Colorism and the Cambodian Ideal of White Beauty

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Kung-fu Hillbilly
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Colorism and the Cambodian Ideal of White Beauty

Post by Kung-fu Hillbilly »

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Photo: Shutterstock

by Emilly Lam
22 October 2019


Even before colonialization, sun exposure was associated with status.

“In Cambodia everybody thinks so. It’s not just my mother or my family. If you have a lighter skin, it means you are living with prosperity, you are intellectual, and you have power. This has been the concept that shaped Cambodia’s society and it is deeply rooted in our culture”, Rachana explained.

According to this logic, lighter skin color increases women’s social capital since it is considered as something particularly beautiful. Social capital is “a form of prestige related to things as social status reputation, and social networks” (Hunter 2002: 177) that can be transformed into economic and educational capital.

Many Cambodians use whitening products in order to meet the ideal of white beauty in Cambodia. Different variations of whitening products can be purchased at markets and pharmacies at a variety of prices. Kim Hong, who has been selling all kinds of beauty products at Phnom Penh’s popular Russian Market, offers a wide range of whitening products at her shop. According to the seller, the business with whitening products is running well with the most expensive product selling for up to 120 USD for a 250ml jar.

Although a change in Cambodia’s collective perception of beauty has to face a lot of challenges due to its historically grown structure, there is high potential in social media as 8.4 million of the young Cambodian population are using it actively. Social media can be used as a source of challenging colorism and as a platform for inspiring each other to take a stand against bullying based on skin color in Cambodia

full http://kh.boell.org/en/2019/10/22/color ... ite-beauty
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Re: Colorism and the Cambodian Ideal of White Beauty

Post by explorer »

Historically, the lighter skinned people were often Chinese or part Chinese. Chinese have been doing business in Cambodia for hundreds of years, and many of them were wealthier than the ordinary people. Money brings status. Many of the people with money had light skin.
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hunter8
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Re: Colorism and the Cambodian Ideal of White Beauty

Post by hunter8 »

Whiter skinned ladies think too high of themselves. Darker skinned ones are more approachable, friendlier, receptive. I think.
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Freightdog
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Re: Colorism and the Cambodian Ideal of White Beauty

Post by Freightdog »

It’s not just Cambodia. Other areas of Asia bow to this ideal. I may have mentioned before; a friend in dhaka, her mother was seeking a white western husband for her. Her maternal family was quite dark skinned, and lighter skinned folk from what was India are perceived as higher ‘caste’/culture, and have a great tendency to look down on the darker skinned inhabitants.
It’s a form of racism that is prevalent within its own culture.
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John Bingham
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Re: Colorism and the Cambodian Ideal of White Beauty

Post by John Bingham »

Chinese go just as brown as anyone if they are out in the sun.
Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Noël Coward

In tropical climes there are certain times of day
When all the citizens retire
To tear their clothes off and perspire
It's one of those rules that the greatest fools obey
Because the sun is much too sultry
And one must avoid its ultra violet ray

Papalaka papalaka papalaka boo
Papalaka papalaka papalaka boo
Digariga digariga digariga doo
Digariga digariga digariga doo
The native grieve when the white
Men leave their huts, because
They're obviously definitely nuts!
Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun
The Japanese don't care to
The Chinese wouldn't dare to
Hindoos and Argentines sleep
Firmly from twelve to one
But Englishmen detest a siesta
In the Philippines
There are lovely screens
To protect you from the glare
In the Malay States
There are hats like plates
Which the Britishers won't wear
At twelve noon the natives swoon
And no further work is done
But mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun
It's such a surprise for the Eastern eyes to see
That though the English are effete
They're quite impervious to heat
When the white man rides every native hides in glee
Because the simple creatures hope he
Will impale his solar topee on a tree
Bolyboly bolyboly bolyboly baa
Bolyboly bolyboly bolyboly baa
Habaninny habaninny habaninny haa
Habaninny habaninny habaninny haa
It seems such a shame
When the English claim
The earth that they give rise to
Such hilarity and mirth
Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.
The toughest Burmese bandit
Can never understand it
In Rangoon the heat of noon
Is just what the natives shun
They put their Scotch or Rye down
And lie down in a jungle town
Where the sun beats down
To the rage of man and beast
The English garb
Of the English sahib
Merely gets a bit more creased
In Bangkok
At twelve o'clock
They foam at the mouth and run
Slut mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun
Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.

The smallest Malay rabbit
Deplores this stupid habit in Hongkong
They strike a gong and
Fire off a noonday gun
To reprimand each inmate
Who's in late
In the mangrove swamps
Where the python romps
There is peace from twelve till two
Even caribous
Lie around and snooze
For there's nothing else
To do in Bengal to move
At all is seldom, if ever done
But mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun
Silence, exile, and cunning.
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Re: Colorism and the Cambodian Ideal of White Beauty

Post by Mishmash »

It's not just the women bleaching themselves either. Men are prone to this inferiority complex too.

And not just Cambodians as Freight Dog points out.

I went down the grooming section of the local Korean Apple Mart - it's tough to find any products that aren't 'whitening', especially in the vast female section.

It's an eye-opener.

The worst part is you can tell they are doing it - the practitioner's skin look a unnatural shade as you would expect.

My Grandma was a sucker for anti-aging creams - she had a barrage of potions L'oreal, Estee Lauder - you name it, and she wouldn't go out of the door or receive visitors without the full monty of make-up.

My Mother surprisingly never wore make-up - not even lipstick.

My Missus started on this craze one time.

I asked here what this stuff was that she was making with a friend - it looked like some foul devilment witches brew and I noticed the soap changed to 'whitening' at the same time.

Luckily, the fad died a death after a month - I just said I didn't want to see the stuff in the house - and surprisingly she got the point for her own beauty's sake.

That and the fact that White Ladies in the UK paid lots of money to be brown like her down the tanning salons.

So far it's not made a reappearance - touch wood.

Surprisingly, one of our previous site managers is very dark. We used to know him before he worked with us and always referred to him as the 'Black man'. He doesn't want to change his moniker after we told him we were proud of his color. Now he introduces himself as such and is a successful man because of it - it's a memorable name that flies in the ways of cultural norms!! Self-confidence indeed.
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Re: Colorism and the Cambodian Ideal of White Beauty

Post by Kuroneko »

When Is a Tan Socially Desirable? Light-skinned Americans seek a tan, but light-skinned Chinese avoid it.

In the United States, many white folks like to sport a tan. Some even go to tanning salons, despite warnings about skin cancer. Here’s a thought experiment. Suppose someone made them this offer, “There’s a new painless procedure, with no side effects, that could permanently alter your skin color to the exact tan that you desire.” Would they take it? My guess is that they would not. A temporary tan—i.e., an acquired tan—has one set of social meanings—health, leisure, and sexual attractiveness—while a permanent tan has another: not white.

I remember a fellow clinical psychology graduate student back in the 1960s—a permanently tan, Italian American woman who did her internship at a hospital in the American South. She told me of meeting a white man who, on learning that she was completing her Ph.D. said, “You’re a credit to your race.”

So the identical tan skin color can have positive social meanings if it is temporary and negative racial ones if it is permanent.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog ... -desirable
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Re: Colorism and the Cambodian Ideal of White Beauty

Post by Mishmash »

Kuroneko wrote: Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:36 am When Is a Tan Socially Desirable? Light-skinned Americans seek a tan, but light-skinned Chinese avoid it.

In the United States, many white folks like to sport a tan. Some even go to tanning salons, despite warnings about skin cancer. Here’s a thought experiment. Suppose someone made them this offer, “There’s a new painless procedure, with no side effects, that could permanently alter your skin color to the exact tan that you desire.” Would they take it? My guess is that they would not. A temporary tan—i.e., an acquired tan—has one set of social meanings—health, leisure, and sexual attractiveness—while a permanent tan has another: not white.

I remember a fellow clinical psychology graduate student back in the 1960s—a permanently tan, Italian American woman who did her internship at a hospital in the American South. She told me of meeting a white man who, on learning that she was completing her Ph.D. said, “You’re a credit to your race.”

So the identical tan skin color can have positive social meanings if it is temporary and negative racial ones if it is permanent.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog ... -desirable
Bizarre indeed. Good post. Thanks.

In the UK having a tan was associated with status way back because it meant you could afford a holiday in some exotic destination.

Nowadays - I dunno - fake tits, ass, lips, tan, hair... Mmmm I think Anton Sandoz LeVay and his 'Devil Worshippers' got it right when he associated power with the 'Command to Look'
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Re: Colorism and the Cambodian Ideal of White Beauty

Post by Duncan »

They look like ghosts


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Cambodia,,,, Don't fall in love with her.
Like the spoilt child she is, she will not be happy till she destroys herself from within and breaks your heart.
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Re: Colorism and the Cambodian Ideal of White Beauty

Post by Spigzy »

Westerners were the same also once- the white skin of Victorians being a status symbol of wealth that they didn’t have to work in the sun. With the advent of commercial flights and the ability to visit exotic locations, that switched around to being those with a tan had the money to get a hot climate, and those who were white couldn’t afford it.

It’ll be like that here too at some point and we can rejoice that the horrific ghosts are finally laid to rest.
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ut sint Guinness proxima morientis ori.
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