“MOTOBAIK” by Christian Rodriguez

MOTOBAIK (phonetics used to call the scooters) is a photo project of the photographer Christian Rodriguez.

“As part of one of the emerging economies of the Asian southeast, Vietnam is always in constant growth.With almost 86 million inhabitants it is estimated that in middle of 2012 it’ll easily raise 90 million, from which 70% live in rural areas.”

“Hanói, the capital and second most inhabited city of the country, has 6.4 mi-llion citizens and is always found in constant expansion. Each day in the rush hour millions of motorcycles move from one place to another. Although there is no precise data on the matter, the local citizens affirm that it’s easily 5 million motorcycles.”

“One of the most spectacular images is to see the passing of thousands of mo-torcycles through the bridge of Long Well. In this scene, more than the half of the drivers are women, who cover good part of their body with a jacket that in-corporates an extension to cover the head and the hands.”

“There are two reasons why the drivers are fully covered: first, abundant pollu-tion,the smoke from the bikes, and second sun protection.”

“Why not to be tanned? This is because of the local beauty stereotypes. The Vie-tnamese woman has by nature tanned skin and slanted eyes but they seek to be very white.Being white is synonymous of a good economic status, as well as working in a place where there is no sun exposure,contrary to having tanned skin,as well as a job in rural areas or spend several hours outdoors.This is why Vietnamese have created all sorts of gadgets for sun protection, including skin bleaching creams.”

“Underneath this series of portraits, of apparent simplicity and banality, lies a complex social reality: the pressure that women have to follow the standards of beauty imposed, in-cluding skin color as a sign of status and social position”

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