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Monday, February 8, 2016

Warning: No Tanning Allowed - Light Skin Beauties - The Paler the Better!

I recently made a trip to China and was exposed to a phenomenon that surprised me. Chinese people find light skin tones infinitely more attractive than darker ones. This seemed strange to me since everyone I know in the US is always trying to get a nice tan and people who are pale are usually considered "not as attractive" and "unhealthy". As every major city in the US is infested with tanning salons, I did not see any while I was in China.

This phenomenon is also evident in the realm of beauty products where many American products are geared towards "bronzing" the skin while Chinese beauty products usually aim to whiten the skin. When I met up with my relatives in China, they immediately mentioned skin tones when referring to each other's beauty. "Your skin is so nice and white" and "Why is your skin so dark?" was frequently asked of the children and young adults by their elders. It is almost comedic and vampire-like to watch droves of Chinese people walk in a narrow shaded walkway or tote umbrellas on the sunniest days just to avoid the sun.

Although I may be completely wrong, I think this obsession with white skin has to do with the fact that in olden times any body with a tan was associated with manual labor and peasantry therefore having pale skin was a sign of your wealth. It seems that this type of thinking is still very prevalent in China today. Also as controversial as this may sound, this might be the basis for the somewhat bias attitude Chinese people have towards races of darker skin colors.

For those who don't believe me, just take a trip to China and you'll know what I mean.

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