Social Experiment: The Superficiality of the Chinese Culture

This is part 1 of an ongoing social experiment that I have been conducting since coming to China.  Since my arrival in China I have noticed an ongoing obsession with appearance. It is worse than in The Western World. In the west at least we have a variety of standards that defines beautiful. Here in China not so much. 


Their ideal of beauty is so far fetched that not even the average Chinese woman can attain it. So it creates a system of woman going through any means to reach something that in unattainable unless you get plastic surgery. To them beauty is pale white smooth alabaster skin, big doe eyes , slim body( to the extreme) heart shaped face, pointy chin and long straight dark hair. I don’t know many women that look like that that aren’t anime characters.   

They also view Westerners as beautiful but you have to have white skin. Anything that is white is beautiful to them. They even consider white dogs to be cuter than brown and black dogs! So if you are white and slim you are a god or goddess.  It is their culture and it will not change. It is probably the hardest thing to have to face in an Asian country. I have to look in the mirror and tell myself that I am beautiful and not a fat ugly monster.



It isn’t as bad as when I first came to China. With my Afro textured hair, chocolate complexion and full body, I was the antithesis of their ideal of beauty.  The Chinese didn’t know what to make of me. So I was not treated kindly. I was made fun of and laughed at. This really lowered my already low self esteem. So on the outside I was smiling on the inside I was dying.

Then I begin losing weight and I noticed how people changed. People smiled at me more. They approached me more. Then I began changing my hairstyles. When I wore a wig my coworkers told me I was so pretty and all I needed to do was to lose weight because a boy only looks at a good figure. (Cue eye rolls) 


After I hated the falseness of wigs I went back to natural hair. I notice that again my collegues distanced themselves. I had one student that was repelled by my natural hair. Oh and I got parents that complained about my hair. I also had a parent say I was too fat to teach her child. I have students call me fat Laoshi. 


I decided to get braids. Well this style was different than the Chinese norms. The kids were fascinated by my hair as were my Chinese friends. They thought it was amazing. This is when I had strangers touch my hair.  They thought my hair was cool and fashionable. It was eccentric. I was also losing a lot of weight at the same. So the Chinese people were very nice to me during this phase. 


I got another braided style that was curly and I had black and red braids. I loved it. The Chinese didn’t. This is when I was called Hei Gui on many occasions. One of my more verbal students said my hair was ugly. My coworkers just kept glaring at my hair. One had the gall to ask me if I actually like my hair that way.  That  hair was way too much from their  beauty zone. On a side note, Western men loved the big hair and I got some interest from them. So big sexy hair is a turn on for western men. 


Next I got a Brazilian Blowout and I will say this. Big humongous difference to how I am treated. This hair looks more like their hair. So I am more accepted. Not viewed as an oddity anymore. I have noticed more Chinese men checking me out. Also my OKCupid ad is getting way more responses by men of all cultures. Once I put up the straight hair pictures my stock level went up. I think the straight hair enhances my features more. I have two OKCupids profiles. One is an older one where I am heavier and with my natural tightly curled hair.  The other is more recent and I am smaller. My old one only gets an occasional response by African men. 


My experiment is not fully complete. I have to see how I am treated here once I hit goal weight . My budding  self esteem might have something to do with how I am getting treated as well. When I first came to China, I never took pictures. I hated looking in the mirror so that attitude may have influenced how others saw me. Now I am selfie goddess and like the me looking back at me in the mirror. That attitude maybe attracting people was well.  So this may actually skew the effects of my experiment. 

Even though China is a superficial society it did give me a swift kick up the arse and was the fuel that I needed to make a well needed change in myself.

Please click on my YouTube videos, they pertain to the post. 


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Eileen黃愛玲
    Apr 09, 2015 @ 07:33:25

    You ARE beautiful. You have sparkling beautiful eyes. You should rock the selfie, you look great then and now! My mom had dark eyes, dark curly hair with darker skin complexion than me. I thought of her as beautiful. I refuse to let anybody tell me otherwise.

    The first complement I got was when I straightened my hair. I had a classmate say, “You should do your hair like that more often. You actually look pretty now.” Oh no, it’s totally okay to blowdry my hair till it becomes dead – I mean, at least I look good in the process, right? I still haven’t let my curls go natural, especially now that I am living in China.

    Boy, when I dyed my hair blonde in the States – people started to be really friendly to me. I didn’t like the blonde hair at all, but other people did. It wasn’t right with my complexion. I had a cousin tell me I should go back to blonde and I simply just wanted to scream at her. Something about that rubs me the wrong way. I remember she tried to argue with me that we both had blue eyes and I should be happy. I rolled my greenish brown eyes so far back into my head. My mother had dark (espresso) eyes and they’re just as beautiful, thank you very much.

    I lost a lot of weight but gained some of it back. I am in the stage where I just avoid the mirror altogether. At least now I have a gym membership. I have lost weight so many times, I wonder who I am losing it for. In the past I lost weight not because I thought being skinny was beautiful or the fact that I wanted to get attention. It was completely the opposite. I lost weight to make OTHER people comfortable and the fact that I would be more invisible. If that make sense.

    The worst complement? “At least you don’t look Jewish.” (face palm)

    You just inspired me to exercise without thinking about losing weight and just maybe I will go outside with my natural curls for the first time in years.


    • aquariusamber
      Apr 09, 2015 @ 07:41:13

      I am so glad that I inspired you to exercise. My weightloss is because I don’t want to end up dead at 56 like my mom. I hate how others views influence how we see ourselves. What you were saying about losing weight and straightening your hair to make your look invisible totally resonates. I don’t really like standing out sometimes. I am a naturally shy person so being the center of attention is really testing my comfort zone.


  2. Ms. Canadian Expat
    Apr 09, 2015 @ 20:49:48

    You’re so brave for moving to China and having to deal with all of that, and then learning to love yourself in the process. You’re incredible!! How people treat you is not a reflection of you, it’s a reflection of them. I know how hard it is to be a woman of colour moving to another country that is racially homogeneous. Kudos to you!! You’re absolutely GORGEOUS!!! xx


  3. sapphire
    Jul 12, 2015 @ 18:28:06

    I was wondering did you always know you wanted to teach english? also what did you do in high school to contribute to teaching english? what courses did you take in college was it hard?


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