BLACK GIRL TRIES KOREAN MAKEUP: RACE, GENDER, AND TRANSNATIONAL PLATFORM
Keywords:K-beauty, YouTube, Race, Black Beauty, CTDA
AbstractThis study aims to theorize how YouTube fundamentally capitalizes the racial and gender identity of women of color and local culture in a way it facilitates inter-racial and inter-cultural conflicts. I specifically focus on so-called K-beauty (Korean beauty), a catchy trend on YouTube which encompasses aesthetics, cosmetic products, and beauty ideals from South Korea, characterized by pursuing glowing, dewy, and light skin tone featuring a variety of skincare products. K-beauty is now being adopted by non-Koreans in North America including Black women influencers on the borderless platform of YouTube, who created the Black Girl Tries Korean Makeup video series. By using a Critical Technocultural Discourse Analysis approach, I examined YouTube videos, comments, as well as the module titled “Building a Global Channel” to analyze not only the contents and discourses around that but also the platform that might have shaped this intercultural flow on YouTube. Black women YouTubers actively critiqued the light skin preference, as well as anti-Blackness reflected in K-beauty brands through the Black Girls, Tries Korean Makeup video series. Korean viewers, on the other hand, strongly rejected these accusations of the anti-Black aspect of K-beauty, explaining distinctive Korean racial dynamic as a one-ethnic country where the light skin preference is not translated to the anti-Blackness. I argue that this inter-cultural and inter-racial conflict arguably has been shaped by YouTube’s digital infrastructure that prioritizes short, trendy, how-to-style videos, that do not require a lengthy contextualization of each culture’s beauty practices, and history of oppressions.
How to Cite
Kim, D. (2021). BLACK GIRL TRIES KOREAN MAKEUP: RACE, GENDER, AND TRANSNATIONAL PLATFORM. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.11959