Social media in general is one big Bonfire of the Vanities; no complaints here. China is no exception to this 21st Century rule. The West may not have the access to/ knowhow of China’s very own social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been banished from most devices a long, long time ago), but we are not talking about The Emperor’s New Clothes here.
They exist. I seldom find myself immersed in this online madness, I leave that to others, but a quick beauty trolling spell across the immensely popular Chinese WeChat and Weibo platforms quickly rewards us with the trending topic of #putting on makeup [by yourself] for the very first time# (#第一次化妆#). Has a high-pitched Madonna ring to it, don’t you think? Mascara gone spiderweb, eyeliner gone wild, Snow White red pout gone circus clown act… We’ve all been there. Yet, these entertaining pictures were neither the point nor the real eye-catcher.
The overly beauty-apped and “innocent” Lolita selfie look only reinforces that relentlessly ruling China baifumei (白富美, fair-skinned, rich and pretty) beauty ideal.
Fan captioned the snapshot of herself and actor fiancé Li Chen (李辰): “School beauty and…?”, with Li handing out a Young Pioneer (少先队, “The Young Pioneers” of China is a mass youth organization for children aged six to 14) salute. Social media followers were left to fill in the blanks, with replies varying from “bodyguard” to “school grass” (which stands in stark contrast to “school beauty”) to “beast”– it appears some Disney movies are cross-cultural.
Props to the couple for giving a supportive social shootout to all those kids taking those all-consuming gaokao (高考, China’s national college entrance exams) on June 7 and 8. Nevertheless…
Given this blog raves on about the new and redefined “Made In China” label, this particular Maria-without-seven-blonde-Von-Trapps high-school summer pinafore was slightly startling. And a lapel-grabbing one. A woman who is continuously hailed as “The Great Beauty and Style Beacon” in all of China, and has legions of adoring mini-me minions, could bring some better and more realistic style to her Weibo plate. This overly bleached-skinned and “innocent” Lolita look only reinforces that relentlessly ruling China baifumei (白富美: fair-skinned, rich and pretty) beauty ideal. The mini-mes likey…
Eternal youth, endless love; I’m a fan. Yet, Fan (Bingbing), for the love of fashion and that redefined “Made In China” label… No more sugarcane schoolgirl uniforms after 18 and no more smog-thick mobile beauty filter apps. Nobody cares if there’s a makeup flaw or two in there. You’ll just get another trending hashtag.