10   +   5   =  

Influencer Scarlett Hao is an ambassador for the curvy Asian woman active within the fashion industry. Operating under her personal brand name Scarlett Halo, plus size model Hao has over 160k followers on Instagram. With an on average engagement or 3k to 4k per post. Her first post on China’s Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) app recently raked in 4k likes within a matter of three hours. It’s the Business of Big Beautiful Branding. 

Influencer Scarlett Hao (@scarletthalo_) speaks up for that curvy Asian woman active within the fashion industry. Hao is the first curvy Chinese influencer and promotes a body positive attitude to women around the globe. Hao has thus far gained over 160k followers on Instagram, with an average engagement or 3k to 4k per post. High. End. Photography by @jchchechenchenchen. Image via Scarlett Hao (@scarletthalo_)

It’s your typically dreary yet by no means depressing New York fall afternoon. The leaves are falling, a sudden chill is in the air and everybody strutting around SOHO seems to have huddled up inside the very same coffee bar where Chinese New Yorker Scarlett Hao and my Northern European self are meeting up for a little chit and ample chat.

Accompanied by a steaming red beet latte — red wine would have been preferred, were it not for the pre-4PM time of day — Hao indulges in her intense passion for spreading the body positive word. 

Hao not too long ago made a guest appearance on a primetime Chinese talk show when the host asked her, “Do you think you look good or fat?”

Instantly, this Beijing host’s choice of words summed up a cultural preference embedded in a society’s thinking and actual wording. “Fat” (胖 or pàng in Chinese) signifies “ugly” and being “thin” (瘦 or shòu) is a compliment.

Subsequently, the real question becomes… What does Hao have to say on the topics of cultural body image and influencing body positivity? 

Social Media As A Soft Power Tool

Hao shows up to our interview dressed in a lilac casszh sweater springing up like a jazzy flower from a sea of New York black sleek. This woman walks the branding walk and, taking into account her rapid yet solid rise on the influencer | Key Opinion Leader track, talks the talk. Hao is a prime example of social media changing the dynamics of not just purchasing power, but also soft power around the world.

Hao in 2015 founded her personal brand Scarlett Halo, to share her fashion style and body positive messages. Scarlett inspired women all over the world to be confident, stylish and love themselves. Her goal is to speak up for that curvy Asian woman operating within the fashion industry — #Asiangotcurves. The Scarlett Halo brand spreads a mentally body positive attitude to women in all four corners of the globe. 

Hao’s quest for universal body acceptance and positivity has thus far been documented by major fashion publications including the likes of Nylon, Allure, Refinery29 and Glamour. 

Consequently, Hao has on occasion teamed up with Macy’s, ModCloth, Asos, Brook Brothers and Lancôme.  In true Sunzi strategizing style, she uses their brand power and all-inclusive platforms to further establish her own trademark. It is, after all, like gaining access to the world’s biggest megaphone. 

Social media as a soft power tool, according to American political scientist and pioneer in the field of soft power theory Joseph S. Nye, Jr., “arises from a country’s culture, political ideals and policies”. This contemporary new media enables users to get what they want through attraction rather than coercion or payment. Ergo…

The effectiveness of Instagram with reference to content sharing and influence inspiring action, looking at the success of the Scarlett Halo brand in terms of following and engagement in particular, demonstrates just how social media is among the most important components of current discussions on social issues. Themes such as body shaming, body image and body acceptance | positivity therefore are prime cases in point.

Hao’s first post on China’s Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) app recently raked in 4k likes within a matter of hours. Hao is seen here on December 2, 2018, walking The Real Catwalk in New York City.  The Real Catwalk is an annual body positive celebration of all genders, backgrounds, sizes and shapes — i.e. people.

The Coercive Power Of China’s Body Image 

Hao back in high school was one of those girls who develop early. She wasn’t immune for the teenage boobs joking about breasts and other curves and subsequently became very self-aware. There is, after all, no inoculation for the pestering pox. Nevertheless, Hao managed to turn her story from one of  negative awareness into a tale of positive branding. Not all of her peers have that stamina and character to defy and rise above newly installed cultural standards. Let alone to go on and define their own set of what they think constitutes sexual attractiveness — i.e. body positive self- empowerment.

Concerning that perception of body image and subsequent pressure to be thin among China’s urban twenty- and thirty-somethings, one or two concerns remain. 

Urban China’s New Ideals Of Sexual Attractiveness

The obsession with physical appearances can lead to the phenomenon that is “beauty sickness”.  Renee Engeln, author of  “Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women”, highlights how the average first-world urban woman owns some 40 cosmetic products and spends about 55 minutes getting ready every day. Beauty sickness can also lead to eating disorders, depression and the desire to go under the knife.

With China’s opening its doors to the West in the 1980s, mass media and commercials diffused new ideals of sexual attractiveness. Sex and sexual beauty went from taboo topics to central features in urban public culture (Farrer, 2002*). As was the case in many other Asian countries, reports of eating disorders began to rise in both China and Hong Kong. 

The thin ideal has now spread to urban China. The social emphasis on feminine physical attractiveness alone has the power to elevate body image concerns for women. What’s more, women undergoing major social change may choose to control their bodies in an effort to fit into a new elite subgroup of upwardly mobile professionals.

China’s social media, Hao reminds us, too, is at scorchingly stigmatizing fault in this respect. 

 

A Digitally Ideal Or Ideally Digital Body Image?

Chinese social media so-called weight loss challenges “inspire” young female Chinese millennials to “monitor” their weight. That’s a whole lot of air quotation marks, right there. Hao shares a top three Sina Weibo (Weibo aka China’s Twitter equivalent) “body shaming” throwbacks (2015-2017):

Weibo trend #1: Collarbone coins

In order to demonstrate their skinny figures, young Chinese females were posting selfies with stacks of coins standing upright on their collarbones. Some people were able to balance as many as 20 coins on a collarbone. An egg was considered an acceptable substitute for the rolls and rows of coins.

Weibo trend #2: The A4 waist 

This “challenge” saw women sharing pictures of themselves on the social media platform whilst holding a piece of A4 printer paper in front of their waistlines. The ability to completely hide their waist behind the sheet of paper proved the sign of tested success. The width of A4 paper is 21 cm meaning that the pos(t)er’s waist had to be no bigger than 25 inches.

China’s social media  body testing craze all began with the Belly Button Challenge. This fad encouraged people to wrap their arm around their back to touch their belly button, falsely asserting that this achievement proved that you were fit and healthy. 

Weibo trend #3: The iPhone 6 knees 

Last but not least on this top three viral Weibo body testing trends was about being able to hide both knees underneath an iPhone 6 (15.8 cm in height) “strategically” placed on top of the kneecaps. This trend was all about promoting pencil-skinny legs. The “iPhone 6 legs” fad accumulated over 90 million views and 80,000 comments on the social media platform.

 

Taking the digitally ideal of beauty one step further, we find long-legged Shudu: The world’s first digitally doctored “supermodel”.  Shudu is in fact an image created using the 3D image rendering software programme DAZ3D.  How this new digital image will affect the perception of beauty among actual living flesh and blood women from one cultural beauty ideal to the next remains to be seen.  Hao, for one, will not be coerced and leads by non-impressed example.

Influencer Scarlett Hao (@scarletthalo_) speaks up for that curvy Asian woman active within the fashion industry. Hao is the first curvy Chinese influencer and promotes a body positive attitude to women around the globe. Hao has thus far gained over 160k followers on Instagram, with an average engagement or 3k to 4k per post. High. End. Photography by @jchchechenchenchen. Image via Scarlett Hao (@scarletthalo_)

You Are Your Own Super Power Brand

Mistress of her fate, Hao is a proponent of putting all things body-related in healthy order. Mentally, physically and then universally so. 

Hao with her Scarlett Halo brand advocates for a new presentation of the Asian female to the West. Her outspoken brand revelation chooses to cast aside the stereotypical image of the thin (Chinese) woman and break with cultural tradition, making room for new actual data and literal portrayals of diversified female beauty. After all, what constitutes “normal” anymore?

With China’s first- and second-tier urban development plus the increased media exposure to Western brands, from fashion to food chain, come new eating patterns. The nation’s environment and eating habits are changing and in turn produce new lifestyle data and body-related statistics. Ergo, diversity is the new normal. 

Hao herself has always found herself of the slightly bigger end of the size tagging. This has in the past lead to crash dieting and a rigorously restricted food intake. No matter how few braised beef slices or crushed garlic-y cucumber squares she ate, 10 kg down the line… The curves were still there. Enough, she said. 

The time had come for a complete overhaul; taking the negative thoughts and turning them into positive assets of self-empowerment. Hao embraced her looks, from head to toe, backed up by a little Chinese cultural fact we like to call “the woman rules the roost”.

Contrary to popular belief, a stereotype strengthened by the fact that China’s female celebrities seldom or never speak in public, the China Woman is by no means repressed. Not speaking publicly is merely a sign of elegance, but there where the real power lies — i.e. the home — the women of China have the last word. As does Hao.

So in reply to that one earlier mentioned Beijing host’s question: Scarlett Hao looks bold. And beautiful.

 

 

Hao balances the line. The line between East and West. The line between the largest “normal” size and the smallest plus size. The line between strictly business influencer and bodily morale booster. With “empowerment” always the red wire.

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. There is no need to toe society’s line. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Farren (2002) retrieved from Ye Luo, William L. Parish, Edward O. Laumann. A population-based study of body image concerns among urban Chinese adults, 334-335. Population Research Center, University of Chicago/National Opinion Research Center, 2006.
Featured Image: Photography by @jchchechenchenchen. Image via Scarlett Hao (@scarletthalo_)
Get in touch with Scarlett Hao via:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Spotted a fashion fail or have something to add? Please let us know in the comment section below or email us at info@temper-magazine.com
Copyright@Temper Magazine, 2018. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce Temper Magazine content without consent -– you can contact us at info@temper-magazine.com

 

Social Media As A Soft Power Tool

Hao shows up to our interview dressed in a lilac casszh sweater springing up like a jazzy flower from a sea of New York black sleek. This woman walks the branding walk and, taking into account her rapid yet solid rise on the influencer | Key Opinion Leader track, talks the talk. Hao is a prime example of social media changing the dynamics of not just purchasing power, but also soft power around the world.

Hao in 2015 founded her personal brand Scarlett Halo, to share her fashion style and body positive messages. Scarlett inspired women all over the world to be confident, stylish and love themselves. Her goal is to speak up for that curvy Asian woman operating within the fashion industry — #Asiangotcurves. The Scarlett Halo brand spreads a mentally body positive attitude to women in all four corners of the globe. 

Hao’s quest for universal body acceptance and positivity has thus far been documented by major fashion publications including the likes of Nylon, Allure, Refinery29 and Glamour. 

Consequently, Hao has on occasion teamed up with Macy’s, ModCloth, Asos, Brook Brothers and Lancôme.  In true Sunzi strategizing style, she uses their brand power and all-inclusive platforms to further establish her own trademark. It is, after all, like gaining access to the world’s biggest megaphone. 

Social media as a soft power tool, according to American political scientist and pioneer in the field of soft power theory Joseph S. Nye, Jr., “arises from a country’s culture, political ideals and policies”. This contemporary new media enables users to get what they want through attraction rather than coercion or payment. Ergo…

The effectiveness of Instagram with reference to content sharing and influence inspiring action, looking at the success of the Scarlett Halo brand in terms of following and engagement in particular, demonstrates just how social media is among the most important components of current discussions on social issues. Themes such as body shaming, body image and body acceptance | positivity therefore are prime cases in point.

Hao’s first post on China’s Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) app recently raked in 4k likes within a matter of hours. Hao is seen here on December 2, 2018, walking The Real Catwalk in New York City.  The Real Catwalk is an annual body positive celebration of all genders, backgrounds, sizes and shapes — i.e. people.

The Coercive Power Of China’s Body Image 

Hao back in high school was one of those girls who develop early. She wasn’t immune for the teenage boobs joking about breasts and other curves and subsequently became very self-aware. There is, after all, no inoculation for the pestering pox. Nevertheless, Hao managed to turn her story from one of  negative awareness into a tale of positive branding. Not all of her peers have that stamina and character to defy and rise above newly installed cultural standards. Let alone to go on and define their own set of what they think constitutes sexual attractiveness — i.e. body positive self- empowerment.

Concerning that perception of body image and subsequent pressure to be thin among China’s urban twenty- and thirty-somethings, one or two concerns remain. 

Urban China’s New Ideals Of Sexual Attractiveness

The obsession with physical appearances can lead to the phenomenon that is “beauty sickness”.  Renee Engeln, author of  “Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women”, highlights how the average first-world urban woman owns some 40 cosmetic products and spends about 55 minutes getting ready every day. Beauty sickness can also lead to eating disorders, depression and the desire to go under the knife.

With China’s opening its doors to the West in the 1980s, mass media and commercials diffused new ideals of sexual attractiveness. Sex and sexual beauty went from taboo topics to central features in urban public culture (Farrer, 2002*). As was the case in many other Asian countries, reports of eating disorders began to rise in both China and Hong Kong. 

The thin ideal has now spread to urban China. The social emphasis on feminine physical attractiveness alone has the power to elevate body image concerns for women. What’s more, women undergoing major social change may choose to control their bodies in an effort to fit into a new elite subgroup of upwardly mobile professionals.

China’s social media, Hao reminds us, too, is at scorchingly stigmatizing fault in this respect. 

 

A Digitally Ideal Or Ideally Digital Body Image?

Chinese social media so-called weight loss challenges “inspire” young female Chinese millennials to “monitor” their weight. That’s a whole lot of air quotation marks, right there. Hao shares a top three Sina Weibo (Weibo aka China’s Twitter equivalent) “body shaming” throwbacks (2015-2017):

Weibo trend #1: Collarbone coins

In order to demonstrate their skinny figures, young Chinese females were posting selfies with stacks of coins standing upright on their collarbones. Some people were able to balance as many as 20 coins on a collarbone. An egg was considered an acceptable substitute for the rolls and rows of coins.

Weibo trend #2: The A4 waist 

This “challenge” saw women sharing pictures of themselves on the social media platform whilst holding a piece of A4 printer paper in front of their waistlines. The ability to completely hide their waist behind the sheet of paper proved the sign of tested success. The width of A4 paper is 21 cm meaning that the pos(t)er’s waist had to be no bigger than 25 inches.

China’s social media  body testing craze all began with the Belly Button Challenge. This fad encouraged people to wrap their arm around their back to touch their belly button, falsely asserting that this achievement proved that you were fit and healthy. 

Weibo trend #3: The iPhone 6 knees 

Last but not least on this top three viral Weibo body testing trends was about being able to hide both knees underneath an iPhone 6 (15.8 cm in height) “strategically” placed on top of the kneecaps. This trend was all about promoting pencil-skinny legs. The “iPhone 6 legs” fad accumulated over 90 million views and 80,000 comments on the social media platform.

 

Taking the digitally ideal of beauty one step further, we find long-legged Shudu: The world’s first digitally doctored “supermodel”.  Shudu is in fact an image created using the 3D image rendering software programme DAZ3D.  How this new digital image will affect the perception of beauty among actual living flesh and blood women from one cultural beauty ideal to the next remains to be seen.  Hao, for one, will not be coerced and leads by non-impressed example.

Influencer Scarlett Hao (@scarletthalo_) speaks up for that curvy Asian woman active within the fashion industry. Hao is the first curvy Chinese influencer and promotes a body positive attitude to women around the globe. Hao has thus far gained over 160k followers on Instagram, with an average engagement or 3k to 4k per post. High. End. Photography by @jchchechenchenchen. Image via Scarlett Hao (@scarletthalo_)

You Are Your Own Super Power Brand

Mistress of her fate, Hao is a proponent of putting all things body-related in healthy order. Mentally, physically and then universally so. 

Hao with her Scarlett Halo brand advocates for a new presentation of the Asian female to the West. Her outspoken brand revelation chooses to cast aside the stereotypical image of the thin (Chinese) woman and break with cultural tradition, making room for new actual data and literal portrayals of diversified female beauty. After all, what constitutes “normal” anymore?

With China’s first- and second-tier urban development plus the increased media exposure to Western brands, from fashion to food chain, come new eating patterns. The nation’s environment and eating habits are changing and in turn produce new lifestyle data and body-related statistics. Ergo, diversity is the new normal. 

Hao herself has always found herself of the slightly bigger end of the size tagging. This has in the past lead to crash dieting and a rigorously restricted food intake. No matter how few braised beef slices or crushed garlic-y cucumber squares she ate, 10 kg down the line… The curves were still there. Enough, she said. 

The time had come for a complete overhaul; taking the negative thoughts and turning them into positive assets of self-empowerment. Hao embraced her looks, from head to toe, backed up by a little Chinese cultural fact we like to call “the woman rules the roost”.

Contrary to popular belief, a stereotype strengthened by the fact that China’s female celebrities seldom or never speak in public, the China Woman is by no means repressed. Not speaking publicly is merely a sign of elegance, but there where the real power lies — i.e. the home — the women of China have the last word. As does Hao.

So in reply to that one earlier mentioned Beijing host’s question: Scarlett Hao looks bold. And beautiful.

 

 

Hao balances the line. The line between East and West. The line between the largest “normal” size and the smallest plus size. The line between strictly business influencer and bodily morale booster. With “empowerment” always the red wire.

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. There is no need to toe society’s line. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Farren (2002) retrieved from Ye Luo, William L. Parish, Edward O. Laumann. A population-based study of body image concerns among urban Chinese adults, 334-335. Population Research Center, University of Chicago/National Opinion Research Center, 2006.
Featured Image: Photography by @jchchechenchenchen. Image via Scarlett Hao (@scarletthalo_)
Get in touch with Scarlett Hao via:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Spotted a fashion fail or have something to add? Please let us know in the comment section below or email us at info@temper-magazine.com
Copyright@Temper Magazine, 2018. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce Temper Magazine content without consent -– you can contact us at info@temper-magazine.com

 

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Elsbeth van Paridon

China Fashion, Design and Urban Culture Groupie, Editor-in-Chief at Temper Magazine
Temper Magazine Founder and Editor-in-Chief Elsbeth van Paridon holds a degree in Sinology from the University of Leiden (Netherlands) and additionally is just another run-of-the-mill fashion aficionada.

After tackling Beijing for some six years where she worked for China International Publishing Group, she spent a moment in time moseying down steep alleyways and writing about their fashionable and underground features in Hong Kong.

Van Paridon most recently managed to claw her way through a Europe-based academic endeavor called "Journalism". 'Tis in such fashion that she has now turned her lust for China Fashion/ Lifestyle and Underground into a full time occupation.

Van Paridon hunts down the latest in Chinese menswear, women’s clothing, designer newbies, established names, changes in the nation’s street scenery, close-ups of particular trends presently at play or of historical socio-cultural value in Chinaplus a selection of budding photographers.

Paired with a deep devotion to China’s urban underground scene, van Paridon holds a particular interest in the topics of androgyny, the exploration of individuality and the power that is the Key Opinion Leader (the local term for “influencers”) in contemporary China.
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