Beauty & Young Love… with Chinese characteristics (Updated)

From my desk-top at a fantastic history lecture by Tim yesterday morning:

It says, in white-out: “Liú Zhōu-chéng [hearts] Guō Jìng-míng.” (Awww…)

Beauty… with Chinese characteristics
Ha, I’m really going overboard with that phrase. There’s not been much to report lately, since other than go to class and study and practice we don’t do much… not that that bothers me. Funny episode in class this week, though: After seeing photos from my glory days, my teacher thanked me emphatically in class for cutting my hair and shaving my beard. She just can’t believe that anyone would actually choose to look like that, and finds it even harder to believe that Jessica liked it. I asked her why, and took the opportunity to ask what the deal was with Chinese people’s obsession with white skin, and she said white seems clean, and darker skin or facial hair looks dirty. Scruff is out. If you didn’t already know, in China it’s the whiter and cleaner the better. No cowboys, and forget playoff beards. Our friends even saw armpit whitening cream in the store the other day. We’ve seen whitening products for body parts I won’t mention here; just take our word for it that in China, white is beautiful.

[Edited to add…]
I just found a description of the apparent “enduring beauty standard” of the Chinese on, thanks to The Journal of Intercultural Learning. Both links have the article’s full-text, and it’s a nice introduction to general traditional Chinese perceptions of feminine beauty, sans reference to feet. But what’s weird is that it gives the impression of describing present day China, as if this traditional perception of feminine beauty still dominates:

…a rosy plump oval face, new-moon-shaped eyebrows, delicate and soft limbs and fingers, and fine porcelain skin. More than skin deep, a Chinese beauty should also have good manners, temperament, tastes, and style of conversation.

Perhaps it still does – most of the teachers at our school seem to be aiming for that standard, actually – but as the Journal points out,

We find the article very interesting, but one might come across very different views when you ask the younger generations, particularly those who were born after the opening-up, i.e. the-post-80s-generation.

Either way, it’s a short article worth the read. I’d be curious to know how the different generations of today’s China feel about it.

I also found it interesting that an article on ‘the’ Chinese perception of beauty, which completely avoids anything negative and upholds a traditional emphasis on feminine morality, happens to come from China’s Ministry of Culture.

8 thoughts on “Beauty & Young Love… with Chinese characteristics (Updated)”

  1. Yeah, I go looking for body cream to keep my skin moist, and all I can find is stuff that would almost make this white boy disappear.

  2. You mean, “具有中国特色的社会主义”? (“具有中国特色的…”)? It’s in the sidebar already, btw.

    There are other ways to express the English phrase, but I’ve only come across one alternative to 具有中国特色的 so far… but I forget what it was. Googling “具有中国特色的” was interesting.

  3. Sometimes we google Chinese phrases just to see if the phrase in question is actually in use, or when we can’t find it in the dictionaries. Albert explains it here (scroll down to “Verify your results”).

    And if you add this to your Firefox, then you can mouseover characters and see a popup translation (after it’s installed, right-click on the navigation toolbar, click Customize, and drag/drop the translator’s on/off button to the toolbar).

    But the next post is about that phrase as how it’s used today anyway. Maybe tonight I’ll post it.

  4. Ah. I originally left the hanzi out because I couldn’t find the one for Guō, but it’s 刘洲成 hearts 郭敬明。I just had someone check – but she couldn’t tell which was the guy and which one was the girl, though.

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