Skin Deep

LA Times covers another Asian cultural aspect of keeping their skin “white” in
Beauty and the Bleach.

I LOVE to be in the sun. When I was growing up, my brothers and I pretty much lived at the Polo Club, shortened for the Royal Bangkok Sports Club Polo Club, a branch of the exclusive sports club in the city. I started off first with tennis, then I was either roaming around the grounds or out in the pool with my friends until my brothers were done with their tennis lessons in early afternoon.

All three of us were so dark, or in Thai “dumm” which means black, we were the color of milk chocolate. We did have a family portrait from this era in our dining room. People often asked if mom was really our mom. She was, and still is, very very fair.

See, mom is blessed with the Chinese fair skin, but also cursed with over-sensitivity to the sun. A bit of sun and she either gets covered in freckles, spots, or worse yet, burn to a crisp. I may have inherited a little bit of that too now that I couldn’t be out in the sun too long before I burn…even under SPF 45. But I brown easily enough just from being out driving or walking about in the sun for 15 minutes.

Anyways. The whole skin color thing hasn’t been too much of an issue until I hit a certain age when you’re supposed to be attracting boys when it becomes an issue.

Then again, about that age I started school in the US. Each time I come home “dark”, mom greeted me with a sigh. The rest of the trip would be peppered with her pulling me out of the sunny sidewalk, or forcing a magazine over my face. She’s still doing it now.

Dark isn’t cool back home. You’ll read in the article here at they mentioned a Western ideal of beauty is to blame for Asian whitening craze. It’s not. It really has been based in the Asian culture. The light skin means you’re not toiling in the sun and therefore of higher class.

Yep. White = high society. It comes down to that.

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