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. Others have focused on whitening practices to highlight the working of racialized color hierarchy and European/Euro-American hegemony in local and global contexts. 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, the author points 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.

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