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Home » , » 140316 SNSD Yoona and Sooyoung’s Public Relationships Reflect Maturing K-Pop Idols, But There Are Still Difficulties

140316 SNSD Yoona and Sooyoung’s Public Relationships Reflect Maturing K-Pop Idols, But There Are Still Difficulties

Written By Kim Regina on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 | 12:18 PM

Im Yoona and Choi Sooyoung of Girls” Generation recently publicly confirmed that they were in relationships, and now there are rumors that another Girls” Generation member, Jessica Jung, is also currently dating. Members of the group also recently appeared on Radio Star, where they discussed dating and their ideal types.

As one of the most popular K-Pop acts, Girls” Generation has typically kept their romantic life on the down low. Part of the appeal of K-Pop acts is that the performers are ideals, idols. When it had been revealed in the past that an idol was in a relationship, that celebrity typically lost fans and faced criticism.

But as idol groups mature and continue to perform as the members get older, the groups also have to address the fact that the members are at an age when it is permissible in Korean society to date. As a result, instead of the typical denials that their idols are dating, entertainment companies like SM Entertainment have started to respond quickly about the validity of the relationship.

Sooyoung and fellow Girls” Generation member Kim Hyoyeon recently said in an interview that Girls” Generation planned to emulate Shinhwa, the longest running K-Pop group. Although none of Shinhwa”s members are married, it is unlikely that their fans don”t expect them to date at their age. This summer will mark the seventh anniversary of Girls” Generation, and the youngest member is turning 23 this year.

The recent reaction, or lack of reaction, from netizens to Yoona and Sooyoung”s relationships shows a change in perception – Girls” Generation”s members are now becoming women, who are free to pursue their own relationships rather than have to be their fan”s girlfriends. After the initial shock that Yoona is dating Lee Seung Gi and Sooyoung is dating Jung Kyung Ho, there has been general acceptance of their relationships.

Companies have traditionally denied relationships even when there were news reports claiming otherwise, but in the past few years more idols have been involved in relationships with little backlash. Beast”s Yong Junhyung and Kara”s Goo Hara dated for a period, and Wonder Girls” Sunye even recently got married.

However, even while there is less of a repercussion to an idol”s career, it is beneficial for idols to keep relationships secret. INFINITE member L secretly dated and then denied dating ulzzang Kim Do Yeon before admitting that they were in fact dating, which resulted in a lot of criticism and fans harassing Kim Do Yeon. The way that companies and idols handle their relationships becoming public knowledge heavily affects public perception, as was seen by this case.

Even though the reaction to some of the recent confirmed idol-relationships has been positive, the majority of idols fear the reaction that L and Kim Do Yeon received.

Korean and International fans are still not entirely comfortable seeing their favorite idols in relationships, but as idols mature it is necessary for fans to recognize that idols are also human beings.
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