to spread the rumor she was G-Dragon‘s girl.
As for career, it depends on the fans — if they’re a sane fandom or not. I don’t see B2uties, Starlights or A+s having a problem since they’re probably the sanest of all the fandoms. But if it was someone from EXO? I see a situation similar to Se7en: say goodbye to 100,000 fans.
Laverne: I don’t really have biases but if one of the idols/actors I liked were caught dating, I wouldn’t care. When I found out Kim Woo-bin had been dating for two years, my first thought was “Darn, there goes my (unrealistic) chance with him.” But mostly, I’ve been apathetic. It is his life, he can do what he wants. If dating makes him happy, then good for him.
As for how it would affect the idol’s career, I’d have to reiterate what Pat said. A sane fandom isn’t going to cause trouble but, as we all know too well, a lot of K-pop fandoms aren’t sane.
Shweta: Like Laverne, I really don’t have biases that I feel any sort of “attraction” towards, but I do carry affection for quite a few celebs. If my bias is found to be dating or getting married, my first reaction would be “finally!” because I want them to find their romantic partners. I want my favorite celebs to be happy and have some normalcy in their lives. It’s really sad that a lot of fans feel so possessive towards their biases that they lose sight of the fact that their bias’ happiness is their happiness as well.
With that said, I’m not going to lie that I wasn’t a smidgen bewildered when Go Soo got married a few years ago. He seemed like the eternal bachelor to me (like Song Seung-hun), so seeing him marry and become a father was rather mind-blowing, though I was happy for him the entire time.
Anyway, dating scandals/news in general are usually met with just a shrug from me; that is, until I find myself writing about at least three weddings in the span of one summer. In the process of doing so, much of my apathy became fascination, as I was blown away by the sheer number of really interesting weddings, engagements and new couples this year. I still wonder about what suddenly gave all of these celebrities the courage to come out with the relationships they probably always had in the first place. Why now and not later–or before?
Leslie: But Kim Woo-bin and I were meant to be! I kid. I kid. I joke around that I’m jealous and devastated by my biases dating, but I don’t actually know them personally so I could never seriously be jealous or upset. And if it was me, like I wish, I wouldn’t want my significant other’s fans to hate me. Plus, it takes the fun out of K-pop to get too serious and needlessly upset about something like that.
Sane fandom or not, it shouldn’t affect their careers because they should be allowed to be people, but unfortunately it can, as has been mentioned.
Sahar: I think the whole “scandal” component of the fact that people date is really, really stupid. It’s not a scandal. People are dating! Get over it. It’s a sign that they are healthy young adults. Although, I know back in high school if I had known that Kangta of H.O.T was dating, I would have been a little sad. With Lee Minho and G-Dragon, I’d mostly just be really judgmental about the girl. If she seemed like a jerk, I’d be pretty unhappy. I have to admit that after listening to the whole Coup d’Etat album a few times, I found myself walking around saying, “Who’s this jerk who broke GD’s heart???” But I was mostly just upset that he was sad, not that he was in love with someone else.
Lindsay: This is one of those things we always criticize “crazy fangirls” for. The idea that someone could be that attached to a celebrity and that far detached from reality makes us cringe. However, emotions are not rational and it seems like we should try and be a little sympathetic. If anything, I feel sad for people that don’t have any real people in their lives that are special enough to give the level of love they give idols. Clinging to the fantasy of being with someone you “love” isn’t unnatural, its just that a lot of fans don’t have the best self-control and likewise make themselves look crazy.
As for me, I guess I’m alone in having lots of biases. I didn’t realize so many of our other writers were creatures of logic, unlike me — I’m mostly kidding, but still. I’ve never had a major bias admit to dating, but I’d like to think I’d handle it gracefully. Obviously, I’d want them to be happy, because they are people too and that is what everyone deserves, but I admit that I might get a little emotionally distraught when B.A.P‘s Youngjae starts to date. Even if it did happen, its not like any of us are going to admit to going batshit crazy over our bias dating because that just doesn’t look good on us as logical, antithetical writers.
Nicholas: So if Tiffany was caught dating…
I would gladly cheer for her. After all, if she looks that good and have such mass appeal, it would be even more of a surprise if she did not find that somebody who would want to date her. The next reaction from me would be “How do they even find the time to date?!”, given that an average idol practically has a schedule that occupies almost 24 hours in a day (and then some).
Having said that, I still think that fans going crazy over idols dating is a two-way thing. Fans sort of expect idols not to date, given how idols are marketed, as really nice people that YOU support like a loved one, even though the support is mostly financial, and most contact with them is fleeting and in a short time frame (like at a fan meet or even eye contact at a concert). On the other hand, the idols keep up their side of the bargain, by going on with the sexy, free and single story, as well as the fanservice.
It was also why when news of Shinee members dating broke, we were kind of surprised. Firstly, they really did look like the last type of guys to date, and next, that the fanbase really bought into the SM spiel. This also reminds me of an interview with a certain female idol who said that over the course of her life and career, she had met men whom she would willingly go after if she was not in the industry, before pausing for a while and sighing. this was what she chose as her career and feelings had to be suppressed. Food for thought here.
Erika: I find it interesting to see the destructive power of scandal in South Korean celebrity culture, and that many scandalous behaviors are things that are perceived as normal and inoffensive in the West. The old saying that “any publicity is good publicity” does not apply! Date someone secretly and be found out, and it may be curtains for your career. Look tired during a fan signing and be prepared to issue a public apology through your company. It’ll be interesting to see if a future crop of idols will be a little rebellious and say “I’m dating so and so AND I’m tired today at this fan signing. So what?!” I feel like GD can be one of the first, especially if he grows more ego.
Ambika: Everyone approaches the idea of a celebrity differently. K-pop does exceptionally well in terms of nailing that fan-celebrity relationship. Personally, regardless of how much I like any of the idols, there’s always the sheer impossibility of actually getting to know these people that leaves me with zero disappointment if they’re dating. Though happy that idols somehow manage to find time to date, idol dating also usually leaves me worried for them. Like others have mentioned, the reveal can take a toll on fan numbers and the mental health of both members of the relationship because of those fans that find it necessary to judge significant others, frequently without anything really reasonable behind it. I think idols should be able to freely date but the way K-pop is marketed lends itself to consequences.
On the flip side, I can understand the frenzy among fans when dating happens. With events like music shows or fan signings where fans can actually interact with their idols, for those that get to participate, it cements that fan-idol relationship to the point where it can feel more personal. Not every celebrity ends up with another celebrity, so it’s not hard to see how people can still hope, especially younger fans. That’s no excuse for rowdy or inappropriate behavior, but I can see how their perspective of their idols differ from those that have less chances to physically see and easily communicate with them.
Miyoko: I agree with Nicholas’ point about it being a two-way street, and this also reminds me of Lindsay’s “Dating A K-pop Idol” article. Obviously, I think idols should be 100% free to do what they want with their personal lives, but companies do build an image of idols being single for fans that negatively affects them when reality rears its head. So I understand fans’ initial distraught feelings or shock; even if you know it’s all an image, emotions are more complex than “like it or don’t.” What I don’t understand are hateful comments, or why it will really affect careers in the long-run.
I, too, have many biases, and I know they’ve dated before. I don’t care if they date, but I do care that they’re happy. So if Taemin and Naeun were really dating, I’d be happy for him because they seem to suit each other. Even in my fangirl-fantasy mind, I know that I would not be suited for Taemin, so I want him to be with someone who is suited for him.
Mark: Alright Miyoko, it sounds like you and Taemin could write a bad romance. That’s all the time we have this week. I want to end with a bit of a brain teaser. How would your bias feel if s/he found out YOU were dating? Best answer receives a thumbs up from me!
(Images via MBC, TV Report, Kukinews, Sports World, Sports Seoul)