Editor’s note: This translated article, which first appeared on Xinhua, has created quite a buzz in China’s social media sphere. It talks about the appearance of Chinese men, and how in comparison to their female counterparts, they do little to appear attractive. Despite its shallow content and non-scientific survey data, the article does touch upon a trend that rings true for many: in terms of pure physical appearance, women don’t aim as highly when choosing partners, instead choosing wealth and security over genuine attraction. While this is hardly world shattering news in a country where houses and cars are prerequisites for marriage, it is interesting to see this trend addressed in state media. Unfortunately, rather than delving deeper and examining the roots and development of choosing wealth over love, the article falls flat and fails to make any significant argument at all. So be warned: you’re not going to feel smarter after reading this.
Some time ago, a popular post appeared on well-known Chinese social networking site Tianya. “Today on the streets of Shanghai, the women are clearly a cut above men.” The post concluded that “today’s men are either dog-headed and dog-brained, or ugly and unintelligent. Not one is pleasing to the eye. On the other hand, women today are extremely classy.” This post gained a lot of attention and sparked debate online.
In 2003, well-known essayist Yan Lieshan wrote a column on the issue with a similar point of view: China’s women, whether they are ordinary working girls or fashionable office workers, all have style and dress well. Their faces are fresh and bright. And men? Young male workers are sallow-skinned with dry hair, shabby clothing and confused expressions. “White collar men” have crooked bodies, bent backs, drowsy eyes and a listless air about them. Handsome, broad shouldered Chinese men are rarely seen.
Kato Yoshikazu is a Japanese writer with a well-known and respected column in China. He expressed his own point of the view on the subject quite bluntly. “We foreigners are often confused and discuss why a beautiful, slender Chinese girl is standing next to a man that looks like that. Many foreigners who see these kinds of couples feel that it is their responsibility to become a kind of ‘white knight,’ to rescue these women who seem like they are being cheated. A European man once fairly seriously told me, ‘Kato-san, I cannot stand it! I want to show these girls what a handsome man actually is!’”
“Men don’t care about their appearance when it comes to pleasing women”
Some of the most intense criticism regarding men’s appearance has come from various elite Chinese women. Even before senior media correspondent Zhao Lingmen published an essay titled “Do Chinese Men Deserve Chinese Women?” another woman working in media, Hong Bin, wrote an article titled “Why are Chinese Men So Ugly?” In the article, she wrote: “In the past few years, Western Nobel Prize in Literature male laureates Naipaul, Coetzee, Pamuck, Clezio, Llosa and others all do not lack grace. Each possess the elegance held by an expert in his field. Each can be called a handsome older man. But in China, why do the normal folks who don’t rely on their looks to make a living, especially middle-aged men, not take better care of their image? Ugliness. Is this something that should be allowed to progress? “As for the body, they are not interested in fitness or other activities. Because of this, they will not be desirable to women.”
Many agree with this point of view. Kato Yoshikazu said, “I suspected that my observations and own views were problematic, but then I asked other foreigners and they almost all agreed with me, without any exception. This even included women. I asked Chinese women and they also agreed with my basic observations: Chinese men generally lack a sense of fashion and aesthetics.
Chinese women do not care about male appearance
A survey from fashion forum Hudie (users of the website are almost all fashionable young women) showed that Chinese women have a high tolerance for males with unkempt or unappealing faces and bodies. The survey asked, “Which of the 20 common bad points of men do you have zero tolerance for?” The following table shows the feedback from the survey:
Characteristic That Chinese Women Will Not Tolerate In the Men
Face is not handsome (9.33%)
Bad hygiene (67.77%)
Sex drive too high (21.99%)
Stingy about spending money (63.86%)
Spends money too freely (28.01%)
Fickle in love affairs (62.85%)
Sex drive relatively low (28.98%)
Lack of manners (61.75%)
Likes to Smoke (29.52%)
Full of himself (60.84%)
Not very tall (30.12%)
Over 90% of women surveyed can tolerate a man who’s not handsome. Looking at the results of the survey, it is clear that Chinese women care more about whether a man is “reliable” than his “body.” Taking into account that the women who answered the survey are some of the more fashionable women in China, the results are somewhat surprising.
Chinese women do not pay attention to men’s appearances
According to the women who created the survey, the results are some what disheartening. The relationship between the two sexes is originally supposed to be one about mutual pleasure. Unfortunately, when Chinese women look for a relationship with a man, there are many other factors they consider first. They do not have time to think about whether a man is sexy or not.
The first factor they consider is money. As long as a man is rich and powerful, even if he is fat, badly groomed and pot-bellied, large numbers of women will still flock to him. As long as a man has a car and house, even a bald-headed man with yellow teeth, will be more desirable than a handsome man. Another important factor is personality. To many, having a sense of security and no anxiety is more important than personal happiness.
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Keywords: Chinese women Chinese men Chinese men good enough
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I know the concept of "love" is very different in China, but there was no mention of it in the article or in the comments here. Does it even exist in China? What's the point of a relationship or a family without it? Please feel free to laugh (or cry) at my naivety.
Aug 02, 2014 18:20 Report Abuse
Finding actual love may be an uphill battle but at least I haven't given up the fight. If you do one thing in life, love somebody. Try starting with yourself. You can keep your cynicism(or is it sino-cism?). I'll keep my naivety, thank you.
Aug 03, 2014 19:15 Report Abuse
actually if you look throughout the animal kingdom, the male is the more attractive one...the ugly ones are there..thats true...but a good looking guy doesnt need makeup...where as no matter how pretty a girl is she still needs to use make up to look pretty...the problem with chinese men is that they have zero sense of fashion..either they fall towards that gay korean and taiwanese dressings or dumb local styles with bling shirts written rockstar across them....they dont have a sense of dressing or grooming...especially those strange half shaved head hairstyles...seriously if this dude was working in my office i would kick him out that instant...according to me...the perfect example would be ...well cut short hair...a light blue shirt, beige khaki trousers ...brown oxford shoes...i well groomed presentable "man".
Sep 04, 2014 15:50 Report Abuse
1.) Chinese men look awful. I'd be pissed if I was an international girl living here. I couldnt look that ugly even if I tried. 2.) Most mainland Chinese (male and female) suffer from SFS (stupid face syndrome) so won't look good no matter how fashionable/fit. 3.) Let's take a look at the neighbors: Russia, Korea, Japan. Chinese women are a verrrrry distant 4th place. As bad as they are, they are still definitely a step above Chinese men. There's a reason the vast majority of international girls wouldn't touch a local guy. Of the rare few handsome Chinese guys you may spot during your time here, experience says most of them are overseas Chinese from UK, US, Canada, HK, Taiwan, etc. If you see a Chinese guy with a softer/normal facial expression, even a little bit of muscle, and not looking like crap, you can bet he is not from the mainland.
Jul 30, 2014 22:02 Report Abuse
Based on my observation as a foreigner in China, Chinese men don't do much effort to improve their appearance. They care about how to make money and grow their money. If they have money, beautiful Chinese women will come to them. On the other hand, Chinese women tend to be "fashionable" and even spend their hard-earned money to improve their appearance just to catch a rich Chinese guy. I've met rich Chinese guys here in China and they don't look handsome or physically attractive but their partners are.
Jul 29, 2014 15:04 Report Abuse
No, that's not what's being said. China has strict gender roles, where men are providers, and women produce and raise children (that part runs into a snag when you only have one child you can produce and raise). Men are expected to generate wealth, and are judged on how much money they have, and what position in society they are at. Women are judged by how physically attractive they are. These are being "men" and "women", but fulfilling roles society enforces, and if you think feminism will allow people to define what it means to be men and women for themselves, rather than be told what they need to be, you haven't seen really what feminism has actually done.
Jul 29, 2014 23:34 Report Abuse
Yeah, I'd seen a lot of Chinese men at the gym when I was in the South last summer. What you said is right. They just go to the gym for the sake of "attendance." They stay at the gym for 2 hours but they do 15 minutes or less to workout. The rest is spent on their phones, chatting with friends, and just sitting around. I was working out with them and they were even surprised how I could do the workout that they couldn't hahaha. Well, some of them do that but there are a few who really workout.
Jul 31, 2014 22:07 Report Abuse
no... come on, there are handsome Chinese guys in the gym who look very fit and strong!. especially coaches who must be professional athletes. Very few , though. But I see a lot of fat foreigners who dress as if they are less than 50kg and those who look like sticks, bony and white like corpses.
Aug 18, 2014 22:54 Report Abuse
overseas_expat is actually right...the so called fit trainers are not that professional. doing a three week physical education course doesnt mean they are professional. where we come from gym trainers should be title holders, be it body building or any other sports..not just participants. secondly when i was working out i had to go to three gyms a week to do it because there is not one gym in shanghai dedicated to body building. i couldnt find a 40kg dumble anywhere...i dont care about about a hundred tread mills....but i do care if i can do my workouts without improvising. @mirka...it takes any skinny guy 6 months with the right workout and supplements to make a shape and abs....doesnt mean he can train....the most important thing in exercise is form...not how much weight you can carry..and to be a trainer they also need to learn different body types...same exercise doesnt work on all the bodies...thats why the chinese chicks doing planks with the instructors still dont have an ass...and if they go to the states or anywhere their body starts developing....
Sep 04, 2014 15:30 Report Abuse
i remember when i was in gym this dude used to have photoshoots of him while working out...picking heavy weights...and acting macho...dude doing 24 kg dumbles on biceps...but bad form...after 6 months we started talking...he acted like he was mr. olypmia..so one day (i was waiting when there were plenty of people around for this moment) he and his trainer were there...being all up in my face...that i was picking up less weight...so i gave him and the trainer 8 kg dumbles and told them to do 4 sets of 12 with proper form...let alone the student...the "professional trainer" couldnt even get through the 3rd set...guess what, im fat and heavy...the gym offered me a job....and im the most hated among the trainers ( gigolos wearing tight shirts who are just spreading their wechat among women customers)...how will they work out when they got damn mariah carey songs playing and soaps on tv screens on the treadmills...lol...thats a real blood pumper...
Sep 04, 2014 15:41 Report Abuse