Observations in China

It’s funny how exactly opposite Westerners are in terms of suntans than most Asians.

In China, as soon as the sun comes out, so do the umbrellas. Being pale is considered attractive and I’ll often receive compliments about how white my skin looks (they also compliment my “tall” nose which is kind of like a back handed one, but hey i’ll take it!). If we are having lunch outside and i’m with Chinese people, i’ll make an effort to sit in the sun and they’ll look at me strangely asking with great concern, “Kim, don’t you want to sit in the shade?”, “nono thanks, I’m trying to get a tan.” *stare at each other scratching their heads looking at me like i’m an alien*

Going into a pharmacy in Beijing and trying to get a face wash or moisturizing cream without a “whitening” agent is a game that you will loose. I just may find one without any whitening enhancement in the corner under a pile of dust with spider webs on it.

Whereas for westerners, being tanned is considered attractive. Unless you are going for a goth look, being pale isn’t necessarily associated with beauty. There are tanning salons everywhere and people will lay out in the sun to catch a tan. There are even moisturizing creams with a bronze effect in it – imagine that Beijingers!


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