Friday, March 13, 2009
Skin whitening has been around for many years, particularly in Asia. Its popularity has grown in recent years...and has become big business across Asia. It's mostly an issue for Asian women. I first read about this (as it relates to Asians) back in the early 2000's and I have always been a little intrigued by it. This is because I find Asian women to be most attractive in their natural state...in their natural skin tone.
Hear a public radio story (from theworld.org) from earlier this week... which explores this issue. Some of these women are risking their health just to look more white.
What is behind this social craze? Who are Asian women trying to please...or who are they seeking approval from? (I have my ideas on that). Is the White European standard of beauty behind it? I believe that this is probably part of what motivates these women. A Filipina woman offers her take on what's behind this phenomenon, and she provides some very good insight. It's interesting how the "n" word comes up.... but then again it all ties in to the bigger issue of racism and how having darker skin is seen as negative, inferior, etc. Skin lightening products and the topic of skin tone have been issues for Blacks as well. The story regarding Asians just shows how global this issue is.
I also believe that the desire for White/European men has something to do with it. It's probably no coincidence that many Asian women prefer white men... especially if these women are in a setting where White men are plentiful and available. This is what I have noticed over the years just through general observation. Unfortunately this is something that isn't studied extensively. But I wonder what the role of colonialism... self-esteem... Western Pop culture, etc plays in this.