Now social media addicts want to change their RACE: Girls who are white and Egyptian say they’re becoming Asian just by watching videos which promise to morph their faces

Thousands of teenagers and adults are trying to change their race through a bizarre online trend which claims just watching ‘subliminal’ videos can alter their facial structure and skin tone.

The majority of followers are attempting to become East Asian through videos which include images of models from countries including South Korea and Japan. The footage is overlaid with mellow soundtracks and creators claim watching them regularly will morph the face to achieve features which are stereotypically Asian.

Most of those parting in the ‘race change to another’ (RCTA) trend are young children aged around 12 to 15. They remain anonymous online, and tend to post clips of what they claim are progress updates on top of footage of people whose races they wish to become.

The bizarre trend is a far less extreme version of the surgical race transformations adapted by stars including British influencer Oli London, who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars altering his Caucasian features in a bid to appear South Korean.  

Influencer Oli London spent $140,000 on 18 painful surgeries in a bid to make himself look more Korean. The latest race transformation trend is far less extreme – but even weirder. It sees young people watch YouTube clips, with creators claiming that merely doing so will change their physical features. He is pictured holding a photograph of himself before going under the knife

Some comment on the videos claiming that watching caused their faces to ‘tingle’ and after several views their features became ‘flatter’. Other share videos to TikTok purporting to highlight the results.

Unsurprisingly, experts say the videos have no effect. But some add that the phenomenon poses another risk: the racist ‘fetishization’ of other cultures. 

Jamie Cohen, an assistant professor of cultural and media studies at Queens College, City University of New York, told NBC. ‘It doesn’t ever really work, because it’s not doing anything, but they have convinced themselves that it works because there’s other people who have convinced themselves, as well.’

Videos in the trend are referred to as ‘subliminals’ and claim to promote subconscious physical changes. The ‘race change to another’ (RCTA) fad is part of a wider trend of videos that claim to help with everything from mindset and wellbeing to financial success through subliminal messaging.

Most of the clips are incredibly mundane and include a handful of images – usually of Asian women – with a simple beat for the soundtrack. They orders to watch them to the end to maximize the chances of altering their appearance. 

One controversial clip claims to promote a ‘mongoloid skull’, adopting an offensive and outdated term that once defined a racial grouping of people from some parts of Asia but also developed a second usage as a reference to people with Down syndrome.

The video, which has amassed around 210,000 views since it was uploaded in October 2020, claims ‘benefits’ of watching include achieving a ‘mongoloid skull shape’, ‘creaseless eyelids’ and ‘flat’ features. 

This is one of the ‘subliminal’ videos youngsters wishing to change their race and physical appearance watch. It claims that doing so can alter a viewer’s skull shape, with experts pouring scorn on the bizarre trend 

Another subliminal video offers viewers the chance to develop a ‘Korean standard body,’ – and even stipulates that the clip is for ‘ladies only’ 

One of the video’s top comments said: ‘I’ve been using this for about a month and a half and my brow bone definitely seems flatter! I think my chin and side profile looks a lot flatter as well (except for my nose).’

Another is titled ‘East Asian Appearance subliminal (powerful)’ and has 361,490 views. 

The one minute and 43 seconds clip includes an anatomical diagram of a human face and skull with captions about the differences between Asian, African and European facial structures.

It also shows pictures of several Asian women and claims their features are ‘very ideal in East Asian [sic] for beauty standards’.

Viewers are told they have to stay ‘loyal’ and watch the videos repeatedly to achieve results like ‘cute round nose and nostrils’ and ‘transform your skull into a Fully 100% detailed East Asian skull [sic]’.

One commenter claimed to listed ’30x a day’, while others said they had achieved straighter hair, a flatter nose and monolid eyes. Some even said they were Asian but hoped to ‘enhance’ their features.  

The ‘RCTA’ trend has also extended to TikTok, where teenagers share their so-called results. Some videos have reached one million views.

A 15-year-old girl who uses the videos to try and become Japanese told NBC that she has always ‘loved Japanese culture’ and wanted to move there, then discovered RCTA.

Now the girl, Alisa, who is from Ukraine but lives in the US, said she now uses the name Miyuki and thinks the videos have given her smaller eyelids and darker hair.

This subliminal claims to offer the means to develop an ‘East Asian appearance.’ The videos are often lengthy and present viewers with a single still image, or short animation that repeats. Viewers are ordered to watch the monotonous clips intently for their entire duration to maximize the chances of changing their appearance 

Another clip claims to help people develop ‘monolids’ overnight – the eye shape commonly found in Eastern Asia

‘We only live once, so I think we should do everything we want to do in life, even if others think it’s not OK or you can’t achieve it,’ she said.

Margaret Rhee, a Korean American poet and assistant professor of media studies at The New School in New York, said: ‘There’s also the underbelly of that where we want to be careful, because there’s always problems around fetishization or objectification that East Asian cultures have always been subjected to, meaning being revered for these kinds of exotic characteristics but not really fully seen.’

The trend has echoes of real-life ‘race-fakers’. High-profile cases include white women who have claimed to be black or Native American and built reputations as equality activists before they were exposed as liars.

In one recent case, a white American woman claimed to be a queer, Muslim woman of Arab, Latin and South Asian descent and spent years campaigning against inequality. 

Raquel Saraswati also claimed she overcame crippling prejudice before she was outed.

Her case followed that or Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who claimed to be black and became a chapter president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The story of Raquel Saraswati was likened to that of Rachel Dolezal (pictured left as a child, right as an adult), who claimed to be a black woman and became a chapter president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Raquel Saraswati (pictured left as a child, right as an adult) built a reputation as an activist who championed marginalized groups, before she was ‘outed’ as a white American with European ancestry

Jessica Krug was a respected academic whose writing on African and African American history was well-received. Her reputation was ruined after it emerged she had lied about being black

Krug, like Saraswati and Dolezal, became a prominent activist while posing as a black woman. She’s pictured with her book Fugitive Modernities, which was well-received by academics

English internet personality Oli London, 33, a British man, also stirred controversy in 2021 when he was transracial and had become Korean after cosmetic surgery. 

He also transitioned to become a woman. 

London later said he was detransitioning back to a white man, although the cosmetic surgery he underwent is irreversible, and he will never be able to return his features to their original appearance.

Kevin Nadal, a professor of psychology at City University of New York, said: ‘There is a privilege in being able to change your race or to say that you’re changing your race. 

‘There are many people who would be unable to ever change their race. 

‘Particularly, Black people in this country would be unable to say all of a sudden ‘I’m white’ and be treated with the same privileges that white people have.’ Now social media addicts want to change their RACE: Girls who are white and Egyptian say they’re becoming Asian just by watching videos which promise to morph their faces

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