Saturday, December 02, 2017

Shanghai Diary: If I Wanted To Read, I'd Have Stayed In School

As I've been writing about China during my stay here, I've hit upon a few of these topics but wanted to share some articles.

  • From RadiiChina there's a piece about Literal Whitewashing in China which speaks to the idea of beauty standards in China. This idea of fair skin being more desirable isn't just a Chinese phenomenon. During my stay here, the Dove ad of a black woman turning herself white happened. This idea of "the whiter the skin, the less likely you're working in the sun and the more posh you are" can arguably be linked with the more historic idea of foot-binding but, also, parallels can be drawn to the idea of women having long finger nails with the idea of long fingernails somewhat incapacitating a woman. "She can't do manual labor, look at those nails." In other words, I'm talking about a standard of beauty in China that is just as arbitrary as standards of beauty in the West.
  • Being obsessed with sex, I was looking at Shanghaiist articles about sex in China and ran across this one: Siblings arrested for operating illegal ultrasound business from their minivan. It's not hard to imagine that revealing a baby's sex in China is illegal as infanticide used to (and probably still does) happen. We're not that far removed from the one-birth policy and the country is now up to two-births. Like most laws, however, this is a paper law and not necessarily followed in real life. A doctor will not come out and tell a parent the sex of a child but there may be a nod and a wink situation when asked.
  • In America, we like to think that we're free from surveillance, then we turn on TV and watch the sleuths of "CSI" use security footage from two blocks away to see the license plate of a criminal. Meanwhile, the observation is just out in the open in China. You have to register your phone with your personal ID number which and then you're on the grid and it's nearly impossible to live without being there. Thus, reading China's Tech Giants Have a Second Job: Helping Beijing Spy on Its People didn't shock me at all.

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