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Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9789888139811

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888139811.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2022. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 26 May 2022

China’s First “Artificial Beauty”

China’s First “Artificial Beauty”

(p.51) 2 China’s First “Artificial Beauty”
Buying Beauty

Wen Hua

Hong Kong University Press

The term “artificial beauty” (renzaomeinü) became popular in China after a young Chinese woman, Hao Lulu, was dubbed as China’s first “artificial beauty” in 2003.Her story caused an upsurge of interest in cosmetic surgery and triggered a nationwide debate in China.This chapter provides a quick yet telling glimpse into the burgeoning cosmetic surgery industry and women’s involvement in it. While some people condemn the pursuit of beauty through cosmetic surgery as women’s submission to the male gaze, Hao Lulu and women like her claim their rights to cosmetic surgery as a way of self-improvement and self-fulfilment. Through discussing controversial debates concerning Hao Lulu, the author explores the newly emerging body politics and market discourse of post-Mao China. The author argues that cosmetic surgery involves both exploitation and liberation of the body, and both enslavement and empowerment of women.

Keywords:   “artificial beauty”, victim, male gaze, agency, self-fulfilment, bodily autonomy, China, Cosmetic Surgery

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