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Whiteness is a very important sign of beauty in China
Home / Books / 101 Curious Cultures / “I’m too dark,” My wife complained.

“I’m too dark,” My wife complained.

Guangzhou-Pearl0196“You’re crazy” I wanted to say, but I wanted to live, so instead I told her “Your milk chocolate skin is beautiful and you’re lucky, at least you’re not red.

My wife is Chinese, if you put her in a cave for a few months and pull her out, her skin would be pale yellow, like the early morning sun. If I don’t get sunlight, after a few months my skin becomes vampire-white to the point that I can blend in with snow. The sun, and my skin, are not friends. An hour of intense sunlight can set my skin on fire. It goes from white to pink to red, hurts and then peels off. It’s not fun, and it’s not good.

The problem we are having isn’t really about skin-color as much as it is about culture. In China “whiteness hides three flaws,” the people believe whiteness is a very important sign of beauty. Up until recently most Chinese have been farmers. Farmers have dark skin, people rich enough to not be farmers had pale skin. Pale skin became desirable because it showed status. In the West, everything is the other way around. 150 years ago most people moved from farming to other industries. In factories and offices, our white skin stayed white. Those rich went to relax on the beach and absorb the sun’s rays, they became tan, and being tan became a symbol of the well off.

Hey, I’m Eric, is my travel blog. I write this website to show you how easy it is to live, work and travel all around the world. I’ve been traveling almost 8 years now. I’m just about to publish my new book Where the Wind Blows: Traveling around the World on $5 a day

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