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Supermarket ‘Drag Queen’ Goes Viral on Weibo

Pictures of a kinkily dressed ‘drag queen’ in a Shenzhen supermarket have gone viral on Weibo, where Chinese netizens discuss if this kind of apparel should be respected as part of transvestism or condemned as indecent exposure.

Manya Koetse

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Pictures of a kinkily dressed ‘drag queen’ in a Shenzhen supermarket have gone viral on Weibo, where Chinese netizens discuss if this kind of apparel should be respected as part of transvestism or condemned as indecent exposure.

On May 14, one Weibo netizen called Mr. Danzi posted: “Today at the Shenzhen MixC supermarket I was stunned to see a ‘Witch Man’ [loosely: ‘drag queen’] in high-heeled boots, just breathtaking..I was dumbstruck.”

Mr. Danzi then shared different photos of the extraordinary shopper, dressed in skin-tight underwear with open buttocks. The photos reveal how other shoppers watch from a distance and take pictures. Within 48 hours, this post and the pictures were shared over 4000 times on Sina Weibo.

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The pictures cause much commotion on Weibo, where netizens have different opinions on this grocery shopping outfit – with some praising it and others denouncing it. Many netizens think the cross-dresser looks sexy and is in good shape, but there are also those who scold him for walking around like this.

“Isn’t it great to be a transvestite,” one female netizen responds: “If a woman would go out dressed like this, she would be slandered.” Other netizens comment: “I respect all kinds of unusual clothing – it’s the freedom of choice people have. But exposing the lower body is just not good in my opinion.”

One Weibo user writes: “I am now in America, and although I have often seen people like this, I’ve never seen people taking pictures of them or avoiding them.” Another commenter responds: “I also live in America, and I am not sure where you live, but I’ve never seen a person like this. Transvestism and exhibitionism are not the same thing.”

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Discussions on Weibo mostly focus on the question whether or not this kind of clothing is socially acceptable, and to what extent this classifies as ‘transvestism’ and to what extent it simply is ‘inappropriate’. One netizen comments: “If this was a normal transvestite, nobody would’ve even noticed. But I classify this as exhibitionism.”

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Another person says that people on Weibo should not use foul language towards this person: “You all should stop attacking him with such mean words – after all, he has a mental illness.”

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A feminist discussion platform has responded to these pictures on its Weibo account, saying: “There should be a clear divide between men gracefully dressing in women’s clothing and this kind of indecent exposure.”

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There are also those who don’t care about what this person wears, but do care about looking after one’s health: “I can appreciate special hobbies, but won’t they get a cold dressed like this?!”

– By Manya Koetse

©2016 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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