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Weibo Women’s “Armpit Hair Contest”

An online “Armpit Hair Contest” has fuelled discussions on China’s female aesthetics. As many women posted selfies showing off their hairy armpits, not all netizens agreed on their beauty. For initiator Xiao Meili, the contest has fulfilled its purpose.

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An online “Armpit Hair Contest” has fuelled social media discussions on female aesthetics in China. As many women posted selfies on Sina Weibo showing off their hairy armpits, not all netizens agreed on their beauty. But for initiator Xiao Meili, the contest has fulfilled its purpose.

On May 26, Chinese women’s rights advocate Xiao Meili initiated a contest of women’s underarm hair on   Sina Weibo. She encouraged women to send ‘selfies’ with their arms proudly raised, showing off their hairy armpits. Forty-six women participated in the contest and posted photos under the hashtag “women underarm hair contest” (#女子腋毛大赛#). Amongst them were three of China’s five feminists who drew worldwide attention for their detention in March this year over their campaign for gender equality.

_83494865_chinaarmpithair3Xiao Meili, initiator of the armpit contest.

The contest, which ended on June 10, has been viewed over 1.54 million times on Sina Weibo and gained more than 1,300 comments up to June 11. Six winners were selected from the photo competition, based on the number of reposts and ‘likes’. The first place winner received a hundred free condoms, the second place got a vibrator, and the third place winners were rewarded with ten female urination devices.

 

“Why are hairy armpits a taboo for women?”

 

Weibo user “Zhu Xixi Loves Eating Fish” is the first-prize winner of the “Women’s Underarm Hair Contest”. She said she enjoyed her underarm hair and posted a picture of herself revealing her unshaved armpits while smiling with her eyes closed. In the added comment, she says: “When I was still heterosexual, my boyfriend at the time just took it for granted that I shaved my armpits for the sake of wearing sleeveless T-shirts – until I shaved all of his underarm hair and let him experience what girls go through.”

wow1Some of the participants. Winner Zhu Xixi is in the center.

“Chacha”, one of the second-prize winners, wrote on the contest page: “I love my underarm hair. It’s part of my body. I hope girls can reveal it without fear.” Another Weibo user called “Mimosa” commented to show her support and emphasize the importance of being true to oneself: “I think my hairy armpits look just fine, I never shave them,” she says: “I still wear vests in summer and I don’t feel ashamed of it. Most women have underarm hair. Why do we have to shave it? Why does it have to be a taboo? Do shaved armpits look beautiful?” She believes that there’s no point of listening to other people’s judgement as long as you are comfortable with yourself.

cef7c456jw1eslx9uyby3j20zk0no40pSecond-prize winner ‘Chacha’.

User “Poor and Bored” says that women shouldn’t shave their armpits for medical reasons: “Pulling or shaving armpits might lead to skin infection, as there are many lymph nodes in the armpits. It’s not good for your health. Nobody cares if you shave your armpits as long as you keep it clean.”

However, some netizens hold the idea that armpit hair is ugly and smelly. User “VansChan”, together with many other users, commented that shaving armpits has nothing to do with feminism. “Why is it relevant to women’s rights? Whether it’s men or women, revealing hairy armpits when wearing sleeveless tops is inelegant. We can smell it on the bus and subway. Allegedly, less than 30 percent of Chinese people use antiperspirants.”

 

“Shaving armpits has nothing to do with feminism”

 

User “Miseryzoe” is also an opponent of hairy armpits, and continuing the debate by stressing that men and women can’t be completely equal. She added: “I think hairy armpits for girls are ugly and disgusting. Shaving armpits has nothing to do with feminism. Most of these women who don’t shave their armpits are probably just lazy. I don’t believe they don’t think it looks terrible.”

After the storm of comments on the issue of women (not) shaving their armpits, Xiao Meili posted the history of shaving armpits on the Sina Weibo contest page. Shaving armpits started in the United States in 1915, when the fashion magazine BAZAAR published a photo of a woman raising her arms revealing shaved armpits. Then Gillette launched the razor for women to shave their armpits. The advertisement persuaded women to shave and “remove the objectionable hair” so that women would be beautiful, attractive and sanitary.

Gillette1920s marketing campaign pursuading women to shave their armpits.

Xiao Meili had stated that the purpose of Weibo’s “Women Underarm Hair Contest” is to free women’s armpits and open up the discussion on the “definition of feminine beauty”. Women should have the right to choose whether they want to shave their armpits or not. One of the users “Tender 10384” showed her support for Xiao, stating that “the goal of this contest is not to suggest that women should have hairy armpits, but to make women realise that they have the ownership to their own body – women shouldn’t be forced to shave armpits under the pressure of stereotypes or the mainstream aesthetic.”

wow2

Shaving armpits is relatively new in China. According to Xiao Meili, it was not a widespread custom in until the 1990s. Since then, similarly to America and Europe in the 1920s, the idea was spread that women have to shave their armpits – making many believe that they have to in order to be accepted by society. The contest on Weibo has created a buzz amongst young Chinese women, helping them understand the difference between “can” and “have to”: they can shave their armpits, but they don’t have to.

By Yiying Fan, edited by Manya Koetse

©2015 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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    Muralidaran

    September 1, 2016 at 7:23 am

    I find hairy women very sexy. Women who shave their body including their armpits are like school children not matured grown up women. Therefore shaving must be totally stoped in women and men, especially women.

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China Brands & Marketing

Much Ado About Big Breasts: Two Controversies Surrounding Busty Women on Chinese Social Media

“What’s wrong with looking at beautiful women and men on the Internet?”

Manya Koetse

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A science blogger liking a sexy selfie, a marketing livestream showing pretty ladies dancing around in tight clothes. Sexual objectification of women or much ado about nothing?

This week, the popular WeChat account Brother News (新闻哥) published an article authored by ‘Sister News’ (新闻妹) addressing two recent controversial hot topics on Chinese social media related to attractive, busty young women.

According to the author, two parties have “unjustly” been smeared for their appreciation of beautiful women: the first is a science blogger, and the second is a coconut water brand.

Slammed for Liking a Hot Girl Pic

Xiao Liang (小亮) is a Chinese blogger focused on science and biology who got caught up in controversy this week for liking a photo showing an attractive, well-proportioned woman.

Xiao Liang has over 6,4 million fans on his Weibo account and his fans apparently take great interest in his online activities as some of them ‘exposed’ how Xiao Liang had liked (👍) this selfie post by a female fitness blogger.

The photos ‘liked’ by Xiao Liang.

Some people commented that it was distasteful or even vulgar for a well-known science blogger to like such photos of a hot girl, especially as a married man with children. Other expressed disappointment because this behavior did not meet their expectations of him.

On October 9, Xiao Liang responded to the controversy in a post, claiming that he unintentionally had pressed the ‘like’ button for these particular photos but also saying that he does not see what would be wrong about liking a photo of a beautiful woman.

The female whose photos were liked by Xiao Liang also hinted at the controversy in one of her recent posts. “Share beauty,” she wrote: “It’s ok to appreciate beauty.”

Coconut Palm Controversy

During the National Day holiday, there was also some commotion over a series of promotional live streams on video platform Douyin by Chinese popular coconut milk brand Coconut Palm (椰树椰汁).

Coconut Palm’s live stream featured several attractive, busty women in tight tops and shorts dancing in front of the camera. The stream was cut off multiple times by Douyin (#椰树集团直播带货风格引争议#).

As reported by South China Morning Post, Coconut Palm has been fined twice before by local authorities for advertisements and packaging suggesting its product could promote breast enlargement.

They even released a drink packaging in 2016 shaped like a woman with big breast.

Its whole marketing strategy revolves around attractive people and busty women, and its ambassador slogan is something along the lines of “I grew up by drinking it since I was little,” but in between the lines this could also suggest “I got big [breasts] by drinking it since I was little” (#我从小喝到大#).

Both issues have triggered discussions on Chinese social media about feminine aesthetics in online culture today.

There are two sides on this discussion; there are those who criticize the objectification of women and say that it is all about the ‘male gaze’ in media culture, meaning that women are intentionally portrayed in a certain way to attract the attention of men.

But there are also many others who think people should mind their own business and should not criticize others for something as simple as appreciating a beautiful shape.

Brother News pointed out that Coconut Palm also featured attractive men in its advertising campaigns: “What’s wrong with looking at beautiful women and men on the Internet? We want to see them! We want to see them!

The author of the Brother News article also wonders what it actually means when people get slammed for liking beautiful women, and asks what this says about the women themselves: are they not considered ‘good women’ because of how they look? Is it an actual criticism of men’s behavior or is this more about female rivalry?

Some think people have lost their sense of humor. “I just think it’s funny, both the Xiao Liang thing and the Coconut Palm issue.”

Others wrote: “I like that drink and I like looking at pretty women, I don’t see a problem with it.”

“Some netizens complain about online control, while they are the ones who are even more controlling,” one person commented.

By Manya Koetse 

With contributions by Miranda Barnes.

 

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China Comic & Games

Chinese Woman Taken Away by Suzhou Police for Wearing Japanese Kimono

The Chinese cosplayer was taken away by police for dressing up as a Japanese manga character: “You are wearing a kimono, as a Chinese. You are Chinese!”

Manya Koetse

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A Chinese female cosplayer who was dressed in a Japanese summer kimono while taking pictures in Suzhou’s ‘Little Tokyo’ area was taken away by local police for ‘provoking trouble.’ The incident has sparked concerns on Chinese social media.

A Chinese woman who was making street pictures of herself while dressed in a kimono was taken away by local Suzhou police for “picking quarrels” and “provoking trouble.”

A video that circulated on Chinese social media this week showed the local policeman talking to the young woman and screaming at her for wearing the Japanese kimono, suggesting she is not allowed to do so as a Chinese person.

“If you would be wearing Hanfu [Chinese traditional clothing], I would never have said this,” the policeman can be heard saying: “But you are wearing a kimono, as a Chinese. You are Chinese!” The video stops when the girl is taken away.

The incident happened on August 10 at Huaihai Street in Suzhou New District. Huaihai Street is also called “Little Tokyo” because the area is home to many Japanese businesses and restaurants.

The girl, who was previously active on Weibo under the nickname ‘Shadow not Self’ (是影子不是本人) is known to be a cosplayer, someone who likes to dress up a as a character from anime, TV show, or other works of fiction.

On the evening of August 10, she dressed up as the character Ushio Kofune from the Japanese manga series Summer Time Rendering, wearing a cotton summer kimono, better known as yukata. After she took some pictures to reenact a scene from the fictional work, she waited for her order at a local takoyaki place when the local officers approached her and eventually took her away.

According to a social media post by ‘Shadow not Self,’ she was released from the police station five hours later after she received some ‘education’ and police investigated the contents of her phone.

The scene from Summer Time Rendering that ‘Shadow not Self’ wanted to reenact while doing cosplay in Suzhou’s Huaihai street.

The incident first started surfaced on Chinese social media on the night of August 14 and then went viral on August 15, which marked the 77th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.

“Has even cosplay become dangerous now?” some commenters on Weibo wondered, with others calling the actions by the police “scary.”

“It’s just cosplay!” “How did she break the law?” many wondered, with some people calling the officer “incompetent.”

The kimono worn by ‘Shadow not Person’ is sold on Taobao for 158 yuan ($23).

Chinese political commentator Hu Xijin (@胡锡进) also weighed in on the issue via his social media channel (#胡锡进谈女孩穿和服被带走#). Although emphasizing the legal right Chinese citizens have to wear a kimono in public, Hu also mentioned that at a time of tense Sino-Japanese relations – noting Japan’s cooperation with the U.S. “to contain China” – there is a growing antipathy towards Japan, resulting in different perceptions of what it means to wear a kimono.

Nevertheless, Hu wrote, “a kimono is not a Japanese military uniform, and there is no legal reason why it should be banned.”

Hu also warned: “But when someone wants to wear a kimono, I would advise them to pay attention to their surroundings to prevent causing displeasure to those around them and, more importantly, to try to avoid becoming the center of unnecessary controversy themselves. There’s nothing wrong with respecting the feelings of the majority.”

Later on Monday night, CCTV uncoincidentally promoted a topic (#穿汉服就是回到古代吗#) related to wearing Hanfu or traditional Chinese clothing, writing: “As Chinese national traditional clothing, Hanfu can be fully integrated into modern daily life. (..) Change into Hanfu, let the beautiful culture move forward in a new era!”

By Manya Koetse
With contributions by Miranda Barnes and Xianyu Wang

 

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Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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