Era of homogeneity – China’s new beauty trend makes women look alike
China has transitioned through Era of Relief, Luxury, Confine and Pomp.
Everyone is typical, so-called nobility will be looked down upon. It is meaningless to talk about standard beauty, because personality and individual charm are the rule. Hence, here come the super girls (超女). Tomboys like Li Yuchun declare their disruptive success over conventional aesthetic standards. And, after all these years, her new aesthetic value is still hot. Li Yuchun’s neutrality points at elegance and handsomeness, which is different the senseless 70s neutrality.
However, the society becomes more and more tolerant that it allows the bottom limit of beauty to keep dropping. For the same bohemian style, we have San Mao as icon before, see who we have now, Yang Erche Namu, we can only sigh that time degenerates. And then, Miss lotus is in, Sister Feng is hot, and Shoushou is all over the Internet. Although they are not the icons, but look at the anchor’s gentle faces that couldn’t conceal her red eyes. I think it is definitely aesthetic value’s failure that make mass media put these kinds of women in front of us.
Jing Gao: While the writer goes home with her observation when she says that conventional aesthetic standards are disrupted and women who would have been dismissed as homely are now in the national headlines, the other extreme is that the society has established a certain role model as beauty and many women just dream to become a carbon copy of that.
See the gallery above, and you will understand what I mean. Yes, they are six different women, yet they look almost the same. Big round baby-doll eyes with three layers of eyelash extension and multiple streaks of eyeliners. And the black-colored contact lens that accentuate the eyes and make them look even bigger! A brush of eyeshadow here and a touch of rouge there is not a sin. After all, every woman wants to show a better self and be confident. What baffles me is why they painstakingly wipe out their uniqueness and reinvent themselves using the same template. They can’t be having similar faces after they remove the cosmetics, but they choose to be a lookalike of someone who they believe will turn most boys’ heads. If you witness the extreme makeover or the transformation , your jaw will drop to the floor, and you will probably feel duped.
What’s more, there is the ultimate weapon – plastic surgery. Blephoplasty, or double-eyelid surgery, entered China two decades ago. The extra crease added to your eyelid takes away the drowsy look and open your eyes wider with more depth to it. It must be one of the least risky and painful plastic surgeries. And the most acceptable one, as a little effort and cost (US$550 on average) in exchange for an improvement is worth it. But breaking your jaw? The so-called jaw reduction involves an incision into your mouth and a burr to shave the mandible so that your jawline is less square or masculine, your chin is pointed, and your face looks melon-seed shaped.
The Chinese celebs validate this craze for a stamp-size face. Many of them have sharper facial contour years after their debut. They attribute the change to the miraculous daily massage and diet, but only god knows if it’s true or botox or surgery come to their rescue.
Then the mentality goes awry: women are afraid of being underdogs when they don’t have any of the fine features of a typical beauty but others have. That’s why the number of patients asking for a whole package of surgeries soar when the job-hunting season for college graduates come. They wish to cater to the taste of their future bosses, likely an all-men ensemble.
But this obsession with arbitrarily defined beauty standard might backfire on women. On one hand, by jumping onto the bandwagon of uniformly pretty appearance, women gave men more reason to take it for granted that good look is not too much to ask or too hard to get, and that those who do not conform with the standard and do not bother deserve to be underdogs. On the other, when perfection goes mass-market, the ideal shifts. Men might one day grow tired of the iconic face and find an unconventional feature fascinating.
Not until then will women realize that what needs lifting is not their faces, but their self-esteem.