Monday, October 06, 2008

An Irony About "Outer Beauty"

Sometimes I wonder why we're so obsessed with our looks that it becomes simply ironic in some ways. Most people in Indonesia think that "fairer" skin is better than darker skin. Here in Finland I've NEVER found any skin whitening products, whereas in Indonesia there are so many different kinds. I've got a friend whose mother is a doctor in a village in Central Java and one time a patient came with a serious skin problem. What was wrong with her? She used too much skin whitening products that her skin was so irritated, yet she still didn't want to stop using those products even after the doctor said that she should.

What is "outer beauty"? It's such a relative term with such relative "requirements". Fair skin, dark skin, voluptuous body, model-like body, long hair, short hair, big chest, small chest, big butt, small butt...the list goes on.

My Thai friend who's got dark skin once stayed in a B&B here in Sodankylä and one of the guests, a foreign woman, envied her skin SO much. She said to my Thai friend, "Your skin is SOOOOO beautiful! Where did you go to tan yourself up?"

She smiled happily. She said to me, "She didn't know that I didn't have to go to any tanning salons. This is my REAL skin colour!"

But it's not that easy to get rid of the "outer beauty idealism" that's been embedded in your mind, don't you think so? Why am I saying this?

Well, I went out with my Thai friend once to a clothes store here and there she tried on a nice top. It was checkered and the checkers were yellow and white. It looked GREAT on her, so I told her so. She wasn't sure about buying it since she said, "But it makes my skin look darker, doesn't it?"

Ahhhhh...I understand fully where that thought was coming from. She decided to think about it, but the next day she finally bought it and I'm GLAD she did!!! And she put it on right away to show it off to her husband. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYY!!!

I LOVE celebrating victories when other people embrace their own unique beauties. It feels liberating.


  1. I ever want to buy handbag when I still work. But i was doubt because the price little bit expensive for me that time. So..i was thinking and thinking. When I decide to buy, the handbag was gone. I was so sad in that time...

    Lucky her can still buy :D

  2. I bet the reason there are no (or very few) skin whitening products in Finland is that there are not a lot of people there who want to get there skin lighter/whiter. It seems like people there would like a tan whereas people in Indonesia would like lighter skin. Who is satisfied with their looks???

  3. Jul: Sorry to hear that, Jul. :-((( Well, hope next time you get what you want. ;-D

    Vince: Yeah, that's the irony. It's hard to feel good in our own skin he he he he...