I don't understand why, after all the evidence of premature aging and cancer, girls like tanning so much. I find it particularly bewildering why young girls are so dedicated to tanning and then less than a decade later start worrying about wrinkles and aging. It is so illogical to me I can't comprehend it. I suppose a light tan looks OK but heavy tanning doesn't look good at all and is certainly not worth the costs. It isn't like a guy is going to decide anything based on a girl's tan or lack thereof.
As a very pale girl with dark hair, I can tell you that being pale is seen as unhealthy and sickly. I can't count the number of times I've been told to get a tan by my own (slightly darker-skinned) friends. Like, really? Coming from my own friends, people whom I thought could see below the shallow physical surface? It's a big hit to the self-esteem when a young girl hears something like that. I never listened to them because I like my skin the way it is, but more often than not young girls will do anything to fit in. I've known a very pale red-haird girl who physically CAN'T tan, and she would slather herself in oil and lay out under very intense sunlight until her burned skin turned purple... she would get maybe two shades darker after all that pain from the burn and the skin peeling and she considered it a good deal.
The truth of the matter is that skin that has some color to it looks healthier and more "glowing" than pale skin. Veins, freckles and other supposed imperfections are less visible. It looks more exotic and sexy too, like another person answered below. Pale people in amazing shape don't look as good as tanned people with average bodies.
I think the reason why frequent tanning is so commonplace in our society is because the negative side effects take years to appear. Nobody gets wrinkly, leathery skin from tanning once, not even after ten times. It's so easy to disregard the ugly skin and risk of cancer that will appear years and years from now. In these days everything is about NOW, instant gratification, not worrying about the future will bring.
martyfellow hit it right on the head. Our culture views being tan as not only more attractive, but "healthier" as well. Yes, you may end up looking like a leather bag when you get older, but I think a lot of those girls just live for the "now" and dismiss the consequences.
I do sunbathe, just not very frequently. Never have and never will use a tanning bed, but from time to time I do like to lay out in the sun to get some color. I don't need to be totally bronze, I just like a little bit of a natural glow. And I like the positive mood change the vitamin D gives me. :-)
I agree actually. I am quite pale naturally but I do like a little color. I don't sunbathe but just use a tinted moisturiser to just give myself a little glow. I don't use sunbeds either. I don't like a heavy tan at all.
Let's be honest, darker skin looks better naked..you can't see their veins, and you don't notice small imperfections. We paler types look funny on the beach, even when we're in super shape, while a tanned body looks good even if only halfway toned..!
The darker the tan, the better they look. Have you seen the Polynesian girls on the beach, in Hawaii for exampe? Ordinary looking girls look like sex goddesses.
And for girsl this is twice, at least, as important as it is for us guys.
Sure it's a double standard, but girls are still often judged on how they look unclothed...I try to avoid judging them for having this attitude!