How A Single Picture Can Make You Famous In China
China is in full gears to becoming a cultural superpower, and its 400 million micro-bloggershave a huge stake in creating the future society.
A Chinese Cinderella Story – Kang Yikun, the ‘University Goddess’
BEIJING – Everyone in China these days is talking about KANG Yikun.
She is a delightful and attractive art graduate of Renmin University and was recently featured on her elite university’s homepage (see image). Within hours, the school’s website crashed due to the heaviest traffic in its history.
Tens of thousands of micro-bloggers syndicated the tale of the robe-wearing hottie. Days later, the mass media picked up this Chinese Cinderella story. Kang Yikun turned celebrity and national sex symbol overnight – without the sex. She now has hundreds of fan-pages, picture galleries, millions of followers, and was even dubbed the ‘Goddess of Renmin University’ by Global Times, the People’s Daily, and various media outlets throughout East-Asia.
Going Viral China-Style
Here’s what one blogger wrote: “When I first read about this story, I was skeptical. But after seeing her, I totally understand. She is definitely a head-turner and might just be the most beautiful Chinese lady I have ever seen. I can’t stop staring at her.”
China is in full gears to becoming a cultural superpower, and its 400 million micro-bloggers have a huge stake in creating the future society. To be sure, the public is seen as hungry for the unpredictable: As Kang’s photographer, Mao Yanzheng, told the press: “It’s unbelievable that it takes only one photo to make a person famous.”
China’s Sexual Revolution?
Pictures of sexy (but not nude) girls in China - they are called Měinǚ - are traded like gem stones in the lower spheres of the internet - mostly uncensored. The industry is comparable to Japanese and Korean society, albeit not yet as sophisticated; still, nothing like it of scale exists in America or Europe: Beautiful female students are often worshipped and venerated. Why?
Some people argue that this has to do with East-Asian societies being (Confucian) learning cultures. There’s huge stress on conformity, piety and rote learning. Thus, being sexy in China is linked to imagery of sweet high school students or university grads. It may be cliché, but true: Women in China don’t undress; they get an education. This also explains why millions of drooling fans go viral over an innocent looking, fully-dressed, hat-tossing female student.
This may all be a much-needed trigger to further escalate what Richard Burger in his latest book, ‘Sex in China,‘ calls the Chinese “Sexual Revolution”. Especially college students – living in shared dormitory rooms throughout much of their school years and at university - have a very limited sexual horizon and experiences with the other sex. They learn mostly from the internet, which, of course, is partly censored, partly a bad idea.
Unattainable College Girls
The Chinese high society with its strong ties to the Western world may be an exception to the rule. For example how modern Chinese college girls are depicted on TV can be seen in ‘Tiny Times‘, a popular entertainment program about four Shanghai celebrity gals. It’s a rip-off of ‘Sex and the City,’ but still: Their daily routines give away clues about beauty, materialism, and idol worship in mainland China – the girls are sassy and quite unattainable.
For some reasons the gentle sex in China is depicted hyper-female – more petite, lighter, slender, and more doll-like than most women in the West (it reminds of the kawaii (cute) culture in Japan). But that’s just my opinion. You will have your own.
Finally, Kang Yikun’s original picture was taken down from Renmin University’s website on August 7, 2013. The hype hasn’t retreated a bit.
Image credit: MAO Yanzheng KANG Yikun/Hao231.com
Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.
- Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
- At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.
- At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
- See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
- There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.
- The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
- The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
- It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
Yes, a coup d'état.
- Though we know today that his policies eventually ended the Great Depression, FDR's election was seen as disastrous by some.
- A group of wealthy bankers decided to take things into their own hands; they plotted a coup against FDR, hoping to install a fascist dictator in its stead.
- Ultimately, the coup was brought to light by General Smedley Butler and squashed before it could get off the ground.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.