Girl Talk

Mao banned long hair.

We only discuss important things at class lunches–food, flowers, whether moving overseas solves a mid-20s life crisis (yes).

But here are 3 bits I’ve observed lately:

1) Underarm lightening deodorant.
All the big Western brands — like bullshit artist Dove — market these. Advertise them constantly, and skin lighteners generally, including some banned in the West (or, about which warnings have been issued regarding known dangers). Disgusting. But just for the underarms. Really?

2) Hair and more hair.
I did the math: 98% of my women students have long hair, really long. I looked into it. Women were required to cut their hair short during the Cultural Revolution (and wear men’s clothes, preferably fatigues, a ‘glorious’ look being in fashion, while girly-ness was bourgeois). Make up was also banned. For little girls, no ribbons or bows. That construction of femininity was politically repressed. So the long hair, the teensy high voices, the high heels you see absurdly walking up mountainsides? Political statement right back at ya.

3) Undies
People who decry China’s lack of innovation have clearly not seen northern-Chinese women’s longjohns stores (whole stores), remarked on earlier. The elaborate variety is hard to describe – shapes, colors, fabrics, amounts of padding, levels of dressiness, with body-molding to make you bigger or smaller in six different ways…while keeping you warm. But it’s spring now and guess what, non-longjohn undies are even more amazing. Not (at least around campus) so much black lace, goth-vampire. I mean kaleidoscopic gumball craziness. So bright, so fun, so wacky-cartoony, so anime. I have no interpretation yet. Just throwing it out there!

Dumpling girl!

4 comments on “Girl Talk

  1. sandra stingle says:

    Love these intimate real life observations. Really behind the scenes reality that is so much more interesting than a TV reality show. Keep it coming.


  2. janni says:

    reminds me that i need to get in touch with my China dolls before the end of the semester. haven’t heard from them, which i’m assuming means they’re all well and busy. xo


  3. […] (If that fails, there’s always Dove’s Asia-specific whitening products.) […]


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