Chinese Beauty 中国美女
A: I heard there were four beautiful women in Chinese history — Xi Shi、Wang Zhaojun、Diao Chan and Yang Yuhuan. Were they really so beautiful?
B: None of the 1,000 to 2,000 year old portraits of these four women are reliable because there are no photographs to verify their accuracy. These four women are known not just for their pretty looks, but also because each of them played a critical role during the life times.
A: That’s amazing! What did these beautiful women do?
B: Both Diao Chan and Xi Shi gave their lives for the removal of some tyrants in the Imperial Court. Wang Zhaojun offered to marry a man from a far away tribe for the sake of peace and harmony amongst people of different ethnic backgrounds. Yang Yuhuan was a concubine who hanged herself during the mutiny, for the benefit of the overall situation. So these women are remembered not just for their good looks, but also for their intelligence, bravery and dedication.
A: Is there any change in people’s perception of the beautiful woman today?
B: I heard that the Chinese Film Academy likes to recruit female students in Qingdao and Harbin. Girls from these places are pretty, with round and sexy body curves. Gong Li is a typical example. She is regarded as beautiful both in China and in the West. Traditionally, Hangzhou is known for its pretty women. Hangzhou is situated in the picturesque southern China. Women there are cute and elegant. Film actress Zhou Xun is an example. She is good at acting as a traditional girl who is restricted by established values, but who is ready to die for love.
A: Which of the above category does the international star Zhang Ziyi fit in?
B: Zhang Ziyi is from Beijing, so she is unrelated to any of the above. She rose to stardom through hard work rather than God’s blessing. Initially, American thought she was sexy and beautiful, but many Chinese did not agree because she did not meet any of the traditional criteria. Subsequently, some patriots accused these people as being jealous. They said that China does not have many people who have earned international recognition. Zhang Ziyi is one of the few that has and, therefore, it is unpatriotic not to accept her.
A: This is quite like the four beautiful women in Chinese history. As soon as their looks were linked to national interest, they were accepted by all as beautiful.