Pointed Nose / White Skin

White skin is the standard for beauty for most Asians.

Standards of Beauty

Here in Indonesia we have had people tell us that their nose was ugly because it wasn’t pointed. We’ve also had people say their skin was ugly because it was dark. When going through language school the Indonesian teachers described a beautiful woman as being one with a pointed nose (hidung mancung) and light complected skin (kulit putih). There are even Indonesian songs that mention the pointed noses (video, with lyrics at the bottom of this article).

Pointed noses and light complexions are the standards of beauty in almost all Asian countries. This standard applies to both men and women.

For most white westerners, a person with a golden tan appears to be much more beautiful than a person with pale skin. To us, the tanned skin tends to communicate youth and beauty, while a person with pale skin appears sickly—like a vampire or a corpse. This has led to the development of numerous products to darken skin, as well as tanning booths.

Asians take an opposite path and protect themselves from the sun and purchase products that will lighten their skin color. If they have the opportunity they will even get surgery to make their noses pointed (rhinoplasty).

Advertisement for skin whitening product.

Skin Whitening Products

As western TV commercials promote tanned skinned actors and products for tanning your skin, Asian TV commercials will regularly have light skinned actors selling their products. Their commercials for whitening creams boarder on racism, as they tends to portray those with dark skin as inferior. The commercials communicate that if you don’t buy their products and get white skin, you’ll never get a good job and you’ll lose prospects for a good spouse. These products aren’t only for women, men also seek to have whiter skin.

Sammy Sosa (before and after)
Celebrities are known to take steps to lighten their skin tone. (Michael Jackson also did this).

A common sight in Indonesia is people on motorcycles with gloves and jackets. Though the climate is very warm with high humidity, they still wear jackets and gloves. One reason for these jackets is to prevent “masuk angin” (to stop wind from entering their body—and thus get a sick). Another reason, especially the gloves, is protection from the sun.

Please Impregnate My Wife

Some Asian men have asked white western males to have sex with and impregnate their wives. This request was made so their darker skinned Indonesian wives can bear children which will have lighter complexions. This lighter colored skin often enables individuals to have better job opportunities, as well as have the opportunity to “marry up,” that is, marry somebody in a higher economic class.

Asian woman promoting a skin whitening cream.

Why White Skin?

First Opinion: Some claim that the reason Asians believe fair complexions are more beautiful is due to beliefs stemming from colonialism. At the time the British, Dutch, Portuguese, etc., dominated Asia countries, local people developed the concept that for success, you had to have skin with a lighter tone. Some say women from Aceh (on Sumatra) are more beautiful than other women in Indonesia because of them intermarrying with the Portuguese, and due to that their offspring have pointed noses.

Second Opinion: Others say that the favor given to people with lighter complexions was in place long before colonialism. People with this view say that those of nobility were never out in the sun, they never worked in gardens or fields, nor did they draw water from the rivers or wells, thus their skin was considerably lighter than those of the “worker-class.” For people to advance to a more noble position in life, lighter colored skin was preferred. It’s all about social status (classism).

The below video clearly illustrates the fascination (obsession) Asians have with white skin and long noses.