Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tanning is the New Trashy?

Mr. Spots and I were out enjoying an adult beverage and listening to a local band Friday night when he made the offhand comment that he could almost smell the burned skin in the bar. There were that many tan females who had worked hard on baking their flesh. Like in any bar scene, there was a mix of people. You had your couples enjoying a night on the town, your girls wanting to find Mr. Right (or right now?), and you have your cool guys wanting to be Mr. Right (Now). Looking around the room, the tannest chicks were also the girls who were trying the hardest to be noticed. I'm talking booty shorts, backless shirts, and F.M. shoes. (I will not translate that if you are unaware of the terminology.) It made it hard for me to relax because I kept judging their skin and becoming angry. Why is it "hot" for them to look like Snooki before pregnancy whereas because of embracing my natural skin tone, I get asked, "Have you been outside lately?" Do people really believe the Tan Mom appearance actually looks good? (This is not an exaggeration. Ask Mr. Spots.)

Is tan skin really considered to be the most beautiful even today or is the fake tan becoming a less than classy accessory?

Let me compare a few famous faces.










I could make this list last forever; however, I think my point has been made. Being tan used to indicate wealth and class. I am beginning to wonder if that has already changed. Is the fake & bake tan slowly going out of style?

Health reasons aside, is being tan really that beautiful compared to our natural glow?


Nicole said...

Chelsea, what is it about people who tan that makes you the most angry? I think if I was in your position I'd be upset that so many people tan, yet I'm the one who didn't make it out unscathed. Not that I would EVER wish it on anyone, but I'd be angry that I got the shitty end of the stick. What bothers you the most about it?

Chelsea said...

What makes me angry is that frying your skin in a bed that resembles a coffin or applying a spray that apparently is also dangerous is considered to be more beautiful than embracing the skin tone we are born with. Overall, why is a fake "healthy glow" considered to be more desirable?

Thanks for the comment. I'm not angry that I am the one who ended up with melanoma. That would be pretty selfish. After all, wouldn't you say I am the one to blame? I'm the one who made the decision to use tanning beds and ignore the sun safety rules. It's the price I have to pay.

I sincerely hope those who choose to tan follow up with a dermatologist. Early detection IS key. :-)

Hannah said...

Wonderful point Chelsea! This is the first summer I have not been laying outside and I feel so much prettier in my summer outfits with my PALE skin :)

The Unhealthy Nurse said...

Before tans were popular being pale was a sign of class as it meant that you did not have to work outside of the home and were not a laborer. I hope and pray that we are returning to that mindset again.

Al said...

An attractive woman with a tan still catches my eye...but in far different ways that in the past. Before, I admired their care-free beach look and glow. Now, I just shake my head and wonder why a beautiful woman would want to lessen her beauty by frying her skin. Times they are a changing...and pale skin (or I prefer "natural tones") is in!

surfer said...

Good luck Chelsea.

In April I was diagnosed with melanoma In Situ (stage 0); the path report recommended that I have more tissue removed as a precaution. I had the surgery last month, and the path report was clean! For what it's worth, I lost my father to melanoma, so I go for yearly spot checks. Although I have never used a tanning bed, I did enjoy taking sun. This will be my first summer not tanning - I would rather be alive than take the chance.


britta said...

Chelsea, I just found your awesome blog. (How I found it: Yahoo! had an article about the mom whose two daughters got severely sunburned at school due to the insane policy that sunscreen can't be applied without a doctor's note and hats are banned from the dress code, and the article linked to the mom's blog, and someone commented in that blog with a link to your blog!)

I'm so glad you're working so hard to raise awareness about melanoma, and you're doing a fantastic job with it! I will promote your blog in my own! :) My blog is http://brittaboob.blogspot.com . I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, and then melanoma-in-situ 2 years later. Breast cancer is my blog's primary focus, but I write about melanoma, too... I was surprised to learn that having melanoma increases your risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, and vice versa. My most recent post is about various sun protection methods.

I never used tanning beds, but I grew up on Cape Cod and was a total beach bum. I'm sure all the sunburns I got as a kid/teenager were what caused my melanoma at age 32. When I was a teenager, having a tan was really fashionable - living on Cape Cod, you kind of got teased if you were too pale. This culture absolutely must change. I applaud your efforts, and I will keep doing what I can do, too!!

Karen said...

Hi Chelsea! Thank you so much for this blog. It has been really relieving since my diagnosis of Melanoma stage 3 b. Cancer is pretty scary without some people posting their experiences. It's really relieving to know there are survivors out there!

Your posting is great. I always want to scream seeing those overly tan women and the judgement coming from me is trashy. Too bad these ladies can not me classy and drop the bronze.

Anonymous said...

Chelsea, great blog! Thank you so much for helping to spread the word for melanoma awareness! I'm a stage iv surivor myself... 5+ years cancer free. My primary was on the left shoulder blade area also. So your pics look pretty familiar! I'm the Twitter person for Aim at Melanoma Foundation. I was wondering if I could use some of your photos on our Twitter page?

Katie Wilkes said...

Hi Chelsea! I hope you're having fun in NYC--my fingers are also crossed for you that all will be well in the land of Oz. I LOVED this post--I've been thinking the same thing lately. I did want to address Nicole's comment, though, too.

Nicole: I hate seeing super tan celebrities and models in the media because, growing up, I was physically and mentally bullied because of my very fair skin. When kids watch TV and look through their mom's magazines and see "this is what sexy is supposed to look like" it makes those of us who don't look like that an easy target. I know that kids are bullied for all kinds of reasons, being too smart, too tall, for wearing glasses, for being overweight--but for me, skin color became an addiction. As soon as I could, I started using tanning beds so that I could look the way I thought other people wanted me to look. Looking back, this seems silly and irrational, but the damage I did to my body 5-10 years ago is likely what gave me melanoma in my 20s.

I don't want other young women to see tan celebrities and feel like they need to look like that in order to be beautiful. I don't want other young women to be bullied because their pasty white legs glow in the dark. If it's not tanning, then I'm sure it will be something else, but given that tanning holds such high risks, I hate that young people feel so much peer pressure to do it.

Mike McQueen said...

Your efforts to raise awareness on melanoma is admirable, Chelsea. Even if you weren’t spared from the condition, still, the strength you’ve shown is inspiring. I hope more people will understand that real beauty transcends one’s skin colour.