大家好, hello everyone! ?
First thing firsts, thank you for reading my first blog post. I received many positive and encouraging comments about it, so thank you for that. Everyone who hasn’t read my first blog post, go and read it now ?
This post will be a more in depth post about colourism in China and Asia. I did touch upon some points in the fist post but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Not only in China but in mosts parts of South-East Asia trying to achieve white skin is a common and daily action. It might seem like, a trend that, caused by Globalization but in reality, whitening skin dates back centuries. Take Geishas in Japan for example, who applied a thick layer of white powder on their faces. There is an old Japanese proverb “white skin covers the seven flaws’’. In China we have same saying only that white skin only covers three flaws for us. Either way, it means that it doesn’t matter if your features are not as pretty as long as you are white. Traditions are hard to break and to this very day women in Japan still use whitening products which can be found everywhere.
Women use all sorts of whitening skin products in their daily facial routine. From creams, masks, essences and foundations, everything is tagged either “whitening’’ or “brightening’’ (and to be honest with you, I own some myself too ?). Many people also buy cosmetics, one or two shades lighter than their actual skin colour. You can probably can imagine, how the corresponding advertisements look like. Celebrities with snow white skin are everywhere to be seen and if you don’t pay attention it’s easy to miss how fabricated it looks like. Have you seen some of the celebrities from China? Actress Fan BingBing for example, has snow white skin, that many Chinese women envy her for.
Personally, I don’t hold a grudge if people strive to have white skin, however I cannot comprehend why it should be a measurement that determines ones economical and social standards. There is another saying in China nowadays which can be translated as “tall, rich, handsome’’ (高富帅 Gāofù shuài) and “white, rich and beautiful’’ (白富美 Bái fùměi). These are standards for measuring people and also a standard that many young Chinese want to live up to. To be measured and also judged on skin colour is something, in my mind very wrong and immoral thing to do. Discriminations against black people are probably something that is widely discussed about in comparison to colourism in Asia. Personally, I think it is as wrong as judging someone’s sexual orientation.
Many Chinese women (also men in fact!) want to conform to society and thus succumb to this peer pressure and start applying whitening products. Using whitening injections and consuming whitening pills isn’t something new in China. However not everyone can afford expensive, effective cosmetics, therefore less expensive products can contain toxic ingredients and cause serious harm. Fortunately toxic skin lightening products that contain hydroquinine, mercury and steroids have been banned from the market: Hydroquinine is a bleaching agent that can be found in black and white film processing. Mercury can cause skin rashes and scarring and will lead to serious health issues and the same goes with steroids. Therefore many Asian brands have started promoting whitening products, which naturally reduce pigments such as barley rice, crushed pearl powder, honey, aloe vera etc. Alternatively, Chinese people have some very funny (but probably effective) ways to escape the sun, like using facekinis.
While researching and choosing my topic for this blog I found some very interesting and helpful articles around colourism and the goal of achieving fair skin in Asia. Before I could not understand why people were so obsessed with it but now I actually do understand and also respect some aspects. In China and East-Asia fair skin belongs to the culture and until this very day it is still deeply rooted, which is respectable. However saying that someone is not pretty enough because they are not fair enough is wrong! This is the probably main message and problem I want to pass on.