Is the ‘Facekini’ the New Summer Fashion Trend?
While some people rely on traditional things like hats and umbrellas to avoid the sun, beachgoers in China have taken protection from the sun a step further with masks called the Facekini. Never mind that it makes them look like Mexican wrestlers.
The masks, which recently appeared in the coastal city of Qingdao in Shandong Province, cover a swimmer's entire head, with openings for eyes, nose and mouth.
According to online sellers, the masks have been selling at a brisk pace, with hundreds flying off the shelves in just 30 days. "These have been extremely popular," said one seller on the shopping website taobao.com.
While the masks may seem strange in Western culture, they're deeply rooted in the Chinese perception of skin color as it relates to beauty.
"It definitely has to do with the history of China, which is largely an agricultural society,” said U.S. college student Alina Zhao, who grew up in Zhejiang, China. “Getting tanned means you work outside in the fields a lot, so skin color is like an indicator of your social status. The fairer you are, the wealthier or more respected you seem." And apparently looking like a colorful bank robber doesn't hurt either.