Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Male prostitutes-Thailand, Gay men-Thailand, Gays-Thailand-Identity, Human skin color-Social aspects-Thailand, Human skin color-Thailand-Psychological aspects, Human skin color-Social aspects, Human skin color-Psychological aspects, Colorism, Male sex work, Thailand, Attractiveness, Homosexuality in Thailand, Skin lightening, Skin whitening


Throughout history, the idea that lighter skin is better than darker skin has been found in many countries and societies. People with light skin were associated with being wealthy enough to remain indoors while people with dark skin were assumed to have attained that skin tone from working outdoors and being exposed to the sun. Colorism is a form of skin color stratification in which light-skinned people are privileged over darkskinned people, in terms of: access to education, work opportunities, and being perceived as attractive and possessing positive personality traits. European colonialism and slavery reinforced that not only having white skin was ideal, but that European culture was the highest form of culture and should be assimilated by the subordinated societies. This theoretical thesis aimed to explore how colorism manifested a dichotomization between light-skinned and dark-skinned male sex workers in Thailand. The emergent themes of colorism's impact on self-esteem, self-efficacy, and life outcomes among Thai male sex workers paralleled existing findings of studies done on colorism's effects in the African American community. Within a safe, therapeutic space, social workers are in a position to explore colorism's effects on the internal and interpersonal processes of clients – in particular, clients of color.




iii, 39 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 38-39)