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  • Why are beauty standards so strict in China?
  • Why are beauty standards so strict in China?
    Toshihiro Gamo, Creative Commons (2016) ©
REPORT

Can China become body positive?

Hashtag crazes like #A4Challenge and #BellyButtonChallenge reveal the huge social pressure Chinese women are under to conform to narrow beauty ideals. With a variety of eating disorders on the rise, some brands are now helping young people reject old conventions and pursue self-acceptance.

Location China

Scope
It’s no coincidence that bizarre hashtag crazes like #BellyButtonChallenge, #CollarboneChallenge and #A4Challenge, which all encourage women to prove their thinness in various ways, originated in China. Challenges of this nature are now common on domestic platforms like Sina Weibo, from where they spread West, eventually lighting up social media globally with posts from acolytes and angry critics alike.

In the early 20th century, famines were so severe in China that the phrase nǐ chī le ma (meaning ‘have you eaten?’) was a common greeting. Today, the nation has the greatest number of obese people in the world – 10.8% of ...

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