Comment on Skin Colour is Not a Fashion Statement (And no, we won’t “get a tan…”) by Freckles.
Thanks – I am really impressed at how eloquent and amazing everyone’s comments are on this topic! I never realized how much this issue bothered me until I read this great article and the comments. I also live in Southern California and have pale skin/ dark hair, and I have always had negative comments about my pale skin both from family and random strangers.
When I was a kid, my mother used to tell me I needed to get some “healthy color,” especially on my face, to look good. I have photos of me at the beach at a very young age, completely lobster red. I remember the multiple painful sunburns I used to get until I got old enough (about high school age) to realize that trying to “tan” was a cruel joke for me and started covering up.
By then, a lot of damage had already been done to my skin, and now in my 30s I’m already paying the price – multiple suspicious moles have had to be removed as suspected skin cancer, leaving unsightly scars all over my back, chest and arms, and making me more self-conscious than the pale skin ever did.
I’m more or less at peace with the paleness now and covering up entirely every time I go out in the sun for a day. (A great tip I discovered is to wear sun shirts with “UPF” – sun protection built into the type of the material, so you don’t have to glop on sunscreen on your whole body every time – available at outdoor stores like REI and Columbia Sportswear).
However, I realized that I’m still not entirely over the ingrained perceived stigma of my paleness, since I’m the maid of honor at my sister’s upcoming wedding and I have been fretting about looking like a ghost in photos next to my tanned sister and the other bridesmaid. Everyone’s comments have helped me to realize that I was just “born this way”, and I should just hold my freckled head up high rather than trying to use fake tanner to become some other color not found in nature.