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Fashioning Appearances: Feminine Beauty in Chinese Communist Revolutionary Culture

Hung-Yok Ip
Modern China
Vol. 29, No. 3 (Jul., 2003), pp. 329-361
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3181296
Page Count: 33
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Fashioning Appearances: Feminine Beauty in Chinese Communist Revolutionary Culture
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Abstract

Studying the Communist revolution, scholars of China have generally assumed that the revolutionary era and pre-Cultural Revolution stage of the Communist regime were dominated by asceticism, androgynous clothing, or both. This article seeks to demonstrate that an interest in female beauty was always present in the revolutionary process. The author analyzes how revolutionaries sustained that interest by employing self-beautification practices and women's beauty politically and how social interactions reinforced the perception that female beauty was rewarding, underscoring that Communists accepted the practice of self-adornment. After examining the revolutionary aesthetics of femininity developed by women activists, the article briefly explores the legacy of female beauty in the Communist regime. In its conclusion, it urges that more attention be paid to interest in female beauty as an important part of female experience both during the revolutionary process and during the Communist regime.

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