3 years ago1,000+ Views
This is the first segment of Acceptance August where we can discuss more serious topics:

1. SHADEISM - The discrimination that exists between the lighter-skinned and darker-skinned members of the same community.

Idols with tanner skin still don't have it easy in the Korean entertainment industry. They are often forced into sexier roles, told they are "dirty" (even if it is meant as a joke) and are constantly having their skin color altered in photos.
All cultures have shadeism. Darker skin in America has been associated with working outside and thus being from the poorer working class. It was 'less elegant' and at best 'exotic.' This is not exclusive to Korea.
Do not blame Korean idols that make ignorant comments - its cultural influence and simply not knowing any better. That being said, things need to change. Rather than telling Hongbin he's a horrible person for drawing a picture of N with dark skin, find constructive ways to tell him why that is hurtful. Like with Rap Mon, dramatic threats and anger are not going to change people but understanding and explanation will.
This is a post celebrating the idols that are helping break down the negative stigma related to a tan complexion, I didn't include everyone so please contribute in the comments!

Sistar's Hyorin

Sistar19 was promoted as a "sexy dark duo" because of Hyorin and Bora's skin tone. Hyorin is constantly being called sexy even when she's promoting a completely un-sexy ballad. She's been lucky enough to have music video directors lessen their color correcting so she actually looks her natural color, but she is still the subject of many "bleached" photos and videos to make her paler.
She's very proud of her body and natural skin tone which is doing great things for tan women in Korea, but she still hasn't been able to shake "sexy" label.


Hakyeon is often thinking about his skin, to the point where he encourages fan sites to lighten his skin. It's not because he has anything against tan skin, he just views himself as more beautiful with lighter skin. In many photos you can see that his face is significantly whiter than his arms or legs because of the amount of whitening makeup he wears. He's slowly transitioning out of that and celebrating his skin, but is still the butt of many jokes.

EXO's Kai

He is often called black by his band members (PLEASE READ: when someone translates the name from Korean, they are literally using the term for the color black, or the shade dark. This is not the same as using Black to describe someone of African descent in America - they are literally talking about the darkness of his skin not comparing him to another race)
He is in charge of the "sexiness" of EXO not only because of his dancing, but because of his skin.
Kai is actually very sensitive about this, I ask you all as a fan to not use that term when talking about him, even if you think its out of love.

Lee Hyori

Lee Hyori is the queen of Kpop, hands down. She often had her skin altered in the past with makeup or photo editing (most often not by her own choice) but recently has come back tanner than ever and loving it. She's powerful and stands up for women of all shapes and colors in the entertainment industry and will not let her skin color be lightened in her own photos any more.

Wonder Girls' Yoobin

Again, Yoobin is linked to being a sexy gangster not because of her incredible rapping and onstage presence but because of her skin tone. She was never one to let that bother her and JYP is pretty good at lessening the photo editting with his idols.

Big Bang's Daesung

Another victim of skin lighting in photos, Daesung's natural skin tone is rarely seen in photos and video.

C-Clown's Maru

Maru was picked on constantly for his skin tone in C-Clown. He wouldn't even hide how upset the jokes made him - you could see on his face that he was near tears or extrememly uncomfortable. In photos he is shown as darker not because they're celebrating his natural tone, but because they want him to come off as a tough rapper.

2PM's Taecyeon

Like I mentioned before with Yoobin, JYP is much better at not letting his idols' skin tone affect their work. Yoobin and Taecyeon's skin isn't discussed, made fun of, and they aren't pushed into overtly sexy roles because of their skin (just because of the fact that Taecyeon is damn sexy!)
So please, know that this is a problem that is being worked on, but like in all other countries it is a slow process. If someone makes a joke about skin tone remember that it is probably not malicious. As Kpop becomes more and more international, we as international fans need to help them understand and grow, rather than shutting them down and telling them they're bad people.
I know on Vingle we're an understanding bunch but reminding your other kpop friends of this when another incident comes up (because it will) will help not only the idols grow, but the fandom as well.

1. What were the moments that made you angry about this topic?

2. How can we, as fans, help this!?

If you have more ideas please add them to the original Acceptance August thread

In my opinion, I don't really think skin tone is something that people should be criticized for. Idols shouldn't have to be uncomfortable in their own skin...These idols have MAJOR talent, and just because their skin tone is out of the 'norm' for the majority of K-idols, they shouldn't really be bashed about it. They were born with the skin color they have and shouldn't feel ashamed. Yes, their different, but they should be proud of their themselves and who they are. But yes, tanner skin tone may or may not be accepted across many cultures, but I hope we can help people understand and hopefully accept it in the end. And quite honestly, whenever I see k-idols with tanner skin, my eyes draw right toward them.. and I actually get jealous of how nice their skin looks......but that's just me... xD Thanks for creating this card!! :)
@swaqmasterbecky I think thats such a weird point for international fans to understand. When someone says something negative about a Korean with darker skin, they arent saying anything negative about an American with darker skin. It's like foreigners get a get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to certain prejudices in Korea. For example my Korean isnt that great but people always tell me my korean is awesome. My friend is Korean but adopted by white parents so cant speak Korean well either and she gets chastised by older Korean people she meets for not being fluent. It's like the tan vs pale argument only applies within the Korean culture, and doesnt extend out - so idols dont understand that theyre offending other people!
@deilig "A person can't change their upbringing but can change how the next generation will be like." <<--- THIS!
Wow. I really appreciate this card. It was definitely an eye opener. Here we use the term "colorism" to what you use as "shadeism" It's. so sad that this sort of thing is an issue worldwide. I've noticed some racism in Kpop, but I was explained that people just don't know any better in Korea. Make sense. Most racism stems from lack of awareness. But this doesn't mean it shouldn't be addressed. It should be. Again, thanks for this card!
Skin color has always been a problem in an society not just in korea.even in my own home we sometimes compare our skin and see who is darker( as a joke). But that is the kind of thing we are taught to see as right. A person can't change their upbringing but can change how the next generation will be like. As fans we should not get mad and accuse them of things they don't understand because that is how their society views the subject. We should encourage them to see why that can hurt others.
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