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Year

9 Chinese Term 3 Cultural Project – 2017

Understanding Cultures: Chinese Beauty Standards


You’ve been recently hired as a head of marketing for an Australian company. However, you are still on
your probation period and it’s your time to shine.

This company already has a very successful business producing beauty products and clothes but they
want to expand. They are considering China and assigned you to investigate the market possibilities.

They requested you to research what features Chinese culture considers beautiful and why. You are also
required to find a male or female model to advertise the product in China. You need to complete the
following steps to successfully complete the assignment and gain full-time employment.

Checklist
Scroll down for detailed explanations and rubric.
Steps Description Booklet Teacher
Pages Sign
Step 1 Background Work 2-4
Read the article and complete 3 activities in Chinese/pinyin
Step 2 Research 5
Create a one-page report (500 or 750 words if working with a
partner). Pages or Word. Include pictures and Links. Answer 6
questions:
1. What are the current beauty standards in China?
Include at least 5 with explanations.
2. The origin of these standards and how they developed
in Ancient or Modern China.
3. Why do Chinese people believe these standards are
important?
4. How are they different to the beauty standards in
Australia or in your country?
5. Why do you think different cultures have different
beauty standards?
6. Do you think it is important to have beauty standards?
Why or why not?

Suggested resources on p.5. Find the rubric on p. 6
Step 3 Chinese models 5
Choose a Chinese male or female model. Explain how they
demonstrate the Chinese beauty standards (label or explain)
Step 4 Submit all Steps 1 to 3 on Compass by Sunday 13
Aug. Preferably as one document.
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Year 9 Chinese Term 3 Cultural Project – 2017

Step 1: Background Work


Read the article and complete 3 activities below.

Activity 1. Compare the beauty standards between China and Australia by completing the table below in
Chinese/Pinyin. Research two more beauty standards of your liking to complete the table

Standard Skin colour Lips Height Eyelid
Chinese zuǐ chún shēn gāo
definition
zhōng guó hòu shuāng
中国
ào dà lì yà Kā fēi sè gāo
澳大利亚

Activity 2. What is the Chinese phrase to describe an ideal female and ideal male?

zhōng guó Ideal female Ideal male
中国
Chinese Phrase (pinyin)
Meaning

Activity 3: Create a Chinese phrase to describe an ideal female and male based on "Australian standards"?

ào dà lì yà Ideal female Ideal male
澳大利亚
Chinese Phrase (pinyin)
Meaning

Chinese Standards of Beauty


Retrieved from: http://blog.tutorming.com/expats/chinese-standards-of-beauty

Take a walk down cosmetic aisles in China,
and you may be surprised at what you see.
Rows upon rows of “skin whitening serums.”
Pictures of young models with big doe-eyed
looks and dainty features are splashed across
every product. And unlike beauty products in
the U.S, cosmetics in China do not have to
cater to an extremely wide range of diverse
races and skin tones. The fact that beauty
ideals in China are vastly uniformed has
contributed to the limited range of products
that essentially do the same thing.
Let’s take a look at these standards of beauty.

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Year 9 Chinese Term 3 Cultural Project – 2017

WHITE SKIN

The same way many sunblocks contain self-
tanning agents, in China many contain
whiteners and skin brightening chemicals.
Parasols are ubiquitous in China, and some
people go as far as to wear special sun-
blocking “masks” when they go to the beach.
In fact, pale skin has become such a giant
trait of beauty that the phrase “白富美 (bái
fù měi) or “white, rich beautiful” is jokingly
used to describe the ideal Chinese woman.
For the past three or four years, it has
remained one of the most frequently used
cyber-words in China.

Where did this “whitening” beauty trend come from?

Back in ancient times, dark skin was associated with poverty. Those who had darker skin often did so because
they were working in the fields or rice plantations all day. In contrast, the upper class stayed indoors and in the
shade. How pale your skin was represented how rich you were. In those times, money was the main source of
attraction as it came with the promise of a better life.

In fact, Western standards of beauty once valued pale skin as well. The term “blue blood,” that is used to
describe royalty was coined because royals spent so little time in the sun that their blue-hued veins were visible
underneath their skin.

Similarly, tanned skin is valued in modern western culture because it suggests that you have more leisure time or
vacation time and thus, more wealth.

Products and procedures that contribute to the “whitening of the skin” is often referred to as “美白 (měi bái)” It
literally means “beautiful white.”

FULL LIPS

Way before the Kylie Jenner lip
obsession took over the Internet, the
Chinese were already placing a
higher value on fuller lips. Most
Chinese women are born with
decently sized lips (in relation to
their smaller face size), which
contributes to them looking young as
they age.

Have you heard of Chinese “face-
reading?” It’s quite similar to palm
reading, but instead is a way of
telling someone’s fortune through
their facial features. Fuller lips are
thought to bring in good luck and be
attributed to a fun-loving, warm, and
expressive personality. On the other hand, those with thin lips were thought to be colder, more determined, and
more calculating – qualities that are not usually considered attractive in women.
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Year 9 Chinese Term 3 Cultural Project – 2017

HEIGHT (IN MEN)


Just like the “ideal” woman is “白富美,” the
ideal male is “高富帅(gāo fù shuài.)” This
means “Tall, rich, and handsome” – not too
far off from the Western ideal of “tall, dark
and handsome.”

Not much can be found on the origin of why
height is a beauty ideal for Chinese men, but
many sources suggest that taller men were
thought to be stronger, and more capable of
protecting and taking care of their families,
which is why women found that more
attractive.

This is also a fairly universal standard of attractiveness.

LARGE EYES WITH A NOTICEABLE “DOUBLE-EYELID” CREASE

Many women in China seek to have a “double
eyelid”, called 双眼皮 (shuāng yǎn pí.) Hooded
eyes with no crease, called monolids 单眼皮 (dān
yǎn pí), are sometimes thought to be unattractive
as they make the eyes seem smaller. Around 50%
of the Chinese population is born with monolids,
and of these people, many choose to get
blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) to correct this.

In fact, cosmetic surgery has become so common
in the country that China accounts for 12.7
percent of all plastic surgeries in the world.

Contrary to popular belief, Asian women do not go
under the knife to make their eyes more
“Western.” The large-eyes beauty ideal started
centuries before Western civilization. In Chinese
culture, large eyes are thought to be more womanly, innocent, and doll-like, and align with some of the expected
qualities of women in past times – submissive, obedient, and feminine. It’s a pity when you consider how the
etymology of some Chinese characters was inspired by women.

Going back to today’s time, much of Chinese pop culture has heavy influences from Korea and Japan. Thus, as the
dolly, cartoonish “anime-eye” look increased in popularity in those regions, it became popular in China as well.
The best way to put it is that Chinese people (and Asian women) do not undergo blepharoplasty to look more
Western. They do so to be more beautiful Asians.

As we can see, beauty standards are constantly changing. Perhaps in a few more decades, small eyes will be
favored and “eye reduction surgery” will be born. Who knows?

What do you think of these ideals of beauty?





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Year 9 Chinese Term 3 Cultural Project – 2017

Step 2: Your own research



Now you need to create at least one-page report (around 500 words) with pictures and relevant
resources. Use Pages or Word. Check with your boss (老师 laoshi) if you would like to use another
format.

You can work with a partner. In that case, your research should be at least 750 words.

You have 2 lessons to complete your report. Upload your presentation on Compass Learning Tasks by
Sun 13 Aug. You will be presenting it to the executive board on Mon 14 Aug at 2.05 pm.

Your report should answer the following 6 questions:

7. What are the current beauty standards in China? Include at least 5 with explanations.
8. The origin of these standards and how they developed in Ancient or Modern China.
9. Why do Chinese people believe these standards are important?
10. How are they different to the beauty standards in Australia or in your country?
11. Why do you think different cultures have different beauty standards?
12. Do you think it is important to have beauty standards? Why or why not?

Step 3: Your Chinese Model

Your last step is to pick a Chinese male or female model and explain how they depict current beauty
standards. Include their picture in your report and either label it or include a brief explanation.

Suggested Resources
Chinese Standards of Beauty
http://blog.tutorming.com/expats/chinese-standards-of-beauty
Chinese Beauty Standards (Magazine)
https://portfolio.newschool.edu/emmaelp/files/2016/12/Chinese-Beauty-Standards-Magazine-
26s5wru.pdf
Western VS Chinese Beauty Standards
https://ninchanese.com/blog/2016/05/12/western-vs-chinese-beauty-standards/
Chinese Beauty Standards + HSK 1 Reading Text
https://www.mmmandarin.com/blog/chinese-beauty-standards
Marriage Market Take Over (Left-Over Woman)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irfd74z52Cw
In China, a Long Tradition of Dodging the Sun [Photos]
http://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/china-long-tradition-dodging-sun-photos
The Search for Beautiful Women in China and Japan: Aesthetics and Power
http://apjjf.org/2012/10/49/Cho-Kyo/3859/article.html

The Four Most Beautiful Chinese Women Ever


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZffx3eQO20
Ancient Chinese Beauty -- Blessings and Curses
http://www.womenofchina.cn/womenofchina/html1/special/13/6219-1.htm

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Year 9 Chinese Term 3 Cultural Project – 2017

Rubric

High (3) Medium (2) Low (1)
Step 1: All activities complete to a At least 2 activities At least 1 activity
Background good standard complete to a good complete to a good
work standard standard
Step 2: All 6 questions answered to All 6 questions answered. Less than 6 questions
Research an excellent standard. The The answers demonstrated answered. The answers
answers demonstrated a a satisfactory demonstrated some
thorough research and understanding of the understanding of the
thorough examination of Chinese beauty standards, Chinese beauty
the Chinese beauty their origins and standards. However,
standards, their origin and importance. At least more detailed
importance. The student 500/750 (partner) words explanations and research
evaluated his/her own are needed. Less than
beliefs and gives reasons to 500/750 (partner) words.
support his/her views.
More than 500/750
(partner) words.
Step 3: A picture of a model with a A picture of a model with a A picture of a model
Chinese Model detailed explanation or satisfactory explanation or included a very brief
labels of beauty standards. labels of beauty standards. explanation or labels of
beauty standards.
Presentation Excellent amount of Adequate amount of Work is lacking structure,
headings and pictures. headings and pictures. headings or pictures.
Work is presented as a Work is presented as a Doesn’t look like a report
report in Pages or Word report in Pages or Word and presented in a
formats. The report looks formats. different format that was
professional and very neat not approved by a
teacher.
Submitted on Yes = 1 No = 0
time
Total 13-12 Excellent 11-10 - very good 9-8 good
7-6 satisfactory 5-4 – borderline below 3 – needs attention