China’s Beyonce: meet Wang Ju, the pop idol breaking down beauty barriers王菊登上《卫报》 被誉为“中国的碧昂斯” 时间:2018-06-12 单词数:4400
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Wang Ju, 25, is a contestant on the singing competition Produce 101. Over the course of the contest she has also become China’s latest female icon and an likely hero remaking beauty standards in an industry that has long prized women who are doe-eyed, fair-skinned, girlish and cute.
Wang is not beautiful by Chinese pop’s exacting standards. Just under 5’5 tall and weighing 60kg - she is considered too short and too heavy. When she first appeared on the show in April viewers called her dama or “old auntie,” for being older than most of her rivals. One wrote, “Wang Ju is chunky and dark. I’ll never vote for her.”
Yet, she has developed a cult following of people who find her both relatable and inspirational. Fans refer to Wang fondly as Jujie, or Ju big sister. Fan clubs canvass for her – her ranking depends on viewers’ votes. Dozens of memes have emerged to honour her. Among her fans, people who aren’t familiar with Wang are called Juwairen or “Ju outsiders.”
Chinese media have breathlessly covered her rise, including China’s state-run Global Times, which described her as “a cultural phenomenon worthy of attention.” “Many viewers have found themselves, or the power they wish to have, in Wang Ju,” it said in an editorial on June 8. In the past week, her rank on the show has shot up to 23rd place, from 94th out of 101 contestants.
“I think we’ve always lacked of a female role model who is confident and dares to challenge conventional standards,” said Echo Wu, an interior designer based in Beijing.
Wang’s so-called “queen style” has drawn more comparisons to Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, or Cardi B than China’s own more demure stars. In a recent interview, Wang asked why it was easier for people with pretty faces to win over audiences than those with actual talent.
Speaking after a performance in May, she also said, “Some people say girls like me cannot be idols. But what exactly are the standards for being a girl idol? I’ve eaten up all the standards.”
Wang has become a poster child for minority voices. Before gaining widespread popularity, she was a hit with China’s LGBT community. Late last month, LESDO, a WeChat account for lesbians endorsed Wang. Another publication Danlan, wrote, “Everything Wang Ju has been through, we gays have been through.”
Wei Tingting, a cultural studies scholar in Guangzhou, said of Wang and marginalised groups, “They have the same experience of being excluded by a certain standard, thus they share the same sense of belonging.”
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