双语阅读 | 中国单一的审美标准

双语阅读 | 中国单一的审美标准
较难 3630

Singular Definition of Beauty in China

Singular Definition of Beauty in China



王淑怡 供稿


Recently, the fashion retailer Zara sparked widespread debate in China by featuring a freckled model in a campaign for a new range of cosmetics. Some social media users slammed the Spanish brand for "uglifying" Chinese women. Others accused Zara of misrepresenting Asians -- and even of outright racism. A hashtag for the incident on Weibo, China's Twitter-like microblogging site, had appeared in more than 55,000 Weibo posts and has now been viewed more than 500 million times.




What's ironic is that, while many people are easily irritated by Western standards being "forced" on China, they despise some of the physical features -- such as small eyes and brown skin -- that belong naturally to many East Asians.




The mainstream beauty standard in China is one of a fair and freckle-free face, big eyes and high nose bridge. While some of these ideals, such as fair skin, have been popular among Han Chinese since ancient times, others, like large eyes and a high nasal bridge, are more commonly associated with Caucasian people. Yet, this beauty standard continues to prevail in the country. Advertisements for cosmetic products, from both domestic and international brands, boast of their ability to whiten skin and remove freckles. Even food and drink ads, for products like coconut juice, claim they can whiten skin.




In China, before posting photos on the social network, many women use photo beatification apps to smoothen and whiten their skin, and enlarge their eyes. It's also common for anxious young women to have their freckles removed by laser, or, going to more extreme lengths, surgically enlarging their eyes and shaving their facial bones. Fair, spotless skin is often associated with being elegant, pure and even healthy. Freckles, meanwhile, are denounced as dirty, ugly and a sign of ill-health.




The idea of having a single beauty standard is especially bizarre for a country as diverse as China. With 56 officially recognized ethnic groups, beauty here is rich and varied. While Han people often adore angelic, freckle-free faces, other ethnic minority groups, such as the Dulong people of Yunnan province, traditionally prefer dark skin and even face tattoos. And while Han culture often sees pale and weak-looking women to be beautiful, women in Inner Mongolia are considered attractive if they're good at riding horses.




Thankfully, the strict definition of beauty is slowly loosening. Take singer Wang Ju, who rose to prominence in the summer of 2018 through the competition, "Produce 101." She is neither fair nor tall, but Wang took the country by storm, proving to be independent, confident and, to many, beautiful.




Hopefully Zara's campaign -- and the debate it stirred -- can help change stereotypes toward women’s appearances. And, in time, I believe more Chinese women can learn to love themselves, regardless of whether they meet conventional standards of beauty.







1. freckle n. 雀斑

2. hashtag n. 话题标签

3. slam v. 猛烈抨击

4. misrepresent v. 误传;不实报道;歪曲

5. racism n. 种族主义

6. nasal bridge 鼻梁

7. spotless adj. 没有污点的;一尘不染的

8. bizarre adj. 怪异的

9. Inner Mongolia 中国内蒙古

10. stereotype n. 模式化观念(或形象);老一套;刻板印象


  • 字数:565个
  • 易读度:较难
  • 来源:王淑怡 2020-11-30