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Fair Beauty – Vietnam’s Obsession with White Skin

For most Vietnamese women, white skin is synonymous with feminine beauty, sophistication and high social status, and many of them cover themselves completely even in the middle of summer in order to protect their fair complexion from the sun’s rays.

In Vietnam, as in the majority of South East Asian countries, dark skin has always been associated with poverty and peasants working in paddy fields exposed to the mercy of the elements. So while in the Western world tanned skin is seen as healthy and beautiful, in countries like Vietnam, Japan or Indonesia, it is so frowned upon that it can sometimes be enough to drive away potential suitors in arranged marriages among middle-class families.

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