Beautiful White: An Illumination of Asian Skin-Whitening Culture
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This paper uses Taiwanese and Chinese skin-whitening beauty products as a lens through which to study how globalization and the Japanese post-colonial context has influenced the nuanced East and West hybridization of skin-whitening beauty practices in primarily Culturally Chinese cosmopolitan cities such as Taipei, Taiwan. Applying Koichi Iwabuchi’s notion of transculturation, I examine the exchanges between producers of skin-whitening cosmetics and their consumers. In particular, I analyze Taiwanese and Chinese fashion and beauty magazines to examine how ads for skin-whitening cosmetics align with the local, historical context of East Asia and appeal to members of the “Culturally Chinese” diaspora. Multinational cosmetic brands advertise their skin-whitening product lines to the “Culturally Chinese” consumer market in multiple ways. I investigate some common skin-whitening marketing motifs to see how marketers renegotiate common symbols and their conventionally signified meanings to create new sign circuits that influence female consumers and redefine Culturally Chinese ideals of beauty.
Descriptionhonors thesis, 2013, winner of Distinction Award in Visual & Media Studies
DepartmentInternational Comparative Studies
Subjectskin-whitening, cosmetics, Culturally Chinese beauty practices, transculturation, globalization, Taiwan, China
CitationPan, Elysia (2013). Beautiful White: An Illumination of Asian Skin-Whitening Culture. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/7559.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers