Idol is a difficult job because they not only have to ensure professional performance, but also have to sacrifice their private lives. Meanwhile, actors have somewhat easier personal lives.
In the Korean entertainment industry, there always exist two completely different fan attitudes when the dating news of idols and actors is published. Fans’ reactions to actors dating are usually happy and supportive. On the contrary, when an idol is revealed to be dating, the attitude of the fans is mostly opposed, turning their back on the idols.
Here are the differences between idols and actors, leading to the difference in fans’ reactions to their dating news.
In fact, idol groups all play distinct “roles”. The agencies often try to create a group with all kinds of personalities, to fully meet the needs of the fans. In a group, there will be different personalities such as friendly, warm, cute, cold, cool… in the hope that every fan will find the right guy and girl that match their style. Sometimes these images are not what idols actually are.
As for actors, they don’t need to play someone other than themselves in their daily life. They’ve already embodied roles on screen so they can live as who they are in real life.
Nature of work
A reality exists in the K-pop industry, which is the fact that the agencies always push a narrative that idols are single. Companies create delusions in fans’ hearts about being able to date idols, by forcing idols to perform “fan service”. Fan service is very diverse, from building the image of being single and innocent, to saying sweet, flirty words to fans on social media, doing what fans want them to at the fansigns,being friendly to fans at events,…
“Fan service” aims at fans’ mentality, causing them to spend a lot of money on idol goods in order to extend that sweet fantasy. Once idols are revealed to be dating, this fantasy is broken, fans would feel betrayed and stop supporting idols. The more support and love they gave before, the easier for fans to feel hurt and choose to turn back on their idols.
As for actors, due to the nature of their work, they will probably have to be intimate to the opposite sex co-star on screen – something that is not visible in the idol world. And when the public judges an actor, they judge the actor’s acting ability, not”fan service”.
The experience of watching a movie or tv show is different from the experience of stanning an idol. If you watch a movie, you are watching the character the actor portrays, you can distinguish between characters and actors. When becoming an idol fan, you are also watching another “actor”, only that you cannot distinguish who is the real person, and who is just an image created by the company.
Distance to the fans
Closer distance is also the reason why fans have more fantasy with idols than actors. Besides performing on stage, K-pop idols also have to interact with fans on social media, at events, fanmeeting, fansign, award shows… For actors, it’s harder to meet them in real life, because they don’t organize events to closely interact with fans often.
Nowadays, fandom is the deciding factor for an idol group to be considered successful. Fandom gives the group achievements, profits, and is a powerful force that can determine the future of that group. Being aware of the importance of fandoms, the agencies are trying to force idols to perform “fan service” as much as possible. In addition, K-pop fans are usually in the younger age range, those who are younger or similar in age to idols tend to be very interested in idol’s private life.
Actor fans are usually not fixed in an age group. Through a movie or drama, actors can receive love from people of diverse ages, from teenagers to older people. Movies/dramas are more public-oriented than idol music. Therefore, fandom is not the factor that determines the success of an actor, but the public is.
Idol is a difficult job when they not only have to ensure professional performance, but also have to sacrifice their personal life. The actions of fans such as turning back on, throwing hate when idols are revealed to be dating should be criticized. Idols are also human, need to have their own life.
But how the idol industry works has been around for too long, and that can’t be changed anytime soon.