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  • Writer's pictureHans Ethan Carbonilla

NCT Jaemin is Challenging Outdated Idol Norms and It’s Not Embarrassing

Photo from na.jaemin0813/Instagram

I bet you enjoyed the surprising and *dream* TikTok collaboration between NCT Dream members and aespa. But NCT Jaemin found himself at the center of controversy in one of their posted videos, with some claiming it abandoned and tarnished his polished idol image.

In the unforgiving world of K-pop, where every move is scrutinized, it’s time to challenge the rigid expectations placed on idols and recognize that they too are entitled to a life beyond the stage, and they too can always have fun, just like anyone else.  

As a media studies graduate, with a thesis focused on the modern idol image, it became increasingly clear to me that idols are evolving to become more ordinary and, in a way, more human—and that’s certainly not a flaw and definitely not a “secondhand embarrassment.”

Come on, it’s already 2024

Jaemin’s casual appearance, with him seen thrusting into the air excitedly, is not a departure from his responsibilities as an idol but a reflection of the changing idol image.

The criticism stems from a deeply ingrained traditional notion that idols should uphold an image of perfection, both on and off the stage. However, it’s also crucial to remember that idols are, first and foremost, humans. 

They have friends, they know how to have fun, and they deserve a social life outside of their rigorous schedules. In an era where mental health awareness is gaining importance, it’s highly essential to acknowledge that even idols need moments of leisure and recreation.

The once untouchable images of idols are gradually giving way to a more authentic and relatable representation. And who doesn’t love an idol who’s true to themselves rather than portraying a different persona? Who doesn’t want an idol who’s genuinely having fun?

Instead of conforming to an outdated stereotype, these idols are embracing themselves and showing fans that they are more than just public figures—they are relatable individuals who enjoy the company of friends and the simple pleasures of life.

As society’s expectations have changed, so have the characteristics that define idols of different generations. With participatory culture at hand and Web 2.0 at the helm, stars have evolved into idols people can meet and not just stars who are exceptional and out of reach.

These archaic expectations are unattainable standards, and Jaemin’s action is not a sign of negligence or a departure from professionalism; rather, it’s a testament to the changing dynamics of what a modern idol truly is—talented artists and genuine human beings.

*Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not represent the official stance of Parcinq Magazine, its affiliates, or its staff.



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