KUALA LUMPUR: Although beauty is only skin deep, fans of K-Pop can’t seem to agree on the right hue of their idol’s skin when they are seen in photos.
According to Koreaboo, arguments on skin tone arose between international K-Pop fans and their Korean counterparts after a Tumbler site called Melaninup had posted edited photos of K-Pop idols that were purported to showcase their “real” skin tone.
Apparently, photos of the celebs are generally thought to be tweaked in order to feature fairer complexion. Certain foreign fans frowned upon this process which they consider “white-washing”, while Korean netizens were outraged that people were tarnishing the official images by darkening them.
There are allegedly thousands of pictures being retouched by foreign fans in an effort to portray a more natural representation of the various idol’s actual skin tones which include the seven members of international K-Pop sensation BTS.
Some Korean fans feel that the reproduced pictures feature idols with much darker skin than they naturally have in real life.
Others also complained about the use of yellow-tinted lighting on the newly worked-on photos to alter the skin tone.
For them, it was discriminatory and racist to “un-whitewash” the photos of the idols based on what foreigners thought was their natural skin colour.
But foreign fans did not take well to the Korean beauty ideal, feeling that the idols were perfect just the way they were and that their pictures should not have been whitened in the first place.
A Korean Netizen wrote: “Koreans are white. It’s prejudiced and racist to say Northwest Asians are yellow and dark-skinned. These people are ignorant.”
Another said: “I think they’re really on the edge of racism. Asian in the eyes of these people = yellow or dirty. They’re biased every time and always make a mess of it.”
On the flip side, one foreign fan wrote: “You can’t tell me that you like the BTS which looks like ghosts on some pictures more than the BTS with their natural skin colour. I mean THEY’RE SO BEAUTIFUL AND THEIR SKIN COLOUR MAKES THEM MORE BEAUTIFUL. After seeing these pictures I decided to save and post only non-whitewashed pictures when it’s possible.”
The moderators of the Melaninup Tumblr site wrote: “We do not tolerate racism, colourism, whitewashing or other hateful behaviour.”
There were some foreign fans who also acknowledged the problems with editing the photos. One said: “I think some of the non-whitewashed photos are darker than their normal skin colours? Some people re-edit the whitewashed pictures, making them a lot more tan than they originally are.”