The Rickshaw Report : Chinese Beauty Ideals & the Rise of Cosmetic Surgery
This week, the Rickshaw Report explores what is considered beautiful by the Chinese, and also the rise of the ‘plastic fantastic’ aka cosmetic surgery in the Middle Kingdom.
1. What is considered beautiful by the Chinese?
I think China’s idea of what is beautiful as changed throughout the course of history. In ancient times, women with fuller figures were considered as the most attractive. However, today, a slim body is seen as most desirable. I think Beijingers are the most good-looking Chinese people. They have a great sense of style, which alters depending on the season.
2. Do you have many friends or relatives who have openly undergone cosmetic surgery?
Yes, I had a female neighbor who had some plastic surgery. But, personally, I do not think the procedure really made her more beautiful.
3.What is your view on plastic surgery?
I am aware that there is a trend of Chinese people traveling to South Korea to undergo plastic surgery. Some results are great, others less so. Well, certain cases, the people even get health problems because they risk going to dodgy surgeons who charge less.
3. In the west, many white women desperately want tanned skin, and even go to extreme measures to attain their desired look including risking skin cancer by sunbathing for hours. What do you make of this?
In China, we call bronze-colored skin a“healthy color,” but this is not necessarily healthy, you are risking skin cancer. In China’s rural areas, there are a lot of women who have thatcolor of skin because they work in the outdoors in fields. But in the cities, you have a heating system and air conditioner, so you cannot get that color of skin. Tanned skin is unnatural.
5. The cosmetic surgery industry in China is booming. According to the BBC,over 7 million plastic surgeries were performed in 2014 and the cosmetic surgery is worth around 400bn yuan ($62.6bn; £41.7bn) – a figure which may double in three years time. What do you make of this? Is Chinese society growing to obsessed with appearances?
This is a good thing – people can make a livelihood, and the taxes will help our economy. But its true that Chinese society is obsessed with appearances, especially the youth. Everyone wants a handsome boyfriend or a gorgeous girlfriend, but I am too old for that nonsense.
6. Do you think the rise of plastic surgery could have a harmful impact on society?
I think cosmetic surgery is harmless. As long as it is a legal business, it is allowed in China. Obviously, there is a great demand for the industry.
7. Have you ever considered getting any cosmetic surgery?
M? I am over 80 years old. How should I change my face?When I was young, plastic surgery barely existed.
8. When choosing a spouse, do you think Chinese men / women hold looks to be more important than personality?
Some definitely do. However, I believe that so personality matters more. Trust me, people will agree with me once they get married.
10. In December 2015, a debate was sparked on Weibo after a Chinese man Xiao Ming posted an advert that stated “Wife: we still love each other, but were born at the wrong time – in a material era. I think, if I can make you into a beautiful flower, I am willing to contribute the money from my private house and give you cosmetic surgery. The more beautiful you are, the more I will like you.” Some Chinese social media users were disgusted by such superficial behaviour, whereas others admitted they would be willing to alter their appearance as long as their other half took care of the costs. What do you make of this?
I really cannot understand today’s young people.What a stupid thing to do! Why do you even bother getting the surgery? Our looks fade with age. But, I guess we are all entitled to our own opinion.