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After A4 Waist and iPhone6 Legs, Here Is the ‘Heart-Shaped Boob’ Challenge

“The A4 Waist is out of fashion, now the Heart-Shaped Boob challenge is popular,” – a sentence that is buzzing around Weibo these days. Is this indeed the next bizarre challenge to go viral on Chinese social media?

Manya Koetse

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“The A4 Waist is out of fashion, now the Heart-Shaped Boob challenge is popular,” – a sentence that is buzzing around Weibo these days. Is this indeed the next bizarre challenge to go viral on Chinese social media?

Update August 11: This challenge has now been completely removed from Sina Weibo. The hashtag no longer shows any results.

Every now and then a new ‘challenge’ pops up on Chinese social media that allows netizens to show off their bodies. There’s been the A4 Waist Challenge, the iPhone6 Legs, or the One Finger Selfie hype. Now a new challenge is making its rounds on Weibo, originating from one of China’s live-streaming apps.

For the ‘Heart Symbol Boob challenge’ (桃心胸挑战), female netizens try to make a heart shape out of their breasts. The latest challenge is a risky one, because “obscene” (yinhui) or “pornographic” (seqing) images are officially not allowed on Chinese social media. Many of the images posted by netizens have already been removed.

People started talking about the ‘heart-shaped boob’ earlier this week, with many Weibo users saying: “The A4 Waist is out of fashion, now the Heart-Shaped Boob Challenge is popular!”

Their claims might be more about wishful thinking than that the challenge itself is actually a major hype just yet: the ‘Heart-Shaped Boob Challenge’ is more talked about than actually taken on. With 1.4 million views of the topic #HeartShapedBoob (#桃心胸#) on Weibo in a few days time, there were only some dozen women who actually posted photos of their heart shaped breasts.

The ‘hype’ seems to have started with a live-streamer by the name of Ayi Xi Tai Lǜ (@阿姨洗太绿). (The name’s characters literally translate as “Aunty Washes Too Green” in Chinese, but the sound of the name resembles the Japanese ‘Ai Shiteiru’ (愛している), which means ‘I love you.’)

Screenshot of one of Aiyixitailu’s live broadcasts where she introduces the ‘heart-shape boob’ pose, via Weibo.

Ayi Xi Tai Lǜ is one of the thousands of girls who entertain their – mostly male – audiences from one of China’s 200-or-so live-broadcasting platforms. Popular ones that focus on girls broadcasting for male viewers include Huya, 9xiu, or Woxiu.

According to SupChina, it is common to see more seductive and racy content on these live-broadcasting platforms after midnight. Live-streamers can earn money from viewers purchasing virtual items for them, anything from ‘lollipops’ to ‘love.’

For Chinese authorities, these platforms are a source of concern because of, amongst others, their ‘obscenities.’ Over the past six months, they have already closed 73 illegal live streaming platforms and imposed life bans on 1,879 live streamers for providing pornographic content.

Aiyixitalu during one of her live-broadcasts.

An image of Ayi Xi Tai Lǜ turning her breast in a heart shape for viewers to see was shared on several Chinese message boards in July. It might have been this image that has inspired others to try and do the same.

“The A4 waist and so on are just over. The heart-shaped boob will be the next viral hit,”, some netizens say.

The A4 waist was a major online trend in March 2016, when hundreds of women posted pictures with an A4-size paper covering their waist to prove they were slimmer than a piece of paper. The trend received criticism for promoting an unhealthy body image.

Although it is said that the ‘A4 Waist’ challenge is out of fashion, the A4 photos are also still circulating on Weibo. Earlier this month, popular Chinese actress and model Zhang Tianai (张天爱) posted a photo of her tiny waist with the hashtag “I have an A4 Waist” (#我有A4腰# ). The photo received over 230.000 likes and 23.000 shares within a few days.

Not all people are happy with the alleged upcoming hype of the ‘Heart-Shaped Boob Challenge.’ Weibo user @Haoyyao noted: “If you try with small breasts, you won’t even be able to make a triangle.”

But there were also male netizens who tried to participate in the challenge anyway. Others jokingly proved that some men also have breasts and can join the challenge without any problems.

Some men also tried to take on the challenge.

“I’ll be able to do this – with the fat on my stomach,” one commenter said.

Despite all claims, it is not probable that this challenge will actually truly go viral. At the time of writing, the topic ‘Heart-Shaped Boob’ was receiving thousands of new views per minute (nearing 1.5 million views), but as netizens try to post their own challenge photos, they show up as (censored) empty images.

Censored images on Weibo: Chinese censors don’t seem to like heart-shaped breasts.

As much as people say this challenge is the next big hit, it is very likely that online censors will not allow it to be – unlike A4 waists, heart-shaped breasts don’t seem to be their cup of tea.

By Manya Koetse

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Fashion & Beauty

The Mulan Makeup Challenge: Traditional Chinese Makeup Goes Trending

Recreating the Mulan make-up look was the biggest beauty challenge on Chinese social media this July.

Manya Koetse

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Will traditional Chinese make-up make a comeback because of Disney’s Mulan?

Since Disney released the official trailer for its live-action Mulan movie earlier this month, Mulan is recurringly appearing in the top trending lists on Chinese social media.

Among all the different topics relating to the upcoming Mulan movie, the Mulan make-up challenge is one that jumps out this month.

The Disney live-action trailer showed a scene in which Mulan, played by Chinese American actress Crystal Liu Fei (刘亦菲), has a full face of betrothal makeup. The original animated Disney movie also features a full makeup Mulan.

Although there was also online criticism of the ‘exaggerated’ makeup, there are many people who appreciate Mulan’s colorful makeup look.

On Weibo, many showed off their skills in copying Mulan’s makeup look this month.

By now, the hashtags “Mulan Makeup Imitation” (#花木兰仿妆#) and “Mulan Makeup Imitation Contest” (#花木兰仿妆大赛#) have attracted over 300 million views.

Makeup such as lipstick has been used in China as far back as two or three thousand years ago.

Makeup vlogger Emma Zhou explains more about Tang Dynasty (618-907) makeup customs here; the skin would be whitened with rice flower, followed by the application of ‘blush’ (pigment of strong-colored flowers) to the cheeks and eyes in a round shape, to emphasize the roundness of the face.

A floral-like decoration would be placed in between the eyebrows.

The yellow forehead, as can be seen in the live-action Mulan, is also known as “Buddha’s makeup,” and was especially popular among ladies during the Tang Dynasty. A yellow aura on the forehead was believed to be auspicious (Schafer 1956, 419).

Although contemporary Chinese makeup trends are much different than those depicted in Mulan, traditional makeup seems to make somewhat of a come-back because of the Disney movie, with hundreds of Chinese netizens imitating the look.

Beauty bloggers such as Nico (@黎千千Nico, image below) receive much praise from Weibo users for their makeup look. Nico wrote: “I even opened the door for the delivery guy this way!”

It is not just girls imitating the look; there are also some boys showing off their Mulan makeup.

Although many still find the Mulan makeup look exaggerated and even “laughable,” there are also those who think it looks really “cool” – of course, depending on whether or not the application is successful.

Want to try it out for yourself? There are various amateur tutorials available on Youtube (in Chinese), such as here, here, or here.

The Mulan make-up hype will probably continue in 2020; the Mulan movie will come out in late March.

To read more about Mulan, please see our latest feature article on Mulan here.

By Manya Koetse

References

Schafer, Edward H. 1956. “The Early History of Lead Pigments and Cosmetics in China.” T’oung Pao, Second Series, 44, no. 4/5: 413-38. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4527434.

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China Celebs

Weibo Blows Up after Fan Bingbing Announces Breakup

It’s been a tough year for Chinese celebrity Fan Bingbing.

Manya Koetse

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First published

Two years after their engagement, Chinese actress Fan Bingbing and actor Chen Li have announced their breakup.

On the night of June 27 (China Standard Time), news came out that Chinese actress Fan Bing Bing is breaking up with her partner, Chinese actor Chen Li.

It was Fan herself who announced the separation through a post on social media, writing:

We go through all kinds of farewells during our lifetime. The love and warmth we gain throughout our encounters become everlasting forces. I want to thank you for all the love and support you’ve given me. Thank you for your care and love in the future. We are no longer ‘we’, but we are still ourselves.

The post soon received over 180,000 comments and more than 650,000 likes.

Chen Li also posted a message on his Weibo account, saying:

From friends to lovers, and now back to friends. Emotions can change, but the purest feeling between you and me will not change. The trust and support we have for each other will always be there. We are no longer ‘we’, but we are still ourselves.”

This breakup comes after a difficult year in Fan’s career. In summer of 2018, the 37-year-old actress was at the center of a social media storm due to a tax evasion scandal.

She disappeared from the public eye for months, and then returned with an emotional apology on Weibo.

The announcement of the split has triggered thousands of reactions on Weibo, where the hashtag “Fan Bingbing and Li Chen Split Up” (#范冰冰李晨分手#) had received 380 million views by Thursday night.

At time of writing, the breakup is dominating Weibo’s top trending topics, with many netizens commenting that Weibo is ‘exploding’ and that Weibo servers must be overheating due to the celebrity news.

It is often celebrity news that causes Weibo to blow up. A recent incident of Chinese teen idol smoking inside a Beijing restaurant also triggered millions of views and comments.

When Chinese singer and actor Lu Han announced his relationship with actress Guan Xiaotong in 2017, it even led to a rare temporary breakdown of Weibo’s servers.

By Manya Koetse

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