As the days are getting cooler and summer is falling behind us, I would like to take a look into one of the funniest differences I have found in summer culture from the east to the west.
This being: the tanning culture, or lack thereof.
Back home, in The States, having a tan is something to be proud of. For some, tanning is a way of life. Being that I am a chameleon of sorts, I adopted this way of life while living in Arizona. Some may say that I was too tan at times. Actually, pretty much all of my friends at home made fun of me for it, but I embraced it.
The tanning culture can be seen by the many tanning salons and spray tanning boutiques gracing the good ole US of A. I even saw that they were very prevalent in Argentina. In the west, if you are tan during the winter it shows that you are able to pay for vacation and in turn have lots of $$$. It can be seen as a status symbol. Also, lets face it, most white people just look better with a slight tan.
Now, I find myself in the far east, where in the middle of summer, people are wearing arm covers on their bicycles to cover their arms from becoming tan. People wear jeans to the beach, in the ocean, and then shower in them. Children are covered from head to foot, with hats and globs of sunscreen. There is such a thing as a "face bikini". All of these layers being worn when it is 98 degrees, mind you. Pale is beautiful. Also, status symbol of $$$. Back in the day, if you were pale, it meant you were wealthy and that you did not need to work outside in the fields.
Another thing that shows the eastern obsession with white skin are the normality and excessive use of sunbrellas. They are everywhere, always. These umbrellas are used during the hot, sunny days of summer to keep those pesky rays off the beautiful porcelain skin.
When my roommate first arrived to Taiwan after a summer of carefree, pool lounging in the States. Her manager took a look at her, wincing that her skin looked so different from her alabaster photograph sent in with her resume. "Oh, SO black," she said in a shocked and somewhat disgusted voice. I had a similar experience after a weekend at the beach. My manager told me that I should wear a sweater while riding my scooter so that my skin wouldn't get so brown. She was just trying to be helpful.
Of course these are two extremes. Not all westerners are chained to a tanning bed, and I think that culture of extreme tanning is behind us *I hope*. Also, not all eastern folk are found heavily clad at the beach, but its just so interesting (and hilarious) to see
the extreme differences.
|Face-kini Family Affair|
|Legit biker in the middle of summer.|
|Keep that bod covered, woman! |
Images VIA: http://lilylilyphotography.com/, http://www.zentailife.com/, sickoftheradio.com, and ME