Obsession with Skin Whitening

General, Philippines / Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Skin White
I was in a spa yesterday for my foot spa and pedicure. It’s my idea of luxury hahaha, having my food scrubbed for my next high heels engagement :). I was wondering a bit at the changes in society. Guess what, I was the lone lady customer in foot spa and pedicure area, all the rest were men. It’s amusing and good to know that Pinoy men now are also into spa and all. There was even one dad with his daughter in tow while he was having his leg choco mud wrap and massage. He said it was his turn to babysit while mommy is out shopping..

I got sidetracked again, this was supposed to be about skin whitening and Pinoy’s obsession with it. I got into a conversation with the lady who was giving me the foot spa and I asked her what is their best sellers. She said most people go there for whitening body scrubs, whitening facials and lately, glutathione injects, and well practically everything that could make skin fair.

Why are there lots of Filipinos so obsessed with being whiter, fairer? Media and most of us promote the thinking that whiter and fairer is beautiful. Watch TV for 30 minutes and you get a barrage of skin whitening products commercials. And most advertisers use fair skinned models as their product endorsers. What could be the other reason why we equate white being beautiful? Is it colonial mentality? I really wonder why..

I am fair skinned myself but I keep wishing I’d be more tanned. My younger sister is morena and I just adore her skin color. It makes her look so tropical, exotically beautiful and yet she is also in the skin whitening bandwagon! I’ve seen her go through various products just to get fairer! Is it a case of wanting something what you don’t have?

I can still clearly remember when I was in grade school, there was a PTA meeting in school and my father went with me. A lady approached my dad and made small talk and peered at me and said, “She isn’t really beautiful but she is so white and that makes her standout.” I could never forget that remark. It made me scared to be darker but thankfully during my high school years I learned it isn’t really the skin color but more of how you carry yourself. Your innate confidence and beauty will show no matter what skin color you have.

26 Replies to “Obsession with Skin Whitening”

  1. I’m a New Zealander and my wife is a Filipina, I spent 5 years living in the Philippines, I couldn’t figure out why so many women wanted lighter skin, My sister in-law spends a fortune on those whitening products and in 5 years it hadn’t done a thing apart from lightening her purse. I personally found the darker skin more attractive.

    Daves last blog post..All Blacks Vs England.

  2. I think that mentality is only in the Philippines. We, pinoy are so obsessed indeed to have a fairer skin whereas most of the people in the rest of the world burn themselves just to get tanned skin, some even got skin cancer — too much exposure in the sun But, if you have whiter skin than the rest people envy at you but still no matter what beauty always comes with character of how confident you are with yourself and accept of being you.

    iriss last blog post..I Finally able to made my very own vector images

  3. Hi, I’m from Malaysia and it’s true more men are going to spa nowadays. It’s the trend, I guess. Also more men using skin care products, well the skin care industry is really gaining from this.
    As for whitening products, isn’t it ironic that Asians want to get whiter and Caucasians want to get darker?

    foongpcs last blog post..Forgiveness

  4. hi foongpc, thanks for the visit. it’s really great that men are now hooked into making themselves “more beautiful”. I actually think its a positive thing for them not to be conscious of wanting to look good..

    i agree with you, a lot of Asian really are into skin whitening while Caucasians are practically burning themselves just to be tanned.

  5. I have seen this in Japan and Thailand so I don’t think its colonizing so much, but more the media relentlessly trying to push products.

    Its the same with weight – English female magazines are obsessed with celebrity’s weight esp when they gain or lose large amounts of weight and get snapped on the beach during a private holiday. We have emaciated looking ‘posh spice’ adorning the covers of most of these magazines and subsequently levels of anorexia and bulimia are at high. Go to some African countries and the larger the lady the more beautiful and better catch she becomes.

    But back to the topic. I am a Caucasian male and living in the ‘land of no sun’ UK often find myself appearing much to pale (seen as unhealthy by some) and I adore Asian and Mediterranean light brown skin tones.

  6. hi jimbo thanks for reading my post and leaving a comment..it’s really interesting..

    I was telling my husband now if I gain weight when I’m older we should probably relocate to Africa..

  7. I am also amazed at the fanatical fad to get whiter or darker. What the heck?!?! I think it’s just ANOTHER way to pressure us to spend our money on stupid things, and feel inferior if we don’t. I think we should all resist these fads, and be happy!

    Mrs. Mecombers last blog post..Crazy Drivers

  8. I personally don’t care that much if I get fairer or darker, but I’m content with my fair skin at the same time. My peeve is uneven skin tone – my arms tend to have a line right where my sleeve ends. The only way I can get rid of it is when I hide from the sun for months on end. I don’t really believe that products can solve it as advertised, so like Mrs Mecomber says, I just resist and stay happy hehe.

    Flishas last blog post..A Toast to Mentors

  9. Interesting post.

    I used to be soooo obsessed with skin whitening back in grade school. All the boys go gaga over the fairer skinned girls…..

    Not anymore though, I’ve been loving my morene skin for more than a decade and I have to say I’ve never been happier in my own skin 🙂

    Ivys last blog post..My Old Man

  10. I am filipina and never once try to make my skin whiter. But then again, I was not born having what other consider a filipina skin. And yes I like my skin tan and every summer i lay out to get some tan on my skin.

  11. I also pamper myself with a Spa once in a while. Great to relieve the stress out of the body. 🙂 Well, honestly, I just find it very funny for women to try out those whitening lotions and pills. I think the not so fair-skinned ladies look good and sexy.

    bloggistas last blog post..Is Making Money Online Possible?

  12. when i was younger and in my college days, im obsessed in making myself whiter….i used astringents that really irritates my sensitive skin…but as i mature, only then did i realize that brown in beautiful. Twas, i become confident to use Brown Pinay as my blogname

  13. hi cielo, thanks for hopping by and added you na.. yeah it true talaga, brown is beautiful and more people should appreciate that now.. congrats on the fab blog 😉

  14. I got to agree with you, Brown is very beautiful!

    Skin Whitenings last blog post..Matis Blanche Corrective Whitening Serum

  15. I am a Filipina living in the states and Italy too. Recently I went on vacation to the Philippines and was surprised of all the whitening products on tv and the stores. Pretty much everywhere I went. I have a light brown skin and never paid much attention to my color until people there were telling my Mom that I’m lucky to be pretty and tall because I have brown skin. I guess they meant it would have been perfect if I was “white!” It made me laugh to hear this but at the same time aware of how much value some Filipinos place on lighter skin color. I’ve always like my honey brown skin tone and my European and American friends always gave me positive complements so it was naturally shocking and funny at the same time to be blasted by fellow Filipinos for being brown…. I hope they would start appreciating their beautiful color instead of wanting to look white. That’s not just who we are, Pacific Islanders! BE PROUD.

  16. hi jane,so youve noticed it too.. di ba there is simply an overload of whitening this and that in the Philippines.  I’m currently in Cambodia where locals are mostly brownskinned but they just really adore fair skinned ladies too. In fact, here they consider fair skinned ladies more “marriagebale”  and some families would also arrange marriages between their daughters with fair skinned guys particularly those of Chinese descent so they could have ‘better looking’ children.

    I find that strange coz personally brownskinned ladies are beautiful.. Hmm I guess that is just the reality..

    .-= pinayws´s last blog ..Cambodia Angkor Airline (CAA), all set to be launched =-.

  17. It’s pretty weird why some people cannot be contented with what they have. I’m a morene and i love my brown color and I’ve got this friend who’s white and goes gaga with getting tanned. No matter how busy she is, she never goes out without using self tanning products just to get the tan look she wanted. I wonder why some wanted to get tanned and some wanted to be white wherein they could just be contented with what they are..

  18. It’s ironic that a lot of people who doesn’t have a white fair skin would love to try products that makes them achieve cotton white skin and a lot of people who already had white skin, would love to be tan.. LOL. Like my self, I’m a fan of sunless tanning product, self-tanners, or tanning extenders: These home products are generally available over the counter and can give your skin a tanned look without exposing it to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

  19. Hi! My sister’s best friend has really dark skin and is looking for some decent remedies. I’ll let her know about your site. Thanks, david

  20. Hi Pinay Wife, as an American living here for a year, I quickly noticed all these strange whitening products, which as others have observed, are the exact opposite of what we want in the states. (Which is to look tan like Pinoys! There’s a tanning bed in every American town but in 34 years I’ve never seen a skin lightener.) My wife and I take public transportation everywhere, and some of the most beautiful people we see are the really poor ones who are outside more. Many times I’ve stopped by cosmetics counters and (in my halting Tagalog) tried to explain to the girls that they’re beautiful the way they are, but they can’t believe it since you can’t fight a lifetime of conditioning in one conversation.

    I had an idea for a Pinoy pride campaign using the slogan “Maganda ang Kayumanggi,” with proceeds to be donated to a few NGO’s here, but I only have two months left. If you’d like to see this happen, stop by our blog and let me know! It’ll take mga kasama to make it happen. Thanks.

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