respect your idols idol's privacy personal time and space fandom fan parasocial relationships

PSA: Respect Your Idols’ Privacy & Personal Time And Space—They’re People, Too

Know when to let them be.

Just because your idols are nearby doesn’t mean you’re entitled to treat them anything less than a normal person.

Related: We Really Should Stop Taking Photos And Videos Of Random People In Public

With the rise of P-pop, and the ever-growing fandom spaces both globally and locally, there’s been an uptick of instances where our own artists and “idols” are experiencing tenfold an aspect of the “price of fame” that we now unfortunately deem normal—a loss of privacy and personal space.

Just recently, it’s been going around that two members of P-pop girl group BINI were caught up in uncomfortable situations out and about after their BINIverse concert weekend.

Out with her family, Maloi was approached by multiple people asking for photos—not just one or two, but a crowd that only seemed to grow once people heard the artist was there at the restaurant. A dinner with her family suddenly turned into an impromptu meet-and-greet. There were even reports that people livestreamed their encounter with her, prompting more people to come. Maloi and her family were kind enough to let it be, but they shouldn’t have to.

In Aiah’s case, a video of her at a bar circulated, in which a man recording got right in her face as if he was intending to kiss or smell her. Even if she wasn’t a celebrity, who does that to people? After their three day concert, these artists deserved the rest, privacy, and personal space they’re entitled to as human beings.

There are many other instances like this, prompting companies to come right out and post statements asking for respect for their artists’ privacy. Isn’t it sad that they have to do that because people are always crossing boundaries? They’re often so forgiving about it too, understanding that it comes with the territory of fame and celebrity. But again, they shouldn’t have to be.


The parasocial relationship—we’re pretty much all-too familiar with it now. We perceive a certain level of closeness to people because we see them, we consume their content, we admire them, we become fans of them. Without ever meeting them, we form attachments to these public figures, a bond or connection that informs how we perceive and treat them.

We’ve seen the effects of parasocial relationships happen with actors, musicians, loveteams more so. Fan culture has changed a lot over the years, shaped and exacerbated by ever-evolving celebrity culture (K-pop and Hallyu, in particular, too) and social media.

And now, with the rising popularity of P-pop, there’s a certain perception of closeness that’s new to Filipino fan culture. These aren’t Korean idols or Western pop stars—we can actually run into them on a random day.

The way P-pop idols are all the more so relatable to us, given the shared space, culture, and language, the way they even joke around with their fans—it adds to the relationship that’s being formed between public figure and fan. It’s not always a bad thing. But it can lead to instances where people feel entitled to this public figure, perceiving their idol as someone who owes them something because of the “connection” that they’ve formed.


The entitlement of some people. Just because a person is a public figure, a celebrity, doesn’t mean they owe us anything outside of their work. Sure, they get paid to perform, to act, sometimes even to take photos and engage with fans at meet-and-greets or fansigns. But never are we entitled to more.

There are plenty of reports of fans all over the world, fans of all kinds of people and things, doing the absolute most—which are at the very least disrespectful, and at most dangerous and illegal. From stalking to even poisoning, mobbing to acts of aggression, public figures are at the mercy of some of the worst sides of people, and they end up having to take precautions and send out statements.

And some people refuse to call them fans, for the very reason that being a fan who admires a person or group is very different from being a stalker, a sasaeng, or even a simple clout chaser. But calling them fans alerts us to the implication that anyone can be susceptible to the effects of a parasocial relationship. Toxic and entitled fans and fandoms are not few and far between. It can get so easy to defend ourselves that what we’re doing is still not crossing any boundaries, for one reason or another.

We treat celebrities and idols as commodities, as people whom we think owe us something—their time, their effort, their very being, even—because we’re “consumers”. If they refuse a photo, or ignore their fans, they’re perceived as maarte or rude.

And we can’t even say that the very culture of idols and celebrity doesn’t have a hand in perpetuating parasocial relationships. But the thing is—we can do so many things to resist harmful practices. Plenty of fans do. They call people out, they demand for companies to protect and take care of their artists better, they spread awareness about proper fan behavior. If we can respect complete strangers’ privacy and personal time and space, why can’t we do the same for idols, even if they are celebrities?


“It’s the price of fame,” people say. “They signed up for this.” But does that absolve us of any accountability in being a decent person? Why do they have to sign their privacy away just to be able to express themselves through their art and work?

As fans, we are not entitled to anything more than what they work to give us. Especially when they’re at a time and space where they’re not working. When they’re out eating with their family, arriving at the airport, on public transport, or simply walking the streets, they’re not performing. They’re not working. They don’t owe us anything.

You can talk to them sometimes, sure, maybe ask for an autograph, respectfully, of course. Nothing wrong with asking. Every celebrity is different, and most of the time they make it known what they’re okay or not okay with. But to not understand that they might want some privacy in certain settings and choose to cross boundaries just to get something in return—a photo, a video, clout—is blatant disrespect.

You could ask, you could wait, you could choose not to do anything. We’re capable of respect, aren’t we? When SEVENTEEN’s Joshua visited Manila with his mom (the trip where everything kind of went wrong), barely anyone even knew, the public just found out after he left. So yeah, we can do it. Idols can have bodyguards and company protection. It safeguards their privacy and autonomy. But no matter how “reachable” our idols are, it’s on us to always remember to respect them as people.

Continue Reading: This New Year (And All The Time After That), Let’s Stop Commenting On Idols’ Weight