When it comes to standards of beauty, Koreans and idols are subjected to strict expectations on the ideal way to look. One of those standards of beauty that have raised anger from netizens is the topic of skin color and the idea that having “pale” skin is favorable, but “tanned” isn’t.
Recently, LOONA member JinSoul has come under fire for comments allegedly promoting the “beauty” that comes with pale skin.
LOONA has recently returned from a tour where they met ORBITs from different countries across the world. Despite concerns about the members’ well-being, the group successfully completed their shows and earned praise for their professionalism.
After returning, JinSoul was communicating with fans, and one messaged the idol, saying, “But how pretty is it that JinSoul’s refreshing features contrast with her white skin.” When speaking about the “white skin,” many assume that the fan is talking about how JinSoul is known for having “pale skin.”
Although the comment itself might not have been perceived as negative, Jinsoul’s response received negative reactions. The idol replied to the comment with, “I don’t have white skin though… Since this tour, I’ve tanned a lot *crying sound*”
Upon seeing the comment, many thought that JinSoul was explaining that she wasn’t happy that she had “tanned” and that her skin wasn’t as “white” as the fan was describing.
JinSoul then explained that she even dyed her hair black, thinking that it might make a difference, adding that it didn’t do what she wanted in the end.
So, I thought that if I dyed my hair black, I would look pale, right? I was excited, but it doesn’t.
The idol then went on to explain that she had searched for methods to try and combat the “tanning” and that her “pale skin” should return soon.
When the message was shared, netizens shared their anger that JinSoul seemed to be “promoting” the idea that having white or pale skin was better. In particular, it seemed disappointing considering how LOONA has always been praised for inclusivity.
See my problem is that, how are you in a gg that spreads a message about inclusivity and fighting against standards & stereotypes against women yet when we try to educate you, you respond by saying “i feel so wronged”.. like jinsoul come on 😭😭
— Shadow the Hedgehog kinnie (@Iove4eva) September 21, 2022
both the orbit that encouraged the skin whitening and jinsoul are at fault here….but she had the option to diffuse the whole thing but instead entertained the idea…like you know you have black and brown fans and STILL chose to say this…☹️
— X IN STORES 9.29 (@luvsickahei) September 20, 2022
kpop stans need to stop treating these grown ass adults like children. jinsoul fucked up and should’ve known better.. specially since loonas brand is about embracing diversity
— gugudan fan account (@YV3S0UL) September 21, 2022
the fact that jinsoul just went on an entire world tour where she was exposed to many fans of different ethnicities and/or races and she still found the time to be colorist on a platform that's meant for fan interactions. just wow
— ❃ (@xolashores) September 21, 2022
While others explained that it seems to be something ingrained in Korean society so much that idols don’t see the seriousness of their comments and focuses more on preference.
jinsoul made a response, she said she didn’t say anything negative about other people’s skin color and it was just her own preference
it’s really internalized colorism and i think everyone should stop saying things such as she hates other tan / dark skinned person
— grome (@lipsoulletter) September 21, 2022
Another reason that netizens shared their anger was the increasing number of times the issue of “colorism” has been raised in Korean entertainment.
The Netflix series Single’s Inferno came under fire after the contestants seemed to make colorist comments praising the “fair” skin of Shin Ji Yeon.
Soloist BoA and aespa‘s Karina also came under fire for alleged “colorist” remarks.
BoA explained her first impression of Girls’ Generation‘s Hyoyeon, explaining, “She was very tanned.” Korean beauty standards have been known to consist of “pale skin,” and many thought that BoA’s comment had negative connotations.
The issue of Korean beauty standards has always been something that has raised concerns. Yet, the publicity of it by K-Pop idols on the topic of skin color is sensitive to many people and fans believe that it is a topic they need education on it.