Is your skin the color of caramel or cream? Do you care a lot about looking tanned and healthy, or white and clean? Let’s forget the cliché that beauty is skin deep. In reality, regardless of our age or sex, humans love to judge people by their skin color. Two thousand years ago, Greek and Roman women used lead paint and chalk to lighten their skin. In Asia, women swallowed ground pearls to achieve the same effect. Right now, whitening products line beauty shelves, and advertisements bombard us with models having the finest skin tones. All for what? To look more attractive in the beholders’ eye and to live up to the beauty standards of society.
Skin color carries subtle connotations of a person’s class and race. Skin color seems to be the first indicator of one’s character, background, and social status. In most countries around the world, especially in Asia, white skin often implies cultural sophistication, education, and higher income. On the contrary, dark skin is related to labor, vulgarity, or even violence. Luckily, modern society is beginning to embrace greater variety. Now when we see tanned skin, we think of beach vacations, out-door sports, and tanning salons. If taken with care, bronze shaded skin looks exotic, original, and energetic, too. In truth, being black does not signify anything bad.
From a conventional perspective, men seem to prefer women who are whiter. Nonetheless, this is still a subject of great controversy. In short, we often associate white skin with femininity, innocence, and attractiveness. Did you ever realize that people usually say ‘‘She’s too dark’’ but never ‘‘She’s too white?’’ In Chinese, we even have the saying: ????? (‘‘One whiteness covers three flaws,’’ white covers all flaws). Such an inclination toward lighter skin color is also reflected in the media; for example, Disney princesses are never tanned,
No matter what your skin color is, be happy about the way you are. It is not necessary to go to extremes. Since mercury is the best known whitening agent, over-application of bleaching products may cause serious damage to the nervous system and kidneys. In contrast, over-tanning may lead to skin cancer and accelerate the aging of the skin. Keep in mind that most standards of beauty and fashion are arbitrary. We all have different opinions about an ideal; that is, there is no right and wrong, only perspectives. Instead of being enslaved by the media and commercials, build up your inner beauty, too — confidence is what makes everyone radiant.