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Chinese Perceptions of Beauty

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Chinese Perceptions of Beauty

Shirley Li, Staff Writer

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“Put on some sunscreen, so you won’t get tan. Stay in your pale skin, my girl.”

Perceptions of beauty in China are always unpredictable, frequently transforming every dynasty. The trends in China right now are big eyes, high bridges, a small face, and white skin. All of these facial features resemble European characteristics. Nowadays, we promote women’s rights and freedom, but is it okay for women to change their own facial features to mirror another race? What are the motives behind this trend? In order to find out the answers, I interviewed the student body at SSFS, whose opinions ranged extensively.

According to statistics, there were three major opinions. 30% of interviewees disagreed with the trends in China, 44% of people did not have a strong opinion, and 22% agreed with the trends. Here are some of the thoughts of those who disagreed with Chinese beauty standards: “I think she is beautiful without that makeup. You don’t need that makeup to fit in,” an American sophomore said, while many others agreed. The interesting part is that the same person also stated, “I want to know what influences she has received from her peers and the environment.” A Chinese student also brought up the factor of ethnicity: “People’s ethnic identities have been decided since they were born. People shouldn’t change it or be ashamed.” An African student who agreed with the trend said, “At this time, a woman should be able to do what they want to do when they want to do it because of her own reasons.” This idea directly correlates to women’s personal right to make their own makeup choices. A Chinese student mentioned that, “It is actually pretty common in China,” later stating that it is a cultural issue. All the other students who did not have a strong opinion were stuck between the choice of women’s rights or staying true to one’s ethnicity.

After my research, I realized that identifying right or wrong of the Chinese beauty trend is like a paradox. We believe it is wrong at first when we believe it is a cultural and ethnic issue until the explanation of women’s rights arises. I decided to do more research to find out the truth behind the Chinese beauty trend. In the 1920s, the trend in China first shifted towards promoting Western beauty standards, which is indicative of a global movement. In the 1930s, the Shanghai girl’s pale skin with rosy cheeks was considered the ideal beauty standard. Shanghai is a port city that has absorbed a lot of influences from European cities throughout history. In 2010, China felt the impact of the K-pop industry, which promotes a certain trend, called the “ulzzang look.” It includes huge doe eyes and pale, pearlescent, dewy skin. All of these historical events caused the newest trend in China. Apart from all of these historical reasons, I believe there is another cause. In Ancient China, the rich people had slaves to hold their umbrellas for them to prevent sunburn, which meant that those same rich people were always extremely pale. With clear cultural distaste against looking “slave-like,” people could pursue an “ulzzang look” to prevent their inner selves from becoming uncertain and unconfident in their appearances.

After all of this research, I realized that it is difficult to determine which answer is “correct,” as everyone has different opinions. Apart from the cultural, ethnic, and historical influences, beauty trends in China are still changing today. No one knows which trend is next, but take a moment to think about it: what is your opinion?

 

Sources

http://www.twoeggz.com/news/11073566.html

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About the Writer
Shirley Li, Staff Writer

Hi, my name is Shirley Li. I am a sophomore at SSFS and this is my first year in Wildezine. I am a staff writer this year. I love to write opinion articles....

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Chinese Perceptions of Beauty”

  1. Yidthrog P Norzin on January 10th, 2019 9:08 pm

    Women have the rights to do what they want to make themselves feel comfortable with themselves. But the idea of going through surgeries and other forms of recreation to keep up with the societies’ standards is extreme. Different countries have different unique features and they are all beautiful in their own ways. I think the main problem here lies with the nation or the society setting a standard for beauties. The beauty standards keep changing with time but it important for people to understand that everyone is born with very different features. The removal of ideal exemplary or beauty standards can greatly help women feel like they fit in, regardless of the differences among them. It is important to completely get rid of or at least minimize the different standards of beauty around the world. The most important thing to do is to make people feel better about themselves in such a way that they would not have to change themselves out of insecurities or social pressure. Women have all the rights to do what they want but undergoing major changes to look like someone who is considered “perfect” seems pathetic. Removing unnecessary beauty standards from society can be a way to let women feel comfortable with the way they are and they won’t have to go against their ethnicities to look like someone from a completely different race.

  2. Eleen Long on January 17th, 2019 10:38 am

    This is absolutely a true phenomenon in nowaday China. People generally evaluate women’s beauty in a simplex way. Being a Chinese, I have often been told that I need to loose weight and keep the pale skin color, in order to be beautiful, because that is how people thinks beautiful women should look like. This article well undercover the truth of “Chinese beauty”. On the other hand, I would also like to make some suggestions. I think you can make deeper research in this topic, like why the view of beauty in China is simplex, or what makes the view of beauty change over time. I think you can connect the simplicity of beauty in China with country’s confidence, and enrich you research and make clear logical evidences to make your article more reliable.

  3. Sarah F. on January 24th, 2019 1:06 pm

    I found it really interesting to read the quotes and arguments from all sides of this discussion. While the perspectives on this issue contrast, they definitely have the potential to align in many ways. Regardless of whether people are okay with the current trends or not okay with them, the general belief in this article was that individuals deserve to feel content with themselves and free. The difference is whether that freedom comes from an emphasis on freedom of expression, or comes from the dismantling of stiffing beauty standards. I think that it’s essential that people know that they should always have the right to choose and define their own image, but it was highlighted really well in this article that it may not be a personal choice for everyone, but rather a feeling of obligation to make their features align with current and widespread beauty trends. This is a very important balance because the freedom to express one’s self is essential, but that freedom is being infringed on when numerous women are coming to the conclusion that they have to alter their appearance in precise ways, specifically in ways that resemble other ethnicities, in order to fit in and feel beautiful.

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Chinese Perceptions of Beauty