Equating whiteness to beauty is perpetuated all across the Asian continent, especially in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean and Indian beauty standards. “A lot of this pressure comes from mothers and other family members,” says Nikki Khanna, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Vermont and author of Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism. She explains that women are repeatedly told that light, near-white skin is beautiful and that they need lighter skin to attract a mate and succeed in life.

Books and media uphold that perception today, too. 

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