When I went abroad I bought a set of my favorite cosmetics line. But after few months I had to go shopping and replenish some stuff. In the big store of cosmetics I unsuccessfully tried to search among unfamiliar brands on myself before asking the seller for help. The guy was very patient and handed me one cream after another all of which I rejected.
The creams weren’t bad – they promised to make skin softer, smoother, moisturize it… but why not whiten? It was so strange and frustrating! The whitening capabilities of any “normal” cream seemed to me as natural as in case of toothpaste.
My wish to be whiter is far from being unique. On the contrary, it is a common denominator of almost all Chinese girls. According to Wikipedia the whitening cream industry in China is estimated to be worth around $7 billion!
While many westerners spend hours in solariums and beaches to acquire a smooth tan, Chinese are equally eager to get rid of it. This is quite paradoxical that the standards of beauty by which Chinese girls judge themselves are more European and not generally characteristic to Asians. No wonder that the never-ending struggle against own nature makes most Chinese girls frustrated and extremely insecure about their appearance.
One might argue that the reasons for preferring the lighter skin are historical. In ancient China darker skin was usually a sign of lower social status: while rich people could stay indoors, the farmers had to work in the rice fields under the scorching sun.
While preparing this article I stumbled upon interesting data that can shed more light on white skin mania in Asia. The results from one dermatological research show that:
Hyperpigmentation (dark spots) has an earlier onset than wrinkles and laxity (loss of firmness) on Asian skin (compared to Caucasians).
If this is true then the preference of pale skin among Asians can have evolutionary explanation: white skin being a sign of youth and fertility.
This social and biological conditioning is exploited by cosmetic industry which sends unequivocal messages to potential customers: being whiter will increase your dating chances.
Some advertisements went too far and were accused of being racist sparking hot debates.
Check pictures of Chinese minority girls or popular Chinese singers: you will see that most of Chinese (and other Asian) female celebrities are whiter than average Chinese girls. It seems that skin whitening is a must-have item in the list of plastic corrections that they perform to look more attractive. The same trend can be seen in Korean soap operas – so popular in China – where most beauties have almost snow-white faces.
Well, I guess that now you understand why Chinese girls always hide under umbrellas and wear huge sunglasses.
Therefore, here is one more tip for dating: even if you think that your Chinese girlfriend’s yellowish skin is beautiful – never make compliment about her tan. It will only make her unhappy!
I personally coat my nails only with transparent color just because I think that my skin is too yellow to experiment with brighter colors. It sometimes makes me very envious about pale-looking girls.
I am not lonely in this despair: one friend of mine recently complained that she never wears red, green or purple dresses exactly for the same reason :-(.
As for my cosmetics – in the end I asked my friend to bring it to me from Hong Kong.
Not completely happy with her skin, Crystal Tao