beauty contests


beauty contests
In the early 1980s the ‘pursuit of beauty’ was part of a backlash against the repressive Maoist state. Banned by the state since 1949, beauty contests were quickly co-opted to stimulate the growth of consumer culture.
Beijing Television Studio attempted to hold the first post-Liberation beauty contest in June 1988. Although it included a talent contest and questions about knowledge and morals, it was cancelled due to official pressure. The first post-Liberation beauty contest was held in Guangzhou in 1988 and subsequent years; not until 1991 were contests held in Tianjin, Shanghai and elsewhere. In Beijing in 1991, the first Chinese Supermodel Contest selected a representative to the Elite Model Look world contest, one of the most important international modelling competitions. The state approved it due to the promotion of high fashion in order to stimulate the textile and garment industries (see cashmere industry; silk industry).
This opened the door for beauty contests, and in 1992 they burst onto the scene nationwide; by one estimate, over seventy contests sponsored by over fifty newspapers and nearly one hundred television stations were held in that year. China achieved its first top finish in a major international contest with a third place in the 2002 Miss Universe contest.
Lan, C. (2000). Zhongguo mote qishilu [The Story of Chinese Models]. Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe.
Wang, S. (1993). Zhongguo xuanmei dachao jiemi [Revealing the Secrets of the High Tide of Beauty Contests in China]. Beijing: Shijieyu chubanshe.
SUSAN BROWNELL

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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