In October 2010 the Miss World Pageant was held in Sanya, Hainan province (the fifth time, in fact, that China had hosted the event since the beginning of the twenty-first century); Miss China, the six-foot-tall Zhang Zilin (a graduate in business administration), won the title, the first Miss World of East Asian origin. Although the Women’s Federation as early as 1993 had criticised beauty contests for their commercialised objectification of women, the regime itself had continued to promote beauty contests (and fashion shows) for their showcasing of ‘oriental female virtue’. In a sense, the Chinese official valorisation of ‘oriental female virtue’ in the early twenty-first century harked back to Shimoda Utako’s educational ideal of a particular ‘Asian womanhood’ at the turn of the twentieth century.
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Paul J. Bailey
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