For years doctors have been warning us about the dangers of the sun. “Wear protective clothing,” they cautioned. We wore short-shorts and tank tops. “Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.,” they pleaded. That’s feasible, if you’re a vampire. “Wear sunscreen,” they begged. Well, sunscreen takes too long to apply for people who don’t even have time for breakfast. Plus, it’s sticky. Yuck. But something tells me people are going to start listening, not because there’s a skin cancer epidemic or because those crow’s feet are beginning to show, but because the fashion industry says so. White is the new black.
The Huffington Post’s Verena von Pfetten says it best: Tan is the New Tacky. Unfortunately, I don’t know how long this counter-trend will last. Tanning trends, like all fashion crazes, seem to move in all-too-predictable cycles; in the fall and winter, pale skin accentuates the richer burgundies, ceruleans and jades that dominate the clothing industry, whereas in the spring, tans make lighter colors pop. I’m sure that come March, every magazine will once again be touting the faux glow.
Back in the olden days, I’m talking medieval times, pale was the way to be. Look at Queen Elizabeth I, she took pale to a whole new level. Whiteness was a way of saying to the world, “I haven’t been working the fields with the boorish serfs, just look at how creamy my skin is.” Back then it was also attractive to be fat, for the same reasons. Beauty was much easier then, imagine how happy starved tanorexics would be if they could just let loose and be fat and white.
In many countries, like Africa and Asia, it is still en vogue to be fair. Some of the most popular beauty products abroad contain skin-lightening agents. One such agent is hydroquinone, a skin-whitening product that is used in the U.S. for melasma. It’s also good for freckles and acne scars, by the way. So why does it seem like every country except the U.S. is embracing the natural? Because other countries have caught on to the fact that fair skin looks delicate and elegant, and you don’t die from being pale.
White is a’ight.