What is Skin of Wealth: Class and Complexion Fashions From Pale to Tanned ?


In my manuscript, Skin of Wealth: Class and Complexion Fashions From Pale to Tanned (398 pp., 106,921 words), I use astrophysics, biology, anthropology, history, myths, literature and letters, to show how the prized pale skin of the agrarian world was devalued with the advent of industrialism and the paling of the impoverished factory workers.   In the early-20thcentury a new complexion fashion of suntanned skin, formerly the hue of the destitute peasants who spent their lives toiling under a relentless sun, became the rage.


While polar opposites in appearance, in principle they were similar, for both light and sun-darkened skins in their worlds and times were each the skin of wealth and leisure.


Although it has previously been assumed that the change in complexion fashions from pale to tanned skin was caused by the replacement of agrarian society by industrialism, it has never been rigorously proven and documented until my ms, Skin of Wealth: Class and Complexion Fashions From Pale to Tanned..  Using sources ranging from astrophysics and biochemistry to myths and fairy tales, Greek, Latin, and Elizabethan literature to Chinese and Japanese classics I show how those most exposed to the ultraviolet radiation that prompts production of the dark tanning pigment, melanin, throughout history and across the globe have typically been the poor peasants whose brown and sunburned skins have been visual proof of where, at what, and for how much they worked.


From Asia to the Americas, over millennia the sun-darkened skins of poor peasants were their brand of villainy and dishonor, while the pale skins of the protected and idle rich were marks of beauty, delicacy, and prestige.  Through the years and over the globe skin fashions were the products of employment and the systems of production, and as those systems changed from outdoor agriculture to indoor industry, factory workers became as pale as the idol rich, causing a reversal in the ideal skin tone to express the wealth and leisure time of those who could afford to lie in the sun or tanning beds.


Readers interested in the history of fashions and cultural fads will find my book especially intriguing as a window into the basis for those fashions and fashion shifts through time and across the globe.


After working on this project for more than two decades and consulting over twelve hundred sources I am more knowledgeable on this subject than any other author today.


As skin-cancer rates and melanoma mortality rise, understanding the cause, history and purpose of our complexion fashions becomes increasingly critical.


Skin of Wealth is an important work told in a unique and compelling way.