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China Fashion & Beauty

A Grannie Make-Over: “Before and After Leaving My Kid with My Mother-in-Law”

Grannie knows best? Not everyone agrees on these ‘after staying with grannie’ make-overs.

Manya Koetse

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Chinese grannies seemingly have an entirely different view on how their grandchild should look like than parents do. These ‘before and after mother-in-law visit’ photos are going viral on Chinese social media.

“Because of a business trip, my mother-in-law took care of my son for two weeks,” one Weibo blogger wrote on November 23rd: “As a result, I barely recognized my son when I came back home.”

The funny blogger is hinting to some screenshots that are currently going viral on Chinese social media, in which a mother says in a chat conversation that she went to visit her hometown for two days and left her son with his grandmother and her mother-in-law – leading to an unwelcome make-over.

The photos of how her child looked before the trip show a happy kid with thick black hair.

“Before leaving,” the text says.

Another “before leaving” photo.

And then the screenshot shows the “after coming back” photos.

The mother writes: “Clothes are gone. Hair is gone. He looks like a beggar.”

On Weibo, the photos are a source of much banter for most netizens. Many seem to recognize the situation, saying: “My mother-in-law would do exactly the same.” Some people, however, vent their frustration:

The other night I went out to buy something with my husband after dinner. When we came back my mother-in-law had changed my child into some old garments. Super ugly. I took them off right away. It’s just unbearable, she’ll always insist that he’s cold!

Others swear they would not leave their child with their mother-in-law, saying: “It’s not just about how she changes his clothes, but also about what she teaches him!”

Over the past few years, ‘before and after staying with grannie’ photos have become an online phenomenon with people sharing photos of their children before staying over at their grandmother’s, and afterwards,

Left: “With Mum and Dad”; Right: “With Grannie”

Similarly, last year also saw an online trend where young women showed their ‘before and after’ looks after celebrating Chinese New Year in their hometowns; going from fashionable urban outfits to comfortable and warm ‘countryside’ clothes.

Amidst all banter, one commenter stands up for the grannies, saying: “Young people only look at what looks nice [on a kid]; grandmothers just want their grandchildren to be warm and snuggy.”

By Manya Koetse
@manyapan

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©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

Iconic Shanghai Singer Yao Lee Passes Away at the Age of 96

Yao Li, one of the seven great singing stars of Shanghai in the 1940s, has passed away.

Manya Koetse

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Chinese singer Yao Lee (姚莉), the ‘Queen of Mandarin pop,’ passed away on July 19 at the age of 96.

The singer, with her ‘Silvery Voice,’ was known as one of the seven great singing stars (“七大歌星”) of Shanghai of the 1940s.

For those who may not know her name, you might know her music – one of her iconic songs was used in the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians.

Yao’s most famous songs include “Rose, Rose, I Love You” (玫瑰玫瑰我爱你), “Meet Again” (重逢), and “Love That I Can’t Have” (得不到的爱情).

Yao, born in Shanghai in 1922, started singing at the age of 13. Her brother Yao Min was a popular music songwriter.

When popular music was banned under Mao in the 1950s, Hong Kong became a new center of the Mandarin music industry, and Yao continued her career there.

On Weibo, the hashtag Yao Lee Passes Away (#姚莉去世#) already received more than 200 million views at time of writing.

Many Chinese netizens post candles to mourn the death of the popular singer, some call her passing “the end of an era.”

“Shanghai of those years is really where it all started,” others say.

Listen to one of Yao’s songs below:

By Manya Koetse

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