After the success of the Netflix series Squid Game, it seems as if the world is rightly becoming obsessed with Korean shows. The most recent series to catch the attention of fans is a reality show called Singles Inferno.
The series follows a group of single Koreans who are all looking for love, but the twist is that they’re on a deserted island cut off from society. For many viewers, it is similar to the idea of Love Island, which is popular in Western countries as all of the contestants are very attractive.
Yet, despite many viewers sharing their love for the show and its addictiveness, it has also come under scrutiny after the first two episodes were aired, particularly from Western viewers.
In the first episode, each contestant was introduced to viewers and each other. They walked down some steps into a fire pit, and, as each person entered, fans got to see the other contestants’ reactions. However, during this part, some controversy amongst international viewers arose due to the Korean cast’s words that seemed to promote “politically incorrect beauty standards.”
One contestant that immediately caught the attention of the other males was Shin Ji Yeon, who has been praised for her doll-like beauty.
Yet, after she sat down, one of the comments from a male contestant caught the attention of fans after they described her, saying, “She seemed so white and pure. That’s my first impression of her.”
In one of the later episodes, another male contestant called Choi Hi Sun was also describing how much he liked Shin Ji Yeon. Yet, when explaining it, he shared how she was his type because “I like people who have light skin.” Another added, “I like Ji Yeon. Her skin is so light.”
When the episodes were aired, Western viewers quickly shared their shock and anger at what the contestants said, explaining that it again emphasizes these traditional “Korean beauty stereotypes.”
The obsession these men have with the white and pale innocent face and being skinny is actually sick like you’re missing so many things😭😭#singlesinferno
— yas🦋rendezvous🦋|🇪🇹| (@sourcandymixx) December 18, 2021
— TVHotTake (@TVHotTake) December 19, 2021
These issues even caught the attention of media in other countries as one news platform in Australia wrote an article about the show and the negative comments it had received after discussions on the topic of skin.
Although it might seem like a general comment, the words have a deeper meaning for those who understand the expectations and “standards of beauty” seen in Korea. Many K-Pop idols have brought up a controversial topic of skin color in the past.
In Korea, many think that the standard beauty ideals include pale skin. Many, including former Blady member Tina, even said that K-Pop companies had recommended white-tanning for idols to “lighten” her skin.
It is even something that has been promoted on social media platforms like TikTok. One netizen explained how different the Korean version of the app was, explaining that her appearance changed with an automatic filter, which included lightening her skin.
Although it is something that netizens have come to expect from shows, it was still surprising for international viewers. Netflix has not responded to the comments from international viewers.
You can read more about Korean beauty standards below.