Friday, April 10, 2009

Beauty Standard Pictures

Beauty Standard Pictures
ONE sociologist once said that with the wide spread of American culture across the world, the standard of a beauty is becoming more and more Hollywood-like, characterized by a chiseled chin and a tall, slim figure. One can see the beautiful image in almost any American movie

Similarly, in Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," Yu Jiaolong, cast by Zhang Ziyi, also fits the very image of a Hollywood beauty with glossy hair and a dancer's physique. It seems that with globalization, Eastern and Western beauties look more and more alike. However, Chinese had a different standard of beauty in the past. The changes over the years reflect the changing mood of Chinese society. Since the May 4th Movement early last century, Chinese women have been freed of the traditional shackles which bound them - foot binding and remaining faithful to one man, even after he dies, to name two.

The image of a beautiful woman at that time was a young, short-haired, girl student waving a small banner in the wind, shouting for freedom of the nation and women. Perhaps nothing illustrates the beauties of Shanghai in the '30s better than cigarette calendars. The women on these calendars portray the standard of beauty of old Shanghai, with their curly, short hair, small physiques and charming eyes. In short-sleeved qipao, these beauties seemed a blend of the traditional female virtues and the modern female's daring to attract men.

Wang Anyi, a famous woman writer in Shanghai, once commented on prostitute Xiao Jinbao as played by Gong Li in the movie Shanghai Triad as "too much ado," because she did not act as a courtesan in old Shanghai.

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