Tuesday, September 16, 2008

accepting my 'pastitude'

From latinopoliticsblog.com:

Looks like Sarah Palin wants what many of us already have - Brown Skin

Actually, I caught this bit about Sarah Palin installing a tanning bed in the Alaska’s governor mansion yesterday, but it just illustrates the level of vanity and superficiality, which I recently addressed here with this woman. All of this is made more ironic when you consider that Senator McCain has been treated multiple times for melanoma. Personal tanning beds can cost as much as $35,000, which is not out of the ordinary for most folks from small town America, right?
I laughed when I saw the headline. I imagine she'd like the darker skin but maybe not the latinidad that goes with it.

Election commentary aside, I don't know why it seems nobody is happy with their skin color. I've been known to lay out in my back yard (when I had one), on the roof of the building (when I thought the landlady wouldn't catch me), or on the beach for purely cosmetic reasons. My Mii of choice is not the one that looks like me--shaved head, pale skin, blocky glasses--but one with brown skin and a full head of spiky black hair. Even my pseudonym doesn't reflect my Welsh/Scots/English/Scandinavian heritage, but that is probably why I stuck with it. Growing up white in Utah, Texas, and Hawaii, self-deprecatory humor about "pastiness" and ghostly white legs and bellies in the spring and winter months was an essential part of any skin-baring activity (swimming, skinny dipping, etc.). Bronzed skin was always the gold standard.

Then I look at the thriving market for skin bleaching products in Asia and Africa and scratch my head. I watch the Mexican telenovelas on Univision (now in HD!) and wonder why none of the actors look like my clients (in fact, some seem to my untrained eye to have landed roles principally based on their blond hair and blue eyes ... and, ahem, acting skills). I watch(ed) with bemusement as the Chinese women of Bensonhurst walk under umbrellas on sunny days.

It'd be healthier, psychically and physically, for each of us to simply accept the lot we're dealt at birth, but then that's not human nature, is it.

[Adding that the reasons for and consequences of whites aspiring to be tan and nonwhites adopting trappings of whiteness are vastly different and this post doesn't begin to address them.

Also noting that "accepting the lot we're dealt at birth" doesn't come near to adequately characterizing the social implications of skin color. But before I end up fisking my own post, I'll just leave it at that.]

1 comment:

Lal said...

Seems to me (in general) that people want what they can't have. LOL. In my culture, being dark is like the curse, if you have read this -