Skin Color

I was quite surprised when I first moved to Hong Kong to see all the whitening creams sold. People bought them to whiten their skin. Seemed ironic. In North America people visited tanning salons to darken their skin or used creams and sprays that made them look like they had a tan, while in Asia they used whitening cream to lighten their skin.

For some folks tanned skin implies you are rich enough to have leisure time to lie in the sun or go on warm holidays. While for others having lighter skin means your family is rich enough that you don’t have to work outside on the farm or in the field. I saw whitening cream for sale in Thailand, India, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. One writer said whitening cream advertisements are encouraging a whole generation of Asians to grow up insecure about the color of their skin.  

A young woman who was one of my journalism students in Hong Kong wrote an editorial for our school newspaper about whitening cream. She said, “Why is having darker skin such a problem? Humankind is extremely diverse, with skin colors ranging from very dark to very light, but face-whitening makes having darker colored skin seem undesirable or not as attractive as having lighter colored skin. It all comes down to having a positive self-image and being satisfied with the body you were given when you entered the world. Diversity is the best thing. If you’ve got freckles, wear them with pride. If you’re naturally fair, well good for you and if God gave you darker skin, it’s absolutely beautiful. Who needs whitening cream?”

Other posts about beauty…….

Dead Sea Beauty Treatment

My Haircut


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Filed under China, Culture, Hong Kong

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