Just a normal young Australian guy
They say that men are the vainer sex but I think they are instead the more vulnerable. Cinema audiences this summer have been shocked - sometimes audibly - by a commercial about Wes Bonny, a "normal young guy" who, unlike the girls, never went to the beach intending to get a tan.
His best mate takes up the story: "At 23, Wes found a mole on his neck which turned out to be melanoma. [Later] it got into his bloodstream and spread to his brain and within three months he was passed away."
Wes Bonny was no different to any other young Australian man, his dad adds. He played cricket, loved the beach, tried to cover up the best he could…
More than twice as many men than women die from skin cancer - 1297 compared with 600 women in 2010-2011 (from total incidences of 260,148 and 185,010). Young men are especially likely to think that their risk of skin cancer is low - 62 per cent compared with 50 per cent of women.
But twice as many teenage girls in Melbourne said they like to get a tan compared with males of the same age (65 per cent compared with 38 per cent).
So girls want a tan while at the same time recognising it is not healthy. The sun smart message seems to have got through on some level. Boys care less about getting a suntan without recognising that the sun is still potentially carcinogenic whether or not they bask in it. A "she’ll be right" attitude? More likely, they’re just not considering it at all.
Do these attitudes persist as they get older? I know several women in their twenties who’ve had a complete turnaround in their attitude to tanning (I had my epiphany after a severe burn on the idyllic beaches of the mid-north coast of NSW). The first lines, bits of pigmentation, and moles sprouting and they’re covering up. Vanity works. Who said men were the vainer sex?
Has your take on tanning changed over the years? Have you stopped getting your legs out in the sun?
What about the males in your life? Are they still kicking a ball with their shirts off? Swimming without rashies? Wanting "a bit of colour" to show they’ve been on holiday?
How do you think attitudes to the sun differ? How have yours changed?