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The Beauty Of Skin Colour

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sam feeney

on 14 August 2013

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Transcript of The Beauty Of Skin Colour

Societal preferences around the world
The Beauty of Skin Colour:
Eastern Skin Lightening
Indigenous Skin
Gender Differences
Face painting is used in many cultures around the world, particularly by tribal societies throughout Africa, Australia, and Polynesia.
Skin Colour as an indicator of beauty
Skin lightening is the process of applying either natural or synthetic products to the skin in order to reduce the dark pigmentation of one's complexion
'Fair & Lovely' - Total Fairness Cream
beauty and courtship
cultural performances and rituals
religious reasons
sacred social acts
to show power and status within a tribe
Males often paint their faces red or yellow with black lips, and sing and dance as part of Gerewol festival in order to demonstrate strength and attractiveness to the women of the tribe
Materials used
Both raw and natural materials are used; such as plant, leaves, clay, roots, fruit and berries, tree barks, chalk and even duck dung
How its achieved
Pigments used are placed over a fire to dry and ground into a fine powder. The powder is then mixed with hot water to make a sticky paste like paint.
Lower class labourers worked outside
Royal and upper class remained indoors
Created a class divide due to skin colour
White = purity, goodness
Dark = dirty, hell, wrong
"One white covers up three ugly qualities"
- Chinese Saying
KOREA - Used honey dregs
JAPAN - Applying white powder to the face
INDIA - Bathing in turmeric
CHINA - Swallowing powdered pearls
Modern day procedures include skin whitening creams, laser surgery
Health Problems
Lead Poisoning
Mercury Poisoning
In-Utero Effects
Why lighten your skin?
Better life opportunities and prospects
Conforming to beauty
Media influences
Western ideals
Camera brands

men are drawn to fairer skinned women

beauty products for black women aim to make them appear more 'white'

- femininity as a 'white' virtue, comes from white supremacist ideology
Biological Reasoning
Skin colour has a significant effect on human mate selection; paler skin is seen as a 'youthful feature'; represents fertility
Female skin colour is said to fluctuate with the menstruation cycle, with skin at its lightest during ovulation
MEN: painted in darker, 'earthy' tones
WOMEN: painted in lighter 'shell' pink
Skin colour in art
Pale skin as an indicator of wealth and status
Tanned skin associated with the lower classes
Influence of Coco Chanel
The invention of the bikini 1946 encouraged women to bear their bodies in the sun, resulting in tanning as a 'past time'
The Bikini
Natural sun tanning
Oils and lotions
Sun beds
Health Implications
Vitamin D as a cure
'Finsen light therapy' and 'sun therapy'
UV rays
Sun burn
Skin cancer
Tanning is the darkening of the skin by either natural or unnatural means, in order to alter one’s appearance to appear ‘golden’, ‘bronzed’ or ‘glowing’ (Jacobs, 2013).
Western Skin Tanning
"There's nothing healthy about a tan"
Skin colour acts as a 'standard of beauty', and differs across both geographical and cultural boundaries. The notion of what 'tone' is considered beautiful has also changed over time with evolving social and historical contexts.
Gerewol Festival
Which do you prefer?
Megan Fox
Sammy Sosa
Nicky Minaj
Angelina Jolie
DeMello, M. (2012). Faces Around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia of the Human Face.
Jacobs, J. (2013). The Bronze Age Revisited: The Aesthetics of Sun Tanning. In P. Zeglin Brand (Ed.) Beauty Unlimited (chapter 9).Indiana: Indiana University Press.
Leong, S. (2006). Who's the fairest of them all? Television ads for skin whitening cosmetics in Hong Kong. Asian Ethnicity, 7(2). 167-181.
Rippe, J. (2013). Lifestyle Medicine. (2nd Ed.). Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis Group.
females subconsciously drawn to darker complexioned men
- associated with sex, virility, danger and mystery
-Lightness associated with innocence, purity, modesty, virginity, vulnerability, and goodness
dark skin considered more masculine

black men often depicted as significantly darker than black women
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