Saturday, April 6, 2013

White skin is beautiful: how a racist and elitist ideology became the norm in China

One day I told a Chinese friend that I thought a girl was cute. He told me: "are you crazy she is so dark and ugly! Foreigners really have weird tastes".

In China beauty is white.
The whiter the skin, the more beautiful or handsome. Even though in a Chinese machist society being handsome for a man matters less. There are also other beauty criteria such as size, face shape, eyes shape...

White skin is beautiful: where does this originate?

I see several origins:

  • Being white in order to distinguish yourself from farmers
Noble or land owners don't work under the sun. His skin is protected from the sun and it is white. Cultural revolution didn't change this. No Chinese wants to have tanned skin.
For instance Chinese cars have dark windows.

Chinese farmer married a Russian wife

In China you can see that many people have prejudiced toward white or black people. White are often seen as educated, clean. Black people are seen as dirty, violent, athletics, closer to animal!

For Chinese people, skin colors relates not only to beauty but also to a race ideology?

  • Skin is very important for Chinese people
Chinese people take care of their skins. Skin softness is important. A whiter skin is supposed to be softer. It is also important not to have wrinkles. Chinese people don't like dry skins...

How do Chinese people keep whiter skin
Chinese people are willng to sacrifice a lot in order to keep a whiter skin.

  • Protect from the sun at all cost
Protect your face with a hat
Protect your arms and legs
Car with tainted windows
A full bath suit

  • Creams an beauty products
Chinese people use many creams and beauty products.
Big companies understand this and use this white skin is beautiful ideology. For instance most models are white. There are less asian.

I even saw some chocking scale in some beauty shop. It shows a vertical scale. On the top you see the white skin and at the bottom the darker skin tag. According to your skin type you should reach a higher, whiter skin tag...

Even perfume use western, white models.

An interesting fact: many african women use skin to make skin brighter. It seems that the Chinese "white skin is beautiful" belief also extend to African countries?

1 comment:

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