Article

“Why Do Young Thai Women Desire White Skin?” Understanding Conscious and Nonconscious Motivations of Young Women in Bangkok: WHITE SKIN MOTIVATIONS AMONG THAI WOMEN

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Abstract

Skin whitening has been studied mainly using a postcolonial attitude analysis emphasizing conscious reasons behind skin bleaching. Studies dedicated to gaining a rich understanding of nonconscious motivations for skin whitening are scarce, especially in Asia. Therefore, two studies were conducted by using an innovative mix of research protocols to access to both conscious and nonconscious motivations. The studies were conducted among 92 female regular skin whitening users, aged 18–24 years, in Bangkok, Thailand. Study 1, among 42 women, used three-combined qualitative research techniques of laddering, projective technique, and photo elicitation. Study 2 was conducted among 50 women to quantitatively test nonconscious motives implicitly associated with different white skin tones. The results revealed that motives are not linked to westernization. In a very competitive environment, light skin is seen as a strategic method to maintain men's loyalty, enhance self-esteem, and guarantee career success. Managerial and methodological implications for marketers are discussed.

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... For example, both male and female Chinese judge fair-skinned women as more attractive (Mak, 2007;Gao et al., 2013). Thai women prefer lighter skin and use skinwhiteners (Cuny and Opaswongkarn, 2016). Among men, 68% in Hong Kong and 55% in Taiwan prefer women with lighter skin (Schwartz, 2002). ...
... The Asian preference for lighter skin affects consumers' responses to advertisements featuring lighter-versus darker-skinned models (Cuny and Opaswongkarn, 2016;Krishen et al., 2014). Therefore, model skin tone may moderate behavior responses to masculinity portrayals. ...
... Emerging hybrid masculinities provide opportunities for inventive advertising strategies in China's burgeoning luxury fashion market. They suggest a white jade appearance, which helps beauty product and services providers meet Asian women's preferences (e.g., Cuny and Opaswongkarn, 2016), may offer similar opportunities for increased sales to men. The more favorable Chinese response to lighterskinned males and the prevalence and effectiveness of LFM images relate to prior research on fair skin (Krishen et al., 2014;Leong, 2006;Li et al., 2008;Mak, 2007;Schwartz, 2002;Gao et al., 2013). ...
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate masculinity in Chinese social media marketing for global luxury fashion brands through two studies. Design/methodology/approach Study 1 compares physical characteristics of males in visually oriented US (Instagram) and Chinese (Weibo) social media posts promoting global luxury fashion magazine brands (e.g. Vogue, Cosmopolitan, GQ and Esquire ). Study 2 examines the prevalence of and Chinese consumers’ responses (reposts, comments and likes) to different masculinities depicted in luxury fashion brand-sponsored Weibo posts. Findings Male portrayals for Chinese audiences feature more characteristics associated with emerging East Asian hybrid masculinities – “Little Fresh Meat” (LFM) and “Old Grilled Meat” (OGM) – than associated with global or regional hegemonic masculinity (i.e. the scholarly Wén and action-oriented Wu). Wén remains common in social media posts for luxury fashion goods, but LFM and OGM engender more consumer responses. Practical implications Chinese luxury fashion marketing depicts masculinity more similarly to other East Asian marketing than to Western marketing. Some luxury fashion brands are struggling for acceptance among Chinese youth. Luxury fashion marketers should incorporate hybrid rather than hegemonic masculinities to prompt more favorable responses among Chinese consumers, especially younger female target markets. Originality/value Growing female occupational and consumer power and shifting male employment from blue-collar to white-collar jobs have influenced media portrayals of masculinity. Social media marketing for luxury fashion brands demonstrates the prevalence and appeal of hybrid masculinities in China.
... While the historical and cultural analysis of skin in Asia has largely focused on women (see, for instance, Li, Min, and Belk 2008;Cuny and Opaswongkarn 2017;Yip, Ainsworth, and Hugh 2019), there is a long history of white skin figuring in male aesthetics in various Asian countries. In both Heian Japan and Ming China, handsome men were described as having white skin (Kyo 2012). ...
... We sought to furnish an analysis of contemporary male skin-lightening practices in the Philippines with the aim of unravelling the sociogenic processes and webs of interdependencies that shape this particular mode of body modification. Mirroring recent research in the region (see Cuny and Opaswongkarn 2017), we found that the skin whitening aspirations were not linked to westernisation, and that beyond whiteness per se, young men had a more complex range of practices and values, which included concerns for cleanliness, smoothness and even-ness of skin. ...
Article
The desire for light(er) skin is widespread around the world and has been the subject of extensive critical scholarship. But far less attention has focused on skin-lightening practices among boys and men, even as historical and contemporary data show that it is both a long-standing and growing trend in many Asian countries. This study builds on a focused ethnography of young men’s skin-lightening practices in two Philippine cities. Using Norbert Elias’ notion of ‘figurations’, we look at how shifts in gender ideologies, socio-economic changes, processes of urbanisation and popular culture trends are reflected in these practices. We find that the pursuit of a whiter skin is not an individual project, but a mode of body modification which is enacted in figurations among male peers, between men and women, and between men and their employers and customers in a globalising economy. Overall, skin practices and preferences among young men in the Philippines are best understood in terms of changing notions of masculinity, the unchanging quest to look compatible (bagay) with one’s peers, and the desire to keep up ever-changing trends.
... A purposive sampling strategy was used in the data collection. This sampling method has been used in previous studies on specific issues related to consumers (e.g., Cuny & Opaswongkarn, 2017). Purposive sampling allows researchers to target individuals who may hold various and important views and therefore to answer the research question. ...
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Research is needed to identify novel ways to influence Generation Z female consumers' behavior when they interact with various technologies. This study investigates how experiences of using augmented reality, artificial intelligence‐enabled chatbots, and social media when interacting with beauty brands affect body image, self‐esteem, and purchase behavior among female consumers in Generation Z. Through three studies, we propose and test a model drawing on social comparison theory. In Study 1, a survey was completed by Generation Z women (n = 1118). In Study 2 and Study 3, two laboratory experiments were conducted with Generation Z women in Malaysia (n = 250 and n = 200). We show that (1) Generation Z women's perceived augmentation positively affects their body image, self‐esteem, and actual purchase behavior; (2) although trust in social media celebrities positively affects Generation Z women's body image and self‐esteem, the addictive use of social media does not have significant effects; (3) the chatbot support type (assistant vs. friend) has a significant impact on these women's experience; and (4) brand attachment, reputation, and awareness do not have significant effects. This article provides important implications for theory and practice on the behavior of Generation Z females when interacting with various technologies.
... Many studies have documented that females are less physically active and more sedentary than males [25][26][27]. Body composition, innate physical strength, and self-efficacy were often pointed to as the cause [28][29][30][31][32], apart from cultural factors (e.g., domestication, belief in fair skin as an asset) which may contribute to the higher level of SB of women in Thai society [33][34][35]. During the pandemic period, females were reported to have a higher compliance with self-isolation measures [36] and higher psychological distress [37], and that may have led them to be more house-bound and, thus, more sedentary than males. ...
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Measures to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) imposed by governments have undoubtedly impacted on preventing its spread but may have also produced longer periods of sedentary living across all segments of society. To examine this phenomenon, this study compared the sedentary behavior (SB) of Thai adults before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2019 and 2020 datasets of Thailand’s Surveillance on Physical Activity (SPA) were employed. A total of 5379 (SPA2019) and 6531 (SPA202020) persons age 18–64 years who had access to the Internet were included in the analysis. Measures imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19 infection were significantly associated with lower opportunity of Thai adults for work-related physical movement, and that increased their SB, particularly with the shift from onsite to online working platforms. Cumulative SB increased from 824 (before the pandemic) to 875 min/day during the pandemic. The odds of accumulating >13 h/day of SB was highest among females, young adults, those who completed post-secondary education, unemployed or working in the non-agriculture sector, having a chronic disease/condition, residing in an urban area, and living in a ‘higher-risk’ pandemic zone. The insignificant association of physical activity (PA) and the Fit from Home (FFH) intervention in reducing SB during the pandemic suggests that PA is not directly associated with SB, and that the FFH intervention was insufficient to prevent SB.
... As soon as consumers gain new information and connect it with existing knowledge, they are assumed to form cognitive structures in their memory in the form of mental models. Furthermore, in marketing and innovation literature, mental models are described as the interpreted meanings of a product or thing (i.e., a target system) that are formed through experience with a target system (e.g., interacting with the product, reading, online information etc.) and guide consumers' behavior [4,10,12,30,58,60,74,76,77,90,91]. Zaltman and Coulter [90,91] postulate that these mental models essentially drive consumers' thoughts and behaviors. ...
Chapter
Despite their increasing relevance, research falls short to reveal the key factors hindering the adoption of smart technologies. Therefore, the aim of this exploratory study was to elicit consumers’ cognitive representations, i.e. mental models of different smart product concepts based on similarity and dissimilarity judgments, and to label the key dimensions based on which consumers mentally categorize them. This was expected to shed light on drivers of adoption resistance in order to help practitioners in product design and promotion. An innovative mix of two research methods was applied, namely quantitative-descriptive projective mapping and free associations. We found that consumers mentally balance released smart product concepts along with a rationally laden ‘useful-useless’ dimension and unreleased concepts along with an emotionally laden ‘intrusive-useful’ dimension. Additionally, this research showcases (1) method diversity in the field of IS and (2) how non-IS scholars who apply new approaches to an IS phenomenon contribute with new perspectives and thus enrich the field as a whole. This is work in progress and part of an overarching mixed-method agenda. The exploratory findings will be used to carve out further research directions for this growing field (e.g. the development of a construct measuring consumers’ perceived intrusion of smart products).
Thesis
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Il presente elaborato nasce dalla curiosità di approfondire un fenomeno che ho potuto osservare da vicino durante la mia prolungata permanenza in Thailandia, tra gli anni 2016 e 2017, per il mio scambio culturale e scolastico all’estero. Il fenomeno in questione è il vastissimo utilizzo di prodotti sbiancanti (in particolare creme, deodoranti e lozioni), utilizzati indistintamente da uomini e donne, giovani e adulti, abbienti e meno fortunati. Durante il mio soggiorno nel cosiddetto “Land of smiles”, mi sono resa conto non solo di quanto fosse facile reperire questi prodotti (presenti in qualsiasi negozietto fornito di beni di prima necessità), ma anche di quanto fosse diffuso e promosso il loro utilizzo, attraverso delle operazioni di marketing mirate e senza scrupoli. Era ed è ancora per me un fenomeno alquanto singolare, in quanto noi occidentali siamo alla continua ricerca dell’abbronzatura perfetta, la quale denota tra le altre cose un certo stile di vita, agiato e caratterizzato da vacanze ricorrenti o escursioni invernali alpine. L'obiettivo di questa mia ricerca è analizzare le ragioni per le quali i prodotti sbiancanti siano così largamente diffusi, a partire dalle ragioni socio-culturali e di marketing fino ad arrivare alla presentazione e interpretazione dei dati raccolti tramite una ricerca quantitativa (questionario), basati non solo sulla ricerca teorica ma anche sulla mia esperienza personale. L’elaborato è composto di tre capitoli: il primo inerente alla comprensione della popolazione thailandese, della loro cultura e dei loro canoni di bellezza; il secondo relativo al mercato e alle scelte di marketing delle aziende leader dei prodotti sbiancanti (con particolare riferimento a due casi specifici di spot pubblicitari discriminatori); e per finire, l’ultimo capitolo tratta la presentazione, studio ed esplicazione di un questionario creato ad hoc e distribuito tra gli studenti (in particolar modo liceali) da professori thailandesi con i quali sono rimasta in contatto in questi anni, per comprendere meglio il pensiero dei suddetti circa l’utilizzo e le motivazioni d’acquisto di creme schiarenti.
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The merging of new technologies with old colonial ideologies has created a context where consumers can purchase "racial capital" through skin-bleaching creams or cosmetic surgeries. The use of skin-bleaching creams is on the rise throughout Africa and the African Diaspora and cosmetic surgery has increased dramatically among people of color in wealthy countries. Public discourse, however, is fraught with tension over these manipulations of the body. This paper examines three competing discourses: 1) the beauty discourse, based on the mass-marketing of cosmetic whitening products, 2) the public health discourse, designed to dissuade potential skin-bleachers by exposing health risks and 3) the cosmetic surgery discourse, created to market cosmetic procedures to the new and growing "ethnic" market. Through analysis of advertisements and public health campaigns this article demonstrates that the focus on individual attitudes in all three discourses obfuscates color-based discrimination and encourages the purchase of racial capital.
Article
Objectification theory provides an important framework for understanding, researching, and intervening to improve women’s lives in a sociocultural context that sexually objectifies the female body and equates a woman’s worth with her body’s appearance and sexual functions. The purpose of this Major Contribution is to advance theory, research, practice, and training related to the sexual objectification of women. The purpose of this article is to introduce readers to objectification theory and related research, extend objectification theory to our understanding of women’s substance use and/or abuse and immersed forms of sexual objectification via sexually objectifying environments, and provide an overview of this Major Contribution on Sexual Objectification of Women.
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Why do many African women continue to use damaging skin-bleaching cosmetics that contain dangerous chemicals (e.g., mercury) that may increase their rates of infertility, skin cancer, and serious skin/brain/kidney disease? To address this question, our study investigated motivations driving the preservation of skin-bleaching practices in Tanzania. We conducted qualitative interviews with 42 urban women in Dar es Salaam who reported engaging in skin-bleaching practices and who were a subset of a larger sample of women from a study investigating the prevalence of skin bleaching in Tanzania. Results yielded six thematic motivations behind the practice of skin bleaching: (a) to remove pimples, rashes, and skin disease; (b) to have soft skin; (c) to be White, “beautiful,” and more European looking; (d) to remove the adverse affects of extended skin bleaching use on the body; (e) to satisfy one’s partner and/or attract male mates; and (f) to satisfy and impress peers. These findings provide empirical support for skin bleaching being linked to self-objectification, colonialism, and Westernization. Skin bleaching is discussed in the context of other potentially harmful body modification practices in which women participate as a result of external and internalized standards of beauty. Implications for future research and potential practice and policy interventions are discussed.
Article
A variety of prevention measures are being adopted to counter obesity. One of them is to include health sanitary messages on advertisements for food products. We tested the efficacy of this type of measure in an experimental study with 131 participants who were randomly exposed to an advertisement for a hedonic product containing or not a sanitary message. Implicit memory representations (priming protocol), explicit attitudes (questionnaire) and a behavioral measure of food choice (healthy versus unhealthy snack) were collected. Results showed that participants associated negative concepts more easily to the product when the advertisement was presented without the sanitary message, while there were no differences in the explicit attitudes. Moreover, the choice of a healthy snack doubled in the absence of sanitary message. Contrary to its objectives, the obesity prevention sanitary message fills in consumers’ need for justification leading to a greater acceptability of the advertised product and increased choice of an unhealthy snack.
In the aftermath of mass migrations from Europe, most Americans have been of European descent, i.e., “white.” From said migration light skin evolved as the American ideal not irrelevant to people of color. Using a sample of African-American college freshmen, hypotheses were formulated to assess extent of the problem and by inference the Bleaching Syndrome. According to these data, there is a statistically significant relationship between self-identified skin color correlated with light skin providing evidence of the Bleaching Syndrome (the conscious awareness of the cognitive and attitudinal levels of the similarities and differences between the dominant group mainstream and dominated out-group to negate one's self for the purposes of assimilation). Those who study people of color are then challenged to decipher the maze of tradition and create a suitable climate for the study of human behavior in the social environment. In this they will accommodate social justice and an overall ability of diverse groups to assimilate.
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This article examines a group of Thai women's perceptions of western Caucasian men as ideal marriage partners and its impact on their sexual practices and relationship decisions. Based on conversations with women living in a ‘slum’ community in Bangkok, I argue that women who do not fit local ideals of light skin color, economic success and urban origins face obstacles among potential Thai suitors. Some of these women strategically prefer western suitors to local men. Through their relationship choices, these women upset local hierarchies of desire as they attempt to subvert skin color-bias and pose challenges to Thai marital traditions. At the same time, their relationship pursuits conform to gender expectations of the male breadwinner and female caretaker and may unintentionally reproduce skin color and status hierarchies. Although Thai women's sexual relationships with western men are not a new phenomena, they underscore the transnational nature of sexual desire and contemporary social change.
Article
On a visit to a northern province in the 1950s, Hô Chí Minh, who had spent many years during the war with the French living with upland peoples in northern Vietnam, asked local authorities how many ethnic groups were found within the province. Professor Đang Nghiêm Van, the doyen of ethnologists in Vietnam, has written that President Ho received the following response: The “scientific” project of ethnic classification undertaken for political purposes in Vietnam beginning in 1958 was comparable directly (and not unrelated) to a similar project undertaken in China in the 1950s.
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This article discusses the need for more satisfactory implicit measures in consumer psychology and assesses the theoretical foundations, validity, and value of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) as a measure of implicit consumer social cognition. Study 1 demonstrates the IAT's sen-sitivity to explicit individual differences in brand attitudes, ownership, and usage frequency, and shows their correlations with IAT-based measures of implicit brand attitudes and brand re-lationship strength. In Study 2, the contrast between explicit and implicit measures of attitude toward the ad for sportswear advertisements portraying African American (Black) and Euro-pean American (White) athlete-spokespersons revealed different patterns of responses to ex-plicit and implicit measures in Black and White respondents. These were explained in terms of self-presentation biases and system justification theory. Overall, the results demonstrate that the IAT enhances our understanding of consumer responses, particularly when consumers are either unable or unwilling to identify the sources of influence on their behaviors or opinions.
Article
Sarit, the leader of the coup, did not become the Prime Minister until a year later. Pote Sarasin, a civilian and general secretary of SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization), was asked to be Prime Minister in September but for only a few months. After the election in December, General Thanom Kittikachorn, an intimate colleague of Sarit was chosen to head the government while Sarit was hospitalized abroad. However, in October 1958 Thanom resigned for Sarit, who quietly returned to Thailand, to seize power. Sarit set up the Revolutionary Council, which held absolute power under his control. The constitution was abolished, martial law was declared, and many government critics and persons who had been to China in the previous regime were all arrested. Newspapers and the mass media were strictly controlled. Sarit's five-year regime was characterized by extreme anti-communism and economic development. After Sarit's death in 1963, Thanom succeeded the position until October 1973 when a student uprising called for constitutional democracy. Thanom and his military colleague General Prapass Charusathien had to temporarily leave the country, and never returned to power. Since Sarit's and Thanom's regimes shared a lot of common characteristics in major political and economic policies, they can be studied as single period of social and economic development. Sarit's regime contrasted with Phibun's in ideology and practice. In stead of the abstract concept of national ideology (ratta-niyom) and the practice of nation building (sang chart),Sarit turned to the traditional ideology of monarchical institution and the practice of national development. As Wyatt analyzes Sarit's ideology that, "Instead of placing primary emphasis on loyalty to abstract state or constitution... Sarit focused primary attention upon the monarch as both the focus of loyalty for the citizen and the source of legitimacy for the government. Government, in turn, became the secular arm of the semi-sacral kingship and was worthy of respect and obedience by virtue of that connection." (Wyatt 1982:281) It can be said that the sacredness of the monarch and the honor of the royal families had been recovered and revitalized in Sarit's regime and later on. Wyatt well describes the relationship between Sarit and King Rama IX that, "Sarit restored the monarchy to an active role in Thai society, reviving public ceremonies that had been neglected since 1932, encouraging the king to appear in public, and making the public show of
Article
:Previous scholarship on the immense popularity of skin-whitening frames this practice as revealing women's desire to emulate whiteness and upper class white populations (Burke 1996; Peiss 1998; Hall 2005). Others have focused on whitening practices to highlight the working of racialized color hierarchy and European/Euro-American hegemony in local and global contexts (Hunter 2005; Pierre 2008; Glenn 2009;). This article breaks away from these established theoretical trajectories by arguing that desire for "whiteness" is not the same as desire for "Caucasian whiteness." Examining advertisements for skin-whitening products in the Indonesian version of Cosmopolitan and skin-tanning products in the American version of Cosmopolitan, I point out the construction of "cosmopolitan whiteness." Whiteness is not simply racialized or nationalized as such, but transnationalized. Whiteness is represented as "cosmopolitanness," embodying transnational mobility.
Article
Although the basic idea of benefit segmentation lies in using causal, as opposed to descriptive, factors as segmentation criteria, most of the empirical studies do not differentiate between product attributes and the benefit sought by consumers. The objectives of this article are to clarify the distinction between attributes and benefits sought, and to apply a modified laddering technique, based on means-end theory to use the elicited benefits to form benefit segments. A comparison with attribute-based segments demonstrates that means-end chains provide a powerful tool for “true” benefit segmentation.
Article
Purpose Using the theory of planned behavior (TPB) to examine the effects of consumer values and past experiences on consumer purchase intention of organic personal care products, this study aims to consider further the moderating effect of perceived behavioral control on the attitude‐intention relationship. Design/methodology/approach An online survey was conducted with 207 online panel members, and multiple regression analysis was used to test the relationships among the variables. Findings The results indicate that environmental consciousness and appearance consciousness positively influence attitude toward buying organic personal care products. The addition of past experiences as a predictor of purchase intention and perceived behavioral control as a moderator of the attitude‐purchase intention relationship yielded an improvement on the TPB model. Practical implications This study suggests that retailers can develop effective marketing strategies emphasizing ecological beauty, product safety, and affordable prices to increase consumers' intentions to buy organic personal care products. Originality/value This study provides valuable insight into US consumer behavior regarding organic personal care products by examining the factors that influence consumers' attitudes toward buying organic personal care products and consumers' purchase intentions for the products. Furthermore, this study extends an application of the TPB by examining the moderating influence of perceived behavioral control on the attitude‐intention relationship.
Article
Purpose Since it is hard for consumers to express their feelings and views regarding brand images, market researchers increasingly use projective and enabling techniques to collect rich and meaningful data. The purpose of this paper is to describe the development and use of two methods of brand image research based on personification. Both methods were used to investigate the personality of four beer brands. Design/methodology/approach The first method was based on mood boards: participants were asked to make collages of celebrity photographs representing the beer brands ( n =16). The second method used a job‐sorting task: participants were asked to connect jobs with the beer brands ( n =100). The results of both methods were related to a list of brand personality traits. Findings Holistic interpretations of the mood boards and the jobs associated with the beer brands reveal highly similar results among the two methods, which strongly discriminate between the four beer brands. A translation of these findings to scores on personality dimensions further underlines the similarity of the two methods used, but does not convincingly distinguish between the four beer brands. Research limitations/implications The similarities in the results underline the congruent validity of the two methods. The observation that the two methods lose their discriminating value when holistic impressions are translated to personality dimensions scores calls for more research into the way projective research data may be interpreted and used. Originality/value This study is a first attempt to compare the results of two different but related projective techniques for brand image research. It demonstrates the importance of methodological research in this area.
Article
This study compared and contrasted semantic priming in the visual and auditory modalities using event-related brain potentials (ERPs) and behavioural measures (errors and reaction time). Subjects participated in two runs (one visual, one auditory) of a lexical decision task where stimuli were word pairs consisting of “prime” words followed by equal numbers of words semantically related to the primes, words unrelated to the primes, pseudo-words, and nonwords. Subjects made slower responses, made more errors, and their ERPs had larger negative components (N400) to unrelated words than to related words in both modalities. However, the ERP priming effect began earlier, was larger in size, and lasted longer in the auditory modality than in the visual modality. In addition, the lateral distribution of N400 over the scalp differed in the two modalities. It is suggested that there may be overlap in the priming processes that occur in each modality but that these processes are not identical. The results also demonstrated that the N400 component may be specifically responsive to language or potential language events.