In recent times, K-Pop idols haven't been as strictly monitored as they were earlier, when it comes to their relationships. Many fans of the K-Pop community argue that it seems inhumane or extra to restrict an entire part of an idol's life.
Others counter-act stating that idols and their companies perpetuate the image that they're only dedicated to their fans and no one else, so they should bear with it seeing as that's the line of work they're in.
While dating ban restrictions are getting laxer, there are staunch exceptions; take, for example, soloist HyunA and Pentagon's Dawn, who were expelled from their agency after they openly admitted their relationship. Many fans came out in their defense, and they were even picked up by PSY-owned label P Nation and continued their careers.
So why exactly do companies prevent their idols from dating? Here's a list of the possible reasons why they go so far as to impose a dating ban on their idols.
5 reasons why agencies don't let their K-Pop idols date
1) It may serve as a distraction from their goal
Idols are required to spend a lot of time working on their craft. They have to constantly be training and practicing in order to present an improved version of themselves on stage. Companies fear that K-Pop idols may lose track of their goals and could potentially slack off if they get into a relationship.
2) The idol may lose their fanbase
Idols have to sell a certain image of being available and dedicated to their fans. In the K-pop industry, the importance of fans and fan service is a lot higher compared to other music industries. In order to maintain that image of being "accessible" per se, companies ban K-Pop idols from dating.
In this interview Jinyoung Park (or JYP, founder of JYP Entertainment) did on the TV show Life Bar, he explains that he had openly admitted to dating back when he first started out as a rookie idol, which caused him a lot of hardships.
Another example is when a J-pop idol was sued over violating their contract and breaking the dating ban clause.
3) Scandals could ruin the K-Pop idol's reputation
An idol's reputation is extremely important for their career. Unlike other music industries where dating scandals don't amount to backlash from fans most of the time, in the K-pop industry, it could make or break an idol's career.
There seems to be a general relaxation in the way idols that have been in the industry for years and have an established reputation are treated, vs. the way idols that are just starting out are treated.
4) The company may inadvertently lose money
If a dating scandal permanently damages an idol's reputation, it's a huge loss for the company. From their perspective, they've invested a lot of resources into training and debuting their idols as well as promoting them on different shows.
If an idol manages to lose most of their fanbase, then the company's money spent on them is essentially gone. Not only would the fans stop buying the idols' albums or other merchandise, but the money invested into the idol by the company would have no return.
5) It may affect the K-Pop idol's mental state
Companies fear that getting into a relationship may harm the mental state of the K-Pop idols. If they get into an argument, or if they neglect their idol-related duties due to being swallowed by their relationship, it could prove harmful to their career and put them in the wrong mindset.