BEAUTY IN CHINA. LESSONS.
All cultures have their own standards but selfies are selfies and a beauty is a beauty. From China to Panama since the word “selfie” belongs to the dictionary we know a good angle, a good light, and a good aesthetic is everything.
But, what constitutes beauty?
Honestly, since I live in China I appreciate more my body, my mind, and my attitude. I feel safe and good going out without makeup, only wearing lipstick and only being dedicated on a religious way to care my skin, like, all my body skin. I can say I have learned to appreciate other things far more than the size of my body parts. Which honestly I work a lot at the gym. So maybe, we think our western beauty standards are worldwide famous, but they are not. Here is why.
On Chinese social media, you don’t find contouring, highlighters or pronounced brows, in China pale skin, big eyes and rose lips are the thing. Chinese girls like to take photos on angles that slim their faces, always influenced by Japan and South Korea, famous for the innocent looking and slim body.
Western girls love to be tanned, Asian girls prefer white skin.
Chinese beauty ideals basically come from the media: TV shows, celebrities. A lot of Chinese beauty ideals are quite Western.
In China is the concept of baifumei: pale, rich and beautiful. A representation of this is the actress Fan Bingbing, which I can relate to as the local Kim Kardashian. BingBing is adored and emulated for her translucent white skin, large eyes and “melon seed” or oval face shape.
The preference for white skin dates back 2,000 years to the Han Dynasty but has become acuter in the age of social media and a booming beauty industry. Whitening products account for 70% of online searches for cosmetics in China, according to search giant Baidu. Compare that to 52% rise in searches for contouring in the United States.
In China, Korea, Japan, India, and Thailand, countries that have set a great deal of stock in siloing their people by class, skin color created firm lines of division between the wealthy and the poor. The paler you were on ancient times, the more obvious it was that you spent your life coddled inside, away from the harsh sun and hard labor in the fields under it. Paleness was a mark of prestige, a signifier that you were “kept.”
These are generalizations are centuries old and should be outdated. But according to cosmetics trade reporter Andrew McDougall, the desire for white skin has simply evolved. Because the first sign of aging on Asian skin is pigmentation, not wrinkles so skin whiteners are not products to make people look Caucasian but rather to hide aging.
For the summertime, we love skin. A LOT OF IT AND DARK. But in Chinese social media, big eyes, bunny face and cute things are the trends for all ages. Asian girls like and want to be cute, this is not offensive, being cute is never something controversial while being too sexy can be it.
The coral lipstick is also one of the common things I have seen in China, meanwhile, in Western countries, girls try hard the filling of lips looking like Kylie Jenner, Chinese girls look more for less makeup and just pale skin with big eyes. Being white is really important.
One Chinese guide to taking selfies says “innocent and cute” photos will always prove the most popular and are also easy to take. That means less vamping and less makeup aimed at overt sexiness. While girls all over the Western world might have been sucking on bottle caps last year to get Kylie Jenner’s lips, women in China are more likely to underplay this feature, using lighter or coral lipsticks.
Asian girls like and want to be cute, this is not offensive, being cute is never something controversial.
In China, is all the opposite. Media is filled with skinny girls, selfies with bigger eyes, a lot of “who is skinnier than who” kind of. Another detail is that we get immerse in the “fit culture” like, if we go to the gym in Western Culture, we have to show the gains. But in Asia is more like “a girl needs to be thin. Period”.
Going down to the “selfie” culture, there is really high tech in Asia to edit your selfie. Magic apps for your phone. Meanwhile back home we are “make up ready” in Asia we are more “digital ready”. Our culture of contouring, strobing and highlighting are not streamed in China.
Women in Asia wear much less makeup than in America, even if the beauty industry is growing, adding that is not necessary if an App can do it for you. The most famous one in China is Meitu Xiuxiu allows you to whiten your skin, slim your face and make your eyes impossibly huge. Just like Facetune that focuses on whitening your teeth, smoothing out skin and applying more makeup really known thanks to Tyra Banks.
In Asia is more like “a girl needs to be thin. Period.”
Social media always plays a good part in how we see each other, nowadays there are millions of women experiencing significant eating disorder and depression for how they look like. Lately, the belfies culture is giving more inclusivity to plus size girls, mixed with a lot of celebrities in all ranges and industries promoting bigger size bodies and different standards. But at the end of the day, our virtual profiles are hanging in there, being influenced by fitness inspiration, amazing pictures on bikinis and a glorification of tight legs.
This is sometimes funny to me how also we love the culture of Brown, yeah. Taking sun on our vacation as a child was the best, and our mom was so uncool if she came to put a protector on us. Because the more sun you had and the darker you came back to school meant you had more fun, also a social belief of how had more than who. But this is nothing mere than a cultural context, a cultural ideal we got shaped in since we are kids.
In my personal experience, either white, grown, Australian gold or yellow. All culture standards should be respected and more important, each woman should use what makes her feel good, empowered and owned by herself. Whiter or Darker the cultural background of our culture and the strong influence of our social media channels can shape good and bad upon us. Is a personal matter to appreciate, compare and take what is best for each one of us.