Thursday, 21 August 2008

The newest accessory, and its purpose...

The first few days in Taiwan, I noticed that everyone carries an umbrella with them at all times. But there were also quite a few that had them opened, displaying a speckled view of different designs, colors, and sizes of umbrellas above their heads. Furrowing my brow in confusion, I looked up to the sky to realize that the sky was as clear as ever. A tad cautious of weather or something?? No, once again my assumptions of the circumstances are beyond wrong. All the women, showing off their colorful umbrellas, were shading themselves from the intense sun! This culture appreciates extreme lightness of skin color, so they shield themselves from any additional sunlight. Again, thinking back to the ways of home, I think to all the money that we spend on ridiculous tanning bed sessions and how much time we spend out in the sun, baking like a Thanksgiving turkey. What's funny is that some of the younger girls that carry them, quite often display a design or color pallet that matches their outfit!
This desire for light skin really shines through when talking to my female students. When I had them introduce their partner to the class, many of them made references to their partner having such light skin and they were very jealous. It was actually kind of sad to hear them say that. It reminded me of a book I once read a while back about a young black girl in the 1930's who YEARNED to be white because she felt ugly.
Going shopping in little drug stores, I've also realized how lightness of skin color matters to them. They have skin lightening lotions, face moisturizers, and my personal favorite...the "nipple pigment lightening gel." I didn't realize that there was an epidemic of dark nipples in Taiwan. I can just see them marching in the streets, women in the masses marching in demand of skin-care companies to create a solution for their dark nipples. What's funny about this ridiculous that in my mind...they're all wearing white. HAHAHAHA!!! (Oh come on, that was funny. 'Lighten' up a bit! Hahaha...puns are fun)

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