To Tan or Not to Tan: That is the Question in Vietnam

Notice how the young women on the scooter is covered from head to toe? 

About 14 years ago, on my second trip to Vietnam - - I thought the women in Vietnam was just trying to be conservative in their sense of fashion. However, after discussing with a few of the locals here, it is actually just a difference in culture. 

Perhaps it is to avoid those pesty mosquitos? I mean, Vietnam does have a tropical climate so that would seem like a likely hypothesis, right? 

The truth behind the full coverage?

The Vietnamese women prefer being light-skinned because that skin color is considered to be more beautiful. 

With all the tanning salons in America, it makes one think about the cultural differences - - even the small ones.

No wonder other women look at me funny when I'm dressed in a tank top and a skirt! The moral of this blog? Each culture will have its own preferences, norms, expectations, and mores. What is important is that you are comfortable in your own skin - - no matter where you are and where you come from. And, quite personally, I dig the Vitamin D that I soak up here in Vietnam each and everyday!

Love the skin you're in ~ when you do that, everyone can see how truly beautiful you are. 



  1. I've read A LOT about this and actually this used to be the "norm" in MOST societies.

    Dark skin is a sign of having been under the sun, most likely toiling serving the upper classes whose skin remains fair and beautiful.

    Toss in a bit of good old fashioned colonial, western influence on skin color and WHA-BAM!

    Now, in a modern, developed Western society (AKA the USA etc) TANNING is a sign that you have leisure time and can enjoy laying out under the sun instead of turning translucent under the office lights. . .

    in a sense, it is the exact same reasoning behind two opposing views on skin color; I can't help but see it as a bit of "classism" or whatever. . . you should ask what the perceptions of light skin VS darker skin are. . .

    KEVIN (from Phoenix - Kylie's friend)

  2. Kevin, I cannot help but see it as a bit of classism as well but can also appreciate the cultural differences while traveling. It's quite interesting, isn't it?

    I'll be sure to ask around and report back :) What's even more interesting is the men never seem to be covered up during the day; it's just the women.


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