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Meinü Jingji/China's beauty economy: Buying looks, shifting value, and changing place

Meinü Jingji/China's beauty economy: Buying looks, shifting value, and changing place Abstract Along with the new products, modes of behavior, and economic relations that followed China's 2001 accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) came the introduction of new words to everyday language. The term meinü jingji, “beauty economy,” is increasingly ubiquitous, describing everything from beauty pageants, modeling competitions, advertisement, cosmetics, and cosmetic surgery to tourism, TV, and cinema, and even extending to China's success in the Athens Olympics. One of the unexpected by-products of this new cultural focus on beauty as a significant source of individual economic success is the full bloom of beauty pageants endorsed by the state. This article focuses on these pageants: their history in China, their promotion of Anglo-European beauty norms, and their relationship with Chinese national identity and economic reform. The paper argues that the beauty pageants are a prerequisite of China's neoliberal policies as they promote consumerism, reinforce and symbolize commodification, divert attention to the personal, and undermine political protest of the ravages of economic reforms. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Feminist Economics Taylor & Francis

Meinü Jingji/China's beauty economy: Buying looks, shifting value, and changing place

Feminist Economics , Volume 13 (3-4): 17 – Jul 1, 2007
17 pages

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References (30)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1466-4372
eISSN
1354-5701
DOI
10.1080/13545700701439499
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Along with the new products, modes of behavior, and economic relations that followed China's 2001 accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) came the introduction of new words to everyday language. The term meinü jingji, “beauty economy,” is increasingly ubiquitous, describing everything from beauty pageants, modeling competitions, advertisement, cosmetics, and cosmetic surgery to tourism, TV, and cinema, and even extending to China's success in the Athens Olympics. One of the unexpected by-products of this new cultural focus on beauty as a significant source of individual economic success is the full bloom of beauty pageants endorsed by the state. This article focuses on these pageants: their history in China, their promotion of Anglo-European beauty norms, and their relationship with Chinese national identity and economic reform. The paper argues that the beauty pageants are a prerequisite of China's neoliberal policies as they promote consumerism, reinforce and symbolize commodification, divert attention to the personal, and undermine political protest of the ravages of economic reforms.

Journal

Feminist EconomicsTaylor & Francis

Published: Jul 1, 2007

Keywords: Beauty pageant; China; meinü jingji; neoliberalism; JEL Codes: D, D1, D11

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