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Author Topic: Why are Koreans so terrified of the sun?  (Read 1780 times)

Offline kiwikimchi

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Why are Koreans so terrified of the sun?
« on: January 06, 2011, 04:44:01 PM »
I don't understand it. It is -6 degrees outside and finally the sun is shining. I see Women cover their faces like if they get sun on them they will turn to dust like vampires. I can understand in summer to keep from getting sunburnt but I a little sun is not going to kill you. What do you think the reason/s are they hide from the sun so much?

Offline Davey

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Re: Why are Koreans so terrified of the sun?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2011, 04:50:07 PM »
I don't understand it. It is -6 degrees outside and finally the sun is shining. I see Women cover their faces like if they get sun on them they will turn to dust like vampires. I can understand in summer to keep from getting sunburnt but I a little sun is not going to kill you. What do you think the reason/s are they hide from the sun so much?

because they dont wanna get tanned (they want "white" skin, and it's not a Korean thing but rather an Asian thing--I know a lot of Japanese and Hong Konger girls are like that), although i'm sure they're aware that the sun isn't strong enough during the winter to cause a tan. so, in the winter, it's because they want to prevent wrinkles as much as they can, since UV exposure causes wrinkles.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2011, 04:54:20 PM by daveyc18 »
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Offline Gunpo_Erin

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Re: Why are Koreans so terrified of the sun?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2011, 04:53:21 PM »
daveynyc- you're on the right track!

From what I've heard- tanned skin means they are poor- that they are farmers.  Fair, untanned skin means they are rich- work inside.   

Not sure how true this is but many of my Korean friends have said that only poor Koreans have tanned skin.  I dunno....

Offline Davey

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Re: Why are Koreans so terrified of the sun?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2011, 04:58:42 PM »
daveynyc- you're on the right track!

From what I've heard- tanned skin means they are poor- that they are farmers.  Fair, untanned skin means they are rich- work inside.   

Not sure how true this is but many of my Korean friends have said that only poor Koreans have tanned skin.  I dunno....

yep, that's true, too. but a lot of Koreans simply think the ideal skin color/colour is white, whereas in the West, a lot of people prefer the tanned look.

having tanned skin doesn't mean your poor (one of my co-teachers has tanned skinned), but i'm sure a lot of poor people here have tanned skin either because they're homeless or work outside.
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Offline sambelina78

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Re: Why are Koreans so terrified of the sun?
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2011, 05:06:20 PM »
the same thing in China.. i taught there for a year and my students would cobver me with their parasols when i left the building to walk 5 minutes to my apartment... i tried to explain i wanted a tan, but they wouldn't have any of it! that's also why many aisians countries have skin whitening lotions the same as we have fake tan!
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Offline kiwikimchi

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Re: Why are Koreans so terrified of the sun?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2011, 05:08:15 PM »
Its interesting because many think Koreans age poorly. I have to agree.
I wonder if they know its healthy to get some vitamin D? But I guess they get enough of that from eating kimchi.

Offline DevilMogun

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Re: Why are Koreans so terrified of the sun?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2011, 05:09:29 PM »
This attitude about tanned/pale skin is or has been true in many places in the world including Europe, where tanned skin was also associated with poor field labourers who had no choice but to be out in the sun all day.  Wealthy women would apply various deadly concoctions to their skin to make it white.  Then, in the 1920's Coco Chanel unintentionally developed a tan while holidaying in the South of France and suddenly it became trendy.  It's grown from that to becoming a sign of health, and as everything has its own cycle, is now falling out of favour as connections are made with skin cancer and accelerated ageing of the skin. 

I've actually found it quite liberating being here where I can cover up my very fair skin all summer without being nagged into sunbathing.  I never did see the joy in it.
"She lacks the indefinable charm of weakness" Oscar Wilde

Offline pickle

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Re: Why are Koreans so terrified of the sun?
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2011, 05:17:25 PM »
It is a very old way of thinking, I think.  My friend was actually told she looked like a peasant when she got a bit of a tan.  Some of my students told me one of their classmates was "so ugly and black" because he was dark from playing sports.  It's good they're protecting themselves from skin cancer, but I wish there weren't such a stigma to being a little dark.

Offline andyfoggy

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Re: Why are Koreans so terrified of the sun?
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2011, 05:31:27 PM »
people who are brown in Korea generally work outside
farmers, workmen on building sites, anybody who is uneducated (thats the feeling)
if you are pale it shows that you are of a higher social standing
 :)
like previously posted its all over Asia and not just Korea my friends in Pakistan do the same thing and buy all the same whitening lotions like Koreans do
they like the Koreans find it amazing that we have tanning rooms and spray on fake tan

not that long ago it was the same thinking back in the UK until international tourism grabbed hold

now to have a tan is proof that you have money to visit a foreign country and therefore on a higher rung in the social status ladder

more Koreans are taking trips abroad and returning with tans, i would imagine that it will have the same effect eventually here and people would look at tanned people as those of a higher social status as they can afford an expensive foreign trip

then again

Offline rainesbaines

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Re: Why are Koreans so terrified of the sun?
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2011, 06:39:45 PM »
I took the bus from south South Korea to Seoul a while back and there was a 50-60 y.o. lady sitting next to me.  It was a bit chilly on the bus, so I wanted to bask in the sunshine as I was in the window seat.  While I figured she didn't want the sun shining on her, I was really savoring it, so I left the curtains fully open (totally selfishly--I was aware that everyone else on our side of the bus had their curtains closed).  After a couple of hours of sitting with her bag covering her hands and her handkerchief over her face, she finally got the chutzpa to ask me to close the curtains.  Twas definitely a memorable cultural adventure.  It showed me what lengths women will go to to stave off signs of aging and peasant-like brown skin.

But yeah, the sun...so refreshing.  Though I must say--one good thing about Koreans' solar aversion is that we don't have to fight to stand in the sunny patch on a winter sidewalk like they do in northern Europe.   ;D

Offline kiwikimchi

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Re: Why are Koreans so terrified of the sun?
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2011, 06:56:33 PM »
I took the bus from south South Korea to Seoul a while back and there was a 50-60 y.o. lady sitting next to me.  It was a bit chilly on the bus, so I wanted to bask in the sunshine as I was in the window seat.  While I figured she didn't want the sun shining on her, I was really savoring it, so I left the curtains fully open (totally selfishly--I was aware that everyone else on our side of the bus had their curtains closed).  After a couple of hours of sitting with her bag covering her hands and her handkerchief over her face, she finally got the chutzpa to ask me to close the curtains.  Twas definitely a memorable cultural adventure.  It showed me what lengths women will go to to stave off signs of aging and peasant-like brown skin.

I have had many of those situations. I agree it is a very old and simple minded way of thinking. For example, My work station is in with the administration and a few teahers. Just when it is starting to warm up a bit from the sunlight coming in one of them would rush up and pull the blinds blocking out the hea. The sun light is no where near them or their precious faces so it really gets to me. But just one thing of many that is Korea.




Offline CMTC

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Re: Why are Koreans so terrified of the sun?
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2011, 03:05:11 PM »
One of my co-teachers told me that Korean's believe that the sun durning Spring time is very bad for your skin but the sun during Autumn is good for your skin.
She didn't explain why but she did tell me her mother in law is always telling her to go out in the sunshine during spring!  :laugh:

 

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