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Old 18th September 2006   #1
Kaitlynn
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Default Thinness ''against human nature,'' say Chinese

I just came across one of the most resolutely size-positive articles I've read in a long time, and it comes (of all places) from a Chinese media source. The article unambiguously denouces women's drive for thinness, pointing out that it is "against human nature." It firmly states that men prefer plus-size women. And it even states that clothes look better on fuller figures!

As one might expect from a country that has endured half a century of Marxist brainwashing, the article links body types to materialist concepts ("prosperity"). But the very concept of human nature is an essentialist notion, which is antithetical to communism, so this article reflects a healthy change of attitudes in more ways than one.

The link is here:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/lifest...tent_691473.htm

But I'll post the relevant text below.

................
China's slim fashion may [be] against human nature

(chinanews.cn)


Updated: 2006-09-18 15:47

The latest China Newsweek carried an article about women and beauty. It says that in essence, men like women to have a full and round figure. However, currently, many Chinese women try hard to be slim, which might be against human nature.

For most Chinese women, their idols might be Maggie or Fare Wong. Men, however, say the two are just so-so, because they are too slim. If a man wants to embrace a woman, that woman must be voluptuous, not bony like a withered flower.

However, it appears that most women, before they really know men, stick to going on a diet. When they finally find their true love, they suddenly realize that they should be a little bit more [plump] than they used to be.

A happy woman must also be a voluptuous woman, or she can't win the favor of her man. It appears that a woman is more sexual than a girl, because she is not that thin.

In addition, a soft curved body reflects the prosperity of the current society. Only a woman with a strong body can wear those splendid clothes, or she can not properly demonstrate the rich and magnificent feature of the clothes. In the Tang Dynasty, Emperor Tang Xuanzong had two beautiful concubines. One was Yang Yuhuan, who was plump, and the other was Zhao Feiyan, a skinny woman. For most men, they would prefer Yang...

Currently in China, many women follow the slim fashion, trying hard to look thin. This does not fit with the current society characterized by prosperity. In the 1920s, many women in Europe once regarded slimming as a beauty, and they even tried to have a plain breast. However, such fashion [is] gone. As China is on its way to become a more prosperous country, Chinese women should also change their aesthetic value[s]. This is good for them, for men and for society as well.

Last edited by HSG : 7th December 2006 at 03:47. Reason: Slight textual edit
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Old 18th September 2006   #2
HSG
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Default Re: Thinness ''against human nature,'' say Chinese


The article is commendably assertive in its tone. It comprises an unapologetic and unconditional celebration of timeless beauty, and it effectively establishes the grounds for the aesthetic superiority of full-figured femininity. The observation that having women appreciate a "soft curved body" over a thin one is "good for them, for men and for society as well" is particularly insightful, as it situations this issue within a broader cultural context.

The somewhat reductive, materialistic notions in the article are perhaps to be expected, considering recent Chinese political history. However, what the writer fails to realize is that the unshakable human preference for womanly fullness actually represents the triumph of essentialism, of "human nature," over cultural materialism. A half-century of attempts to turn women into androgynous worker-drones in China has failed to alter the fact that "men like women to have a full and round figure."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaitlynn
"If a man wants to embrace a woman, that woman must be voluptuous, not bony like a withered flower."
This flower metaphor from the article is wittily expressed, and it is also remarkably apt. The flower's yearning for the sun is precisely analogous to the feminine craving for food. Just as a flower turns in the direction of the sun, and even reaches toward it, eagerly seeking to collect as much sunlight for itself as possible, in order to bloom more fully, so the female figure instinctively craves abundant nourishment, in order to develop a richer, more luscious appearance--to literally augment its own beauty.

Christina Schmidt in full bloom; newly-released photograph from her recent test shoot with Fadil Berisha:

- Click here for larger version

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Old 20th September 2006   #3
MelanieW
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Default Re: Thinness ''against human nature,'' say Chinese

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaitlynn
it appears that most women, before they really know men, stick to going on a diet. When they finally find their true love, they suddenly realize that they should be a little bit more [plump] than they used to be.

That quotation from the article really stood out to me. It reminded me of a story about Delta Burke that I read a long time ago. I found it online:

http://www.radiancemagazine.com/issues/1997/delta.html

In this excerpt, Delta talks about her feelings toward her "true love", Gerald MacRaney - particularly with respect to her becoming curvier:
"He's just a wonderful acting partner. You feel very safe with him."

Feeling safe has been one of the foundations of the couple's relationship, particularly when Burke began to gain weight. "It didn't matter to him. I put the weight on after we were together. I put on about 20 pounds when we got married, and people were flipping their lids. And then I put on more after that, and I've gone up and down since then. Actually, I think it's interesting that when I put the weight on, I was already with him. I don't know, maybe I felt safe. And he likes me like this."

Ive always loved that phrase, "maybe I felt safe." Until now, I took it to mean that she finally felt safe to stop denying herself, safe to eat whatever she wanted, and as much as she wanted.

But if the writer of the Chinese article is right, maybe there is another side to it. Maybe she also intuitively realized that he actually adored her even more as she became more womanly.

If that is the case, then her figure-enhancement was partly because she finally felt free to satisfy her wants, and partly because she subconsciously realized that indulging, rather than starving, would actually make her more attractive.

If only more women would come to this realization earlier in life, they would spare themselves a lot of senseless suffering.
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Old 21st September 2006   #4
Emeraldgems
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Default Re: Thinness ''against human nature,'' say Chinese

I'm really grateful for reading something like this, especially since it comes from an east Asian country. Being adopted from Thailand, I struggle to convince people, both Asian and non-Asians, that the skinny ideal often upheld in those countries is neither the norm for Asian women, nor is it common.

I know that people often assume that Asian women are naturally skinny, curveless, and bustless, but that is simply not true! I am not, and neither are most Asian women over 25, unless they are so poor that they can't help it, or unless they are metropolitan, and brainwashed by fashion "standards." I read elsewhere that C-and D-cup bras are selling like hot bread in countries like China.
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Old 30th September 2006   #5
Emily
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Default Re: Thinness ''against human nature,'' say Chinese

An article in yesterday's International Herald Tribune indicates that the opinions expressed in the first Chinese article in this thread are not isolated, but reflect growing public sentiment in that nation:

http://www.iht.com/bin/print_ipub.p...ts/Rbeijing.php

As the article suggests, China may well be seeing the rise of its own "Torrid generation":
Ada Dong, 27, remembers a time when having a curvaceous figure was unfashionable. As a teenager in the 1990s, she recalls seeing full-figured classmates hunch their shoulders in an attempt "to hide their big boobs," she said..."But now, people think, 'I'm proud of that! The bigger the better!'"

I found it especially interesting, however, because it identifies the political source of the androgynous ideal:
Audrey Ma, editorial director of Madame Figaro, one of China's leading fashion magazines, agreed: "Today's young women have a new attitude. They've realized they are different from their mother's generation. Their feminine side is coming out."...

In the 1960s and '70s, communist ideals encouraged men and women to dress alike, as equals, said Ma, the fashion editor. As attitudes changed, she continued, "people realized that men and women were equally powerful, but different creatures." Although Chinese women were traditionally seen as shy and prim, Ma dismisses that perception as a Western cliché. "In reality, women simply realized they don't have to dress like men. They can show off their female figure."

I think is is an incredibly important point, and it also helps understand why the androgynous ideal was imposed here in the West, as well. The West may not have endured communist regimes, but in Hollywood, and in the world of fashion, many directors, designers, etc. have long had deep-rooted communist sympathies, starting in the 1920s. The andorgynous standard that they created was a consequence of their political leanings. It was an attempt to overthrow the past (in particular, the aesthetic ideals of the past) and to replace those natural ideals by imposing artificial, ideological standards in their place. Since their leftist ideology maintained that men and women were identical, they needed to artificially create a culture that would reflect this myth, by erasing the biological evidence that contradicted their beliefs.

It's encouraging to see that as the communist system weakens in China, femininity, and the fuller female figure, are making a comeback. I hope we experience a similar restoration of natural ideals in the West.
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