In contrast to the Elizabethan and antebellum South's eras of porcelain beauty, the modern-day fashionistas’ claim to vitality and allure takes the form of a heavily lacquered appearance from tanning beds that seemingly toast the skin to unrealistic shades. The goal, similar to those of many other barbaric fashion trends – such as 6-inch heels and 10 sizes-too-small attire – is a sexy and inviting look. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there is no doubt that these fake tans offer an eye-grabbing (and maybe offensive) look.
The trend of fake tanning is found in many areas of popular culture such as the captivating and sophisticated MTV show, Jersey Shore, which showcases the lifestyle of a fake tan and Bumpits, otherwise known as a guidette. Picture them: make-up caked thick upon their faces, dark hair teased to epic proportions, contrasted by every inch of pumpkin-orange skin radiating through sheer, scanty mini-dresses. Grasping at urban consciousness, these girls are apparently preparing for a nuclear holocaust, in which all light is exterminated and our bodies will be the only form of visible glow.
The absurdity of fake tans is apparent, but this is far from the only reason we should resist this color-tone revolution. Besides being essentially senseless, the era of the fake tan is bringing along with it a fashion faux pas that is not only disturbing but dangerous.
The Skin Cancer Foundation states that the UVA dose of a frequent tanner is 12 times the dose from regular sun exposure. UVA rays, otherwise known to be the cancer-causing spectrum of light, are hitting these wannabe guidettes all over the world with alarming severity. By the time these women reach 30 they will more likely be spokespersons for the dangers of skin cancer than beauty. The undeniable disregard that individuals exemplify when they tan to a crisp needs to stop. There is no doubt that tanning beds pose serious risk to one’s health in the long run. In fact, it is often drilled into the heads of children when their mothers force them to wear sun lotion. However, it seems that the risks of fake tans have taken a backseat in the pursuit of beauty. Here lies the real problem; when fake tans have been associated as a lifestyle choice, where is the distinction of its damage? Just as with alcoholism and overeating, the lifestyle choices of those who severely injure their body have been clearly addressed as harmful and in need of change. So at what point is the needless fad of fake tans addressed? How many cases of melanoma caused by this unnecessary habit will there be until the utter foolishness is seen? All orange jokes aside, there is no doubt that there is a problem especially when faddish beauty outweighs well-being in this culture.
In homage to the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, women all over the world have adopted the oompa-loompa skin quality that has only increased in the past 40 years. From aged cheddar cheese to the overly baked yam, shades of fake tan have provided a sense of uniqueness for girls who, otherwise, would have a natural skin tone. Illustrating that fake tanning is a lifestyle, these girls have found a sense of purpose in a presumably purposeless existence, aside from becoming the next skin cancer patient.
PS: If you want to be orange, just stick to the spray tan. It'll probably give you the right shade of carrot you were looking for anyway.