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Is “White is Right” true?

I always noticed when I lived in the States a lot the Caucasian Americans would run to the beach on free days of the warmer months to get that “Golden” skin tan to look healthy. Even on warm and sunny fall, winter and spring days you would see people out with as little clothing as possible slathering on the sun tanning lotions and oils with their sun reflectors under their chins. Then along came the Tanning Salons where you paid to lie in a machine with ultra violet lights to make you look healthier. To Americans and I think many “white” Europeans pale skin looks sickly and unhealthy where as a nice golden tan made you look healthier and rich.

In the past few years a business has sprung up where they spray a chemical that will cause the skin to darken and look like your tan. You can buy it and do it yourself at home or go and pay someone use an airbrush and spray it on for you. This business came about with all the fear of Sun rays and cancer and/or dry skin.

Now, here in the Philippines it is completely reversed. Here Filipinos find beauty in white skin. I have heard them mention or point to foreign woman and say they are beautiful. When you ask why, because some are not attractive to me at all, they reply it is because of the white skin. Here, white skin is a sign of beauty.

My nephew has told me he is attracted to females with light skin. There are some Koreans here and some have very pale milky skin and to me some look sickly.

Because of this, there are is a big business here selling skin whitening products and spas offering skin whitening services. There are soaps and lotions to lighten the skin.
As your out on the street, you see many ladies and some men walking with umbrellas or holding newspapers or even packages up to keep the sun off of them. Unfortunately many of these products can cause allergies, skin rashes and/or dry and flaky skin.

To many Americans and Europeans the darker skinned Asian look of Filipinas is what attracted us and then we have the Filipinas trying their best to look lighter like a Caucasian.

As the old saying, “the grass is not always greener on the other side” can maybe paraphrased “The skin is not always whiter on the beauty side.”

28 Responses to “Is “White is Right” true?”

  1. don m. says:

    oh so true. They all looked at my white legs when I walked around the barrio and said how nice. I took it as a joke at first until I found out they were not laughing. They would not be afraid of a ghost because as it would be so pretty!!!! hahaha

  2. ceblogger says:

    color preference. a friend of mine is a nationwide distributor of a skin whitening soap. and it sell like hotcakes. my wife uses it too.

    • Bruce says:

      Elena uses skin whitening soap too. I just wonder if it works and if it causes skin damage. The thing they do not realize, foreigners have no problem with a darker skinned lady.

  3. Billy Escobar says:

    It all stems from the colonial mentalities and prejudices of the past(American & Spanish). If you look at TV in the philippines and much of the world only lighter to white skinned people are shown as being successful. As a naturally darkskinned filipino, it’s very tragic to me that these mentalities still exist and are not being used a machine to make money. You can’t erase what god gave you and I have no problem with legitimate skin products but to me the whole business is a disgrace.
    Philippines is a tropical climate and we are a people of the sun and heat. Dark skin has a purpose for us as a island people, physically, historically, culturally and it is a part of us as a race of people.
    There are filipinos that are naturaly lighter skinned as they have more mixxed chinese or Japanese blood. Filipinos I believe the majority are dark brown but we can cover the whole spectrum because of our mixxed heritage. I would say we are like the Brazil of Asia and vice versa.
    Bruce on a side note. I was skeptical at first when reading your site and had my own predjudices about you but I can see your a good person. As a Filipino American born and raised in Chicago I really enjoy reading your blogs. It’s almost funny that I have more in common with you growing up in the States than with my own people. Actions speak louder than words and your actions as blogged are very inspiring. God bless you and the Philippines, the U.S. and the world in these uncertain times.

    • Bruce says:

      I think it is human nature to be something we are not. As you see in America many whites perm their hair and go for tans. Blacks straighten their hair and like to lighten the skin. We try to dress in the style successful and popular people dress.
      Movie stars are icons and people like to emulate them. Look at Hollie Berry, a beautiful woman who is of mixed blood. But told at an early age by here white mother, even though she is half white, everyone will consider her as black.
      Unfortunately many people use other peoples needs and desires to make money, some with no regard for their customers.
      As a white American, the darker skinned and exotic look is what has always attracted me and many others.

      I can understand your feelings about me at first. Here is an American telling the world about your native country. Well, as you see from my writing and comments from Filipinos, I do not try to disgrace or slander this country, but state facts from my observations and try to tell or understand the cultural differences too.

  4. Dan2maasin says:


    My Rose likes her tanned skin or brown skin and of course I do too. She says that she does admire the white skin, but has no desire to whiten her skin, which is fine by me :).

    Take care,
    Danny 🙂

  5. Garryck says:

    Hehehe.. boy, does this strike a chord for me… Marielle occasionally gets onto the ‘beautiful white skin’ topic. She has lighter than average skin for a Filipina due to some Spanish blood in her background, but would really like to be whiter. She admires my white skin and finds it really hard to understand that white people like to be tanned. I’m glad Marielle isn’t too dissatisfied however, and thank goodness she doesn’t want a nose job or breast ‘enhancement’, as I think (and tell her) she’s perfect just the way she is.

    Fortunately I’m able to dissuade her from using these skin whitening products by explaining that they work by destroying the melanin in the skin (yes, I researched this topic when she first mentioned the idea), which will render her much more susceptible to skin cancers and such, as well as pointing out that her skin colour is something I find very attractive. My (only partially) joking suggestions that I’d like her to spend more time in the sun to get browner are greeted with horror…

    On a more serious note, I’ve seen the same kind of thing back when I was chatting with some African women. I have the feeling that a lot of this is exacerbated and exploited by the manufacturers of these products. In predominantly white countries, they push tanning products, in the predominantly darker skinned countries, they push whitening products. But in all cases, they promote dissatisfaction with what one was born with. Big corporations and marketing departments have a lot to answer for, in my opinion.

    • Bruce says:

      I guess it is always we want to be what we are not. Whites want a tan and darker people want to be white. I remember seeing something on National Geographic about Africa where women use flour to put on their faces to look white. To me they looked ghastly.
      Using products to change our skin and bodies has repercussions and skin is the only covering we have and we cannot get a transplant. So we need to take care of it.

  6. macky says:

    not to mention the awkward make-up techniques that is ensued. check out your nearby department store saleslady. or even wedding bridesmaids & your tv news anchor.

    the make-up pigments look unnatural sometimes abruptly ending at the jaw line . all for the sake of caking up to look lighter.

    • Bruce says:

      I used to joke about ladies in America, especially the blonds with so much foundation and makeup, that if they smiled their face would crack. Then “helmet head” so much hairspray that if you pressed on their hair on one side of their head, the other side would move.
      I know a wise old man that said in the first or second date to push the girl in the pool, so you could see what she would look like in the morning.

  7. I have always liked getting a tan and being tanned. But a few weeks ago I got the message I might have a melanoma on my body. It is not yet diagnosed as it has to be cut off and sent to laboratory. As I am leaving for Asia in about a week I wont and Swedish health care is so slow, I cant have it removed before I leave here. I will probably take care of it in Bangkok. I have thought about skin cancer sometimes during the last years and also spent less time in the sun. During my travels I find I get a lot more sightseeing done and less sunbathing :-). Now I will just pray and hope this isnt the serious malignant melanoma variety. Might see you soon Bruce. I will be in Thailand for a while first! I have a wish to go to Borneo too. Want to climb Mount Kinabalu and have a look at the orangutans!

    • Bruce says:

      I hope nothing serious with your skin condition. Also have a safe and good trip and I am hoping you make it here too. Take photos and if you like, send me a guest article to post here about your travels.

  8. I would be very happy to send u some material when i find the time Bruce! I hope you will like it! I might make a trip to East Timor too, and then hop up all the way to Gensan. I heard there is boat connection between Manado in Sulawesi and General Santos. Would be an amazing trip for me!! East Timor is a new country. I think they got independence in 2001!

    • Evelyn says:

      to mr stefan lindholm of sweden ,in behalf of the people of gensan, i’d like to welcome you to my hometown. i hope and pray you’ll have a wonderful stay there.and if you’ll need a tour guide, feel free to email me so i could ask favors from my friends there to bring you around the city..this is my little way of thanking you for loving my country and us, the people..
      good luck and God bless

      • Bruce says:

        I hope Stefan sees your comment. You are so nice to offer.

        Evelyn ahd her friends are very nice and I know they would take good care of you if you visit General Santos City.

  9. And oh, I will go to Brunei too, and try to have a chat with the sultan there. I have a relative to who worked there for him during the 90’s:)

  10. julie says:

    Sir, my opinion towards this topic is we should be contented on what and who we are. what is most important is God has given us a good life and we should protect and take good care of it…god bless…

  11. Evelyn says:

    bruce,people are vain nowadays…..

  12. GraySpirit says:

    I’m still in the states (less than 3 weeks to go before I go expat). There is a large filipino population in my state (Hawaii) and don’t really notice that the filipinas here really pursue the fair skin look.

    I’ve always been one for the morena look. And the filipinas here tend to use make-up that complements darker skin, which in my opinion really works well. I hope this catches on more in the Philippines.

    Hehe … last time I visited Davao I think I offended someone who asked me what my idea of beautiful was. I replied, “Oh I prefer women with long black hair and darker skin,” which was okay, but then I added, “kind of like you,” which was intended as a compliment … lol … and the look on her face told me that she did not take it as a compliment. Oh well … different strokes.

    • Bruce says:

      I agree, some of the darker skinned beauties have a more exotic quality. To me, light or doark skin does not matter, it is more the overall package. I have seen some real pale ladies that actually look sickly.

  13. Wow, you live in Hawaii, I miss Hawaii a lot! I stayed there in 1991/1992 for many months. On the island of Maui. At that time I barely knew what the Philippines was:)

  14. vanessa says:


    As for me, i always love my brown skin and proud of it. I’m darker now since i’m out in the sun more than anyone else here in the US. Our only hobby is outdoor so yah lots of lotion to keep me from burning. Will never change a thing..

  15. Billy Escobar says:

    I think more opportunites in the entertainment industry especially commercials, tv shows and such tend to go to the light skinned filipinos but thats just my observations. The only dark filipinos i see are in the audience or as contestants. Some of those skin whitening commercials they always show are pretty disgusting to watch. I remember being in the Philippines and laughing at one and my relatives just looked at me like I was crazy. They would never get away with commercials like that in America. I think they would be to offensive to naturally brown or dark brown beautiful women. Again I have no problems with skin products promoting good complexion but not ones that give you the Michael Jackson effect. RIP MJ.

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