Friday, September 4, 2009

"I look better when tanned"

Skin cancer may be the fastest growing type of cancer in the U.S., but some people -- especially young women -- insist that they can't get enough of a tan.  It just makes 'em feel better and more attractive, or at least that's the motivation.

Turns out, according to this study (accessed from campus, your mileage may vary), that it may be unfortunately true. An experiment shows men found darker tanned women to be more physically attractive, thinner, and healthier than they did light and medium tanned women. The study was published in the American Journal of Health Behavior (2008, Volume 32, p. 243-252).

The conclusion?
Campaigns and other interventions targeted at males need to reduce the perceptions that tanned females are healthier, thinner, and more attractive.  Educational efforts targeting females need to reduce attraction-based motivations and to address the need to keep themselves healthy and to not tailor their behaviors to attract males.

In a perfect world, perhaps.  Hopefully someone will come up with a good health campaign to accomplish this, but I have my doubts.  I suspect it'll require some pop culture thing to happen -- a movie, a celebrity, some awful incident.  I suppose a "pale girls are sexy" campaign might work, but it'd have to be done in a clever way.


eeehart said...

There is kind of a grassroots campaign for this. It’s called “pasty by choice”. You can read about it here:
Somehow, however, tan has become a symbol of status, one would argue. Those who are tan year-round have become classed with the rich and sexy jet-setters who spend their winters flopping around on private Caribbean island beaches. This is a total reversal of Victorian times when the rich were identified by their royal pasty-ness, and the poor were the tanned fieldworkers. Like you said, I’m waiting for the day when all of the celebrities get skin cancer all at once and there’s a giant scare- The “Bronze scare” we’ll call it. Until then, I will continue to lay out in the sun sans sunscreen whenever I get a chance and utilize tanning beds occasionally throughout the winter (just enough to get a light “glow”) to improve my chances of procreation.

Hollander said...

A sudden celebrity skin cancer outbreak would certainly get publicity, and maybe scare some people into at least moderating their tanning. Though it's hard to hope for someone else to suffer an illness just to get others to think straight.