There is a saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Our opinions of what quantifies as beautiful depend on our personal relationship with physical appearances. Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of entertainment.
Fans can tout talent as being the most important factor in liking a celebrity, but one can’t overlook the role of appearance either. While some are able to look past physical imperfections, others subconsciously latch onto a superficial manifestation of what an idol should be. Those deemed more beautiful are generally accepted as being worthy of accolades for winning the genetic lottery. Others, who are viewed as less than attractive, usually find themselves under negative labels that influence their social status.
A few weeks ago, strong emotions stirred up among fans of Vixx after the members made comments about N‘s skin tone. Sadly, this was not an isolated incident. The seemingly innocuous jokes about his darker skin upset fans who felt these remarks hit below the belt. After all, N didn’t select his skin color like a pair of socks; it’s in his DNA. We can go on forever about the endless arguments resulting from these incidents, but I’d rather take a moment to show appreciation for the fans who came together for a single message towards N and anyone else who shares his darker complexion: “You are beautiful, too.”
It is the lowest form of bullying to target a person for a natural occurrence in genetics. Even if a person suffers from a physical deformity, demoralizing that person for not fitting a society’s definition of beauty is an ugly act in itself. However, N isn’t suffering from anything but the constraints of an industry that pushes for a specific standard of beauty that is unrealistic and unfair. Starlights made this message clear in a petition that asked for his members to stop pushing this notion that having a less than fair complexion meant you were less valuable.
The sad reality of entertainment is that a selective group of people push their beauty standards in subliminal ways that permeate our psyches. As a result, you have fans who will brush off kkamjong jokes and say things like, “Well it’s their culture so quit forcing your views on them.” But isn’t that what their society is doing by telling idols like N that his skin tone is a negative trait?
That is why it is such a relief when fans collectively unite to tell darker-toned idols that they accept their type of beauty. Look across social media and you will find fans who celebrate these idols with heart emojis and cheers of “YAAAASSS!!!” Seeing Sistar‘s Hyorin give off a bronzed glow with a confident smile tells fans who share her copper complexion that they are just as attractive. Kai of Exo is another favorite with his tan skin glistening during his passionate dance performances. How could anyone look at this young man and call him ugly when his talent transcends beyond the surface of his skin?
Fans who insist on retaining the natural color of idols, instead of purposely whitewashing them, should be applauded for celebrating the inherent beauty of these idols. There is nothing wrong with how these idols look, so there shouldn’t be a need to give them a Photoshop makeover. Idols are humans with emotions like the rest of us, so being reminded that their skin is not a burdensome trait probably boosts their confidence as much as fan chants at a concert.
Celebrities hold more influence than they realize, so when they admit to loving darker skin, it sends a positive message to their fans. Their actions and words open others up to viewing things from a perspective that could better serve humanity. Fans love and accept idols as they are, and returning those sentiments without regards for their appearance means a lot. It’s that unconditional love that will attract more compassionate people to their fandom.
Got7‘s Jackson gained attention on social media for re-posting a controversial picture of himself looking several shades darker as an alleged joke. Once fans pointed out why his actions were hurtful, he quickly apologized. He owned his mistake, which is something not seen from many idols. Through his actions, fans understood that it’s not okay to make fun of people for their skin tone. His humility is an admirable trait, and more idols should follow his example to reinforce this message.
The love of K-pop goes deeper than the surface and extends beyond dermal layers. The spectrum of beauty contains a multitude of colors, and it’s a relief that many people understand this. When our hearts align, we prove that beauty need not be skin deep, and that is the most attractive trait K-pop fans share.
(Images via Jellyfish Entertainment, Starship Entertainment, SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment)