Beauty bloggers often have an insatiable appetite for new products, as long as our bank balance allows! With the internet at our finger tips we’ve been able to scour the globe from our sofa looking for the next big thing in beauty. Unfortunately that’s not always a good thing.
When products don’t quite match up with our own beauty standards or include a rarely used ingredient they pique our interest. Asian beauty products in particular are often fetishised as ‘magical potions’ when compared to the western alternatives. Instead of earning merit for their sometimes unconventional approach (by our own standards) we seem to believe that the whole of Asia simply has some mystical beauty secrets that they don’t want to share with the rest of the world.
It’s a big statement to make, but unfortunately it is not unfounded. Maybe you’re confused as to what prompted this comment, well…
swiss blogger cocomadkilla opened her kbeauty post with “we don’t always understand the ching chongs with the black hair and funny clothes” pic.twitter.com/aEd5dmelTP
— E & SE Asian Beauty (@ESEAsianBeauty) July 18, 2017
We’ve gone from using quirky products as click-bait on Youtube to straight up racism. If for some reason the embedded tweet above doesn’t load, Twitter user @ESEAsianBeauty recently reported that a Swiss blogger referred to Korean people as ‘ching chongs’ when writing a sponsored post for a company called Glowrious.
Opening her article with ‘You may have noticed you can find a lot of funny stuff in the East‘, Cocomadkilla repeats the script that we’ve all been pushing for years with a more overtly prejudice tone. Whilst her words will shock fellow beauty bloggers, the way we approach different products from another country can be seen as similarly offensive when we use them as a cheap click-bait gimmick. Taking the Buzzfeed-try-X approach – ‘Omg look at these crazy AB products we found‘ – focuses on the idea that Asian beauty is ‘weird’ not wonderful.
But don’t just take it from me, Reddit user MusicalHouses from the AsianBeauty sub explains the issue perfectly from their own perspective. (The whole thread is worth reading for context but there are some great points made in this response)
Getting excited to try new products that aren’t usually available in your country is absolutely normal. Of course we should cover a diverse range of beauty products from all over the world. However, to use Asian beauty products as a quirky gimmick is not OK & I don’t need to say it, but making jokes about the country of origin is absolutely abhorrent behaviour. Just because something might be a little out of the ordinary for you in your culture, doesn’t mean you can make jokes and mock the place it comes from.
I’m so embarrassed by bloggers like CocomadKilla and truthfully it’s not just a case of the odd bad apple. Perhaps you’re getting to the end of this blog post and wondering if the blogger in question apologised. Well, no not exactly. After pressure, she used the ‘I have friends from other cultures – just a joke – I make fun of myself all the time’ trifecta of poor excuses.
If you’re interested in taking a respectful approach to AB, the r/AsianBeauty thread has an amazing new user guide to brands and regimes. Let’s stop perpetuating the myth that Asian beauty products are weird and gimmicky. Dip your toe in, find whats right for you and above all – remain respectful.