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avant-garde_chauvintist wandering through the garden of ideals

Whitening

CHINA | Thursday, 27 March 2008 | Views [532] | Comments [1]

Whitening products are popular all over the world. Teeth, hair, skin. Everyone wants something to be brighter than it naturally is.

In Asia, they want to be a pale as humanly possible. They have products (from Western companies) screaming "WHITENING!" everywhere. From face wash to lotion, soap to creams strictly designed to whiten ones complexion, it's hard to avoid the phenomenon of white skin. Especially when one doesn't speak enough Chinese to decipher the "bai" character on body wash.

I've been pretty sure for about eight months now that I purchased some whitening product along the way. I arrived in China straight from the Caribbean, so my skin was tan and healthy and wonderful looking. So tan, in fact, that looking at pictures from that time makes me wonder where it all went.

So tan that one of my first students was curious about my ethnicity.

"Teacher. Skin. No white?" he inquired one day.

He had obviously been pondering my flesh tone and finally worked up the nerve to ask why my complexion was so much darker than his own Asian one. I didn't really know how to treat this question. So I tried to explain that there are many different races and ethnicities in the United States. And everyone isn't "white" like they think.

I don't know how much of it he understood.

Now, the combination of a suspected mercury-infused whitening skin situation and the Beijing winter has bleached my skin of all it's natural glow. I've lost tan lines that I had literally since I was 13 and got my first sunburn in the Mexican sun.

And there's not real solution to this dilemma. No likey the tan equals no ability to get tan. No beach anywhere near. No tanning beds at reasonable prices. No tan in a can invading the shelves in anticipation of summer. Nothing.

I guess it's a good thing though. You'll be able to see me coming home long before I actually arrive. Look for the new, brightest star in the sky. That'll be me on a huge jet flying over the Pacific.

Tags: culture

Comments

1

aw, you ARE a star in my eyes!
haha..i'm so clever.

  lauren Apr 1, 2008 11:31 AM

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