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Chinese Society and White-collar Beauty: Western Influence

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Words: 1555 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Aug 30, 2022

Words: 1555|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Aug 30, 2022

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Background
  3. Objective
  4. Historical Perspective
    Economic Perspective
    Social Perspective
  5. Conclusion
  6. Reference

Introduction

This paper introduces the arising of Chinese beauties in workplace in relation to historical, economic and social phenomenon. The topic mainly focuses on what are the historical, economic and social elements that accelerate the popularity of white-collar beauty, and what are the effects these developments bring to contemporary women in Chinese society.

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Background

In the 19th century or earlier, people divided jobs by gender. Whether in Chinese or Western society, working is men's duty while women’s main duty is to stay home and take care of their husbands and kids. Such circumstance shifted dramatically. As people become more open-minded, people do not divide duties by gender. Women started to read, study and contribute to society in many different ways. In contemporary Chinese society, a TV show named 'Ode to Joy' has captured the public's attention. One of the characters Andy, who has a pretty appearance and is the company's CFO, became people's favorite. She is the definition of white-collar beauty. Nowadays, appearance and intelligence are equally significant to women. This is why 'white-collar beauty' become a popular phrase. The form of white-collar beauty is in a long process. While the majority thinks this is simply a cultural shift, it involves changes in China's history, economy, and society.

Objective

To analysis how the phase white-collar beauty is developed from multiple perspectives and what influences it has on Chinese women, first, Scott and Hu's demonstrate the increasing number of women labor in the 20th century. Second, the article by Xu and Feiner focuses on how China's economy highlights the market demand of women's appearances. Last, for the social aspect, PBS NewsHour reveals the popularity of western culture in Chinese society, which leads to the born of white-collar beauty. With Cai’s paper comments on the success of white-collar beauty movie, to demonstrate how the media propagate such character to people. In general, the historical reforms motivate women to become white-collar, economic development emphasizes the benefits of beauty, the cultural influences and media propagation make the white-collar beauty unforgettable to the public.

Historical Perspective

The word 'white-collar beauty' does not come into the public until the recent 21st century. In the early time, males dominated the family, and female was not required to work. Instead, they stay at home to take care of their husbands and kids. Such a phenomenon stays the same until 1949.

Since the People's Republic of China is established in 1949, the strict law against sex-related works forces women studies and working. The force is the start of women to become more intelligent. Without the establishment of China, women may still force to follow their families' or husbands' traditions. The country's encouragement is the first step for women to become intelligent and independent.

The start was successful, but the evolvement of women is continuous. According to statistics, females' labor participation rate rise from near 0% to 74% from 1949 till 1952, and is only 13% lower than male's labor participating rate. Although abandoning traditions is can be tough, the statistic shows that more and more women are willing to participate in the labor force. This is the milestone of women become white-collar. Females in China taking part in the labor force means they start giving up the tradition of relying on men. They choose to become independent and move toward the white-collar part of white-collar beauty.

In general, the process of women participating in the labor force has a positive effect, because it not only facilitate China's efficiency but also increases the value of Chinese women. With academic degrees or stable paid jobs, contemporary women hold more power than the ones in the traditional period.

Economic Perspective

The trend of white-collar beauty and economic development does not seem related, yet they mutually affect each other. Not just because these intelligent women help China making more money, the change of market and economy also affects these women in different ways.

The shifting work place culture increase the beauty demand. Unlike the 1950s, women were required to be strong and powerful like men at work. As China opening up, China's 'iron rice bowl' changes to 'rice bowl of youth' started from the 1990s. If females started joining labor force from 1949 is the beginning of white-collar women, then the change of workplace culture is the beginning of white-collar beauty. The new work place culture largely affects the working females, women who are not young enough or pretty enough are eliminated from the companies or organizations. As a result, those who survive the rice bowl of youth are the young, pretty ones with working abilities. Rice bowl of youth gives a new definition for working women, and that gives birth to the phase white-collar beauty.

Part of the economic development in the Chinese society relies on beauties. The phase, beauty economy, accurately captures this phenomenon. Chinese people develop their economy in many different ways, female with pretty appearance is one of them. Women's bodies and appearances are materialized and commercialized. Since the image of pretty and young women is profitable, more and more media and company set a high standard when recruiting females. Under such circumstances, females with or without high-level education tend to change their appearance intentionally so they fit in the market demand.

Although the beauty economy is a big success for Chinese people and their country, its effect on women is controversial. The beauty economy not only demands women to be pretty but also be smart and educational. This is beneficial because it encourages women to build a positive image. However, in compare, males are easier to get jobs since the appearance requirement for them are relative low. The inequality of male and female in workplace reflects the negativity of beauty economy. The way beauty economy discriminates women's body shapes and appearances may cause women who do not fit in the market demand to feel neglected and depressed. It may also lead to the increase in women’s unemployment rate.

Social Perspective

The rising of white-collar beauty also has a deep relationship with Chinese society. If history and economy contribute to the white-collar and beauty part respectively, then the social context joints these two-part together, and form the phrase white-collar beauty.

Western culture hugely influence Chinese society. One of the western cultural features, freedom, attracts the young generation in China. As feminism activities like MeToo movements upsurge in recent year, China realizes they can build up a female character to representation independent and freedom. With some upgrade on appearance and job position, white-collar beauty emerge. The financial-independent character with appealing appearance, became viral, because it is not only a role model for Chinese people, especially women, but also a new image China wants to show the world.

The change of society motivates mass media to inject the concept of white-collar beauty into the public's mind. TV shows such as, A Story of Lala's Promotion and ode to joy both focus on the life and social circle of white-collar beauty. According to Cai, the Du Lala novel became 'recognizable and hugely successful'. As people in China widely accept the concept of white-collar beauty, they change their perspective and standard to women. Women start imitating the image of white-collar beauty, and companies start adding appearance requirements when posting job positions. From before, where people define beauty as Lin Daiyu, who is weak and emotional, in Dream of the Red Chamber to nowadays, young and pretty with intelligence. These TV shows, films, and other mass media start to emphasize the images of white-collar beauty. Automatically, society shifts its standards from time to time. Therefore, mass culture plays a significant role in promoting white-collar beauty.

Overall, the western influnces and media's propagation of white-collar beauty create a new standard toward contemporary women to the public. From the 1990s when working women are required to be youthful and pretty, to the white-collar beauty trend in recent years. The popularity of white-collar beauty in Chinese society is based on mixing the historical process of women became intelligence and economic development of commercializing pretty women. This became the last step of how white-collar beauty became a huge trend in China.

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Conclusion

Ultimately, the popular phase white-collar beauty is a lot more than just change in culture. The history of such phenomenon positively affects Chinese females, since more women abandoned patriotic traditions, and were willing to work and study so they can become more valuable to Chinese people. While economic developments change the workplace culture and commercialized women's appearances, consequently women reshaped themselves to fit in the definition of beauty. Last but not least, the western culture trend in Chinese society motivates the emerge of white-collar beauty, and the mass media did a good job on spreading such character in public.

Reference

  • Cai, S. (2014). A cultural reading of a Chinese White-collar workplace bestseller and its film adaption: Li Ke’s a story of Lala’s Promotion and Go Lala Go! Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, 11(1), 11-19, Doi: 10.5130/portal.v11i1.3251
  • Feiner, S. & Xu, G. (2007) MeinüJingji/China's beauty economy: Buying looks, shifting value, and changing place. Feminist Economics, 13(3-4), 307-323, DOI: 10.1080/13545700701439499
  • Hu, Y. & Scott, J. (2016). Family and gender values in China: generational, geographic, and gender differences. Journal of Family Issues, 37(9), 1267-1293, Doi: 10.1177/0192513X14528710
  • PBS NewsHour. (2012). Why China’s youth find western culture attractive [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwtMLdCsjH8
  • Sun, Z. (2008). Worker, woman, mother: redefining urban Chinese women’s identity via motherhood and the global workplace. Asian Journal of Women’s Studies, 14(1), 7-33, Doi: 10.1080/12259276.2008.11666037
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Chinese Society and White-Collar Beauty: Western Influence. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 29, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/chinese-society-and-white-collar-beauty-western-influence/
“Chinese Society and White-Collar Beauty: Western Influence.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/chinese-society-and-white-collar-beauty-western-influence/
Chinese Society and White-Collar Beauty: Western Influence. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/chinese-society-and-white-collar-beauty-western-influence/> [Accessed 29 Feb. 2024].
Chinese Society and White-Collar Beauty: Western Influence [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Aug 30 [cited 2024 Feb 29]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/chinese-society-and-white-collar-beauty-western-influence/
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