We Need to Talk About the Whiteface

Listen. I know there are real issues with Asians’ proximity to whiteness and toxic colorism within the community. I remember my mom constantly warning me to slather sunscreen on as a kid so my skin wouldn’t get darker. I’ve seen the skin-whitening creams that are sold all over Asia. I get it.

What I’m talking about is something much more superficial.

It’s the makeup application in K-dramas. Now look, I’m still new to the whole genre, but I’ve seen enough shows now to notice the recurring problem of whiteface on the main characters. Why is this a problem? In addition to *gestures above* it really just looks TERRIBLE.

Like yes, we should not be whitening actor’s faces because it’s racist and bad. But beyond that, if you’re going to do it, at least do it well?

The Kardashians (Kim in particular) have (rightly) gotten a lot of flack for their opposite problem–blackfacing, where their heavy makeup application has led real people to actually believe they are POC. (spoiler: they are not) But credit where credit is due, they’ve pulled it off successfully, at least. Kim has committed wholly to the ruse, slathering that overly dark foundation on every inch of exposed skin, including her arms and hands.

These K-dramas, on the other hand, don’t even push the white foundation into the hairline of their actors! It legitimately looks like they’ve slapped a white face mask on the characters, with cut outs around the eyes and outer edges of the mask. It’s honestly disturbing. Are there not any professional makeup artists to be found? How is this a recurring problem across multiple shows?

So. I’m begging you, K-drama creators. If you insist on continuing to lighten your actors’ skin, please do us all a favor and watch a YouTube tutorial or something so I can get back to objectifying the people you want me to objectify without the distraction of a painted clown face.

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