Friday Photo: True White

During my first year in China, one of my teammates was from California. When the weather got warm, she bought herself a bamboo chair so she could sit outside in our courtyard and work on her tan. Our students were horrified because they valued lighter skin; they couldn’t understand why she would try to make her skin darker.

“Please, Miss Barbara,” they would plead, “don’t sit in the sun.”

“I can’t not do this,” she replied. “I’m from California.”

That preference for lighter skin has led to a booming industry of skin-whitening lotions and creams, as evidenced by this giant billboard in Shanghai.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 thoughts on “Friday Photo: True White

  1. A Chinese teacher in at Foreign Studies University in Beijing asked me if Western people had some problem with their skin that made them need to be in the sun. Every year as soon as the weather started to get warm, they would start to sit outside in the sun wearing very skimpy clothes. Surely there was a medical condition that required such seemingly foolish behavior!

  2. It is hard to find any face crème in China without whiteners. Since there probably isn’t too much oversight of the companies making these products, one wonders what the impact will be in 5-10 years. Even now there are some scary looking ladies, their faces an unnatural white–right down to their necks. I asked a couple of Chinese men what they thought, and they said “Weird”.