Ever seen a Facekini? You would remember if you had. It’s a bizarre fashion trend hitting Chinese beaches this summer.
While westerners often try to get a glowing bronze tan in summer, sometimes using oils and lotions to speed up the process, Asian cultures try to prevent getting darker skin. In China, skin tone can be a proxy for socioeconomic status. Tans come from labouring outdoors.
According to M C Wang, who posted on a Quora thread about the topic, the Chinese preference for fair-skinned women is a cultural thing, dating as early as 475 BC.
“In traditional China, high-class women normally reside in ‘boudoirs’ and don’t receive much sun exposure, and are therefore more fair skinned compared to other women,” he writes, but says it only applies to women.
For this reason, many Chinese women try to protect their skin from the sun to prevent any skin damage, or darkening.
And while you have have seen people wearing gloves while driving to protect their hands, some women in China have taken it to the next level.
Introducing the facekini:
— Mulan_Link To China (@MulanApp) March 23, 2016
— Chung Ying Garden (@ChungYingGarden) March 30, 2016
— Lady Я (@RianneLemij) June 2, 2016
— Feel Foreign (@FeelForeign) June 3, 2016
— EJANI (@Revista_Ejani) June 28, 2016
— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) July 4, 2016
While it may be protecting these women from harmful UV rays, the idea swapping zinc for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre-esque mask is unlikely to kick off in Australia any time soon.
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