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We Love Juicy Lucy (But China Begs To Differ) by Justin Mitchell
Beauty, as we all know, is in the eye of the beholder and - as far as Chinese and Western standards are concerned - Asian-American actress Lucy Liu is a good case in point. What brought the spunky Allie McBeal, Kill Bill and Charlie's Angels hellion to become a flashpoint for a Sino-American diplomatic crisis began when my Chinese girlfriend and I were being gaped at while shopping in Shenzhen. The stares are nothing new.
 
As a Taiwanese buddy who is married to a blonde American once observed: "I think in China, 99.99 percent of the people will stare at foreigners. In a big city it's not as bad, but if you go to the countryside, they will even follow you. Especially white people, because they look different from Chinese. If the foreigner is from some place like India the curiosity is lower.''
 
Some people, he added, enjoy the attention. "I hate it, but I have a friend from Beijing who also married a blonde. I know he likes to take his wife out to show off.''
 
Neither my girlfriend nor I particularly enjoy feeling like a sideshow attraction but we have long since shrugged it off, unless one of us is in a particularly foul mood. Which, given the heat and crowds that day, we were.
 
"Hey!'' I snapped at two un-comprehending louts who'd been eyeing us as if we had six legs and antennae sprouting from our eyebrows. "What are you looking at? Yes, I admit I forsook my beloved motherland only to come here to lay waste to your countryside and despoil your virgins! And to get some cheap DVDs, of course.''
 
"Stop it,'' she hissed. "They are just curious. Ignore them.''
 
"Did you ever stare at foreigners with Chinese women before you met me?''
 
"Maybe a little. But I didn't think it was unusual before unless the couple looked too different - such as foreign guys who were good-looking but their girlfriends or wives weren't that pretty. I mean, they don't look like they match each other. I still don't understand why so many Western guys my friends and I see with a Chinese woman - why is it that so many of the women are ugly? Except me and my friends, of course.''
 
She giggled, then got serious again.
 
"Don't Westerners have good taste? Or can't they get any good-looking women? Some of my friends say that if they want to date a Western guy they should just uglify themselves.''
Aha. This was familiar territory. I'd been down this road several times before with former coworkers in Shenzhen and it invariably led to what I have come to call "The Lucy Liu Debate'' and just what constitutes beauty.
 
Completely random and unscientific research on my part has found that 99.99 percent of the 1.3 billion Chinese think juicy Lucy is a complete skank and can't fathom her popularity. She's a malformed drooling turtle. Even worse, a freckled malformed drooling turtle. In China, the ubiquitous beauty ads promise flawless, vampire white skin and make it clear that freckles and a tan are akin to leprosy. Freckled Lucy also sports a healthy tan. And she's also slightly cross-eyed - another bummer on the beauty scale.

 

 
Typical, Ugly Chinese Woman
 
But We Kind of Like Her
 
Image Courtesy of
 
 
Western Men have a very different
view than Chinese as to what is
beautiful in a Chinese Woman. 
Probably we all should be very
happy about that – basically we
 are not really competing for the
same prize.  What a great
win/win situation.
 

 

 
"Wait a minute,'' I said. "Basically you're talking about Lucy Liu types, right?''
 
"Yes! Yes! She's sooo ugly! I hate her. I cannot believe how famous she's become.''
 
"I kind of like her freckles,'' I mused. "Most Americans think freckles are cute.''
 
My significant other's untanned, freckle-free face was aghast. Then she mentioned the crossed eyes.
 
"Also cute. Endearing almost,'' I rhapsodized, before adding hastily "but you're much more so, of course.''
 
By this time we were on the Shenzhen subway heading back to our apartment. The debate raged on as fellow passengers stared - but mostly at the floor out of embarrassed politeness in the face of the foolish mixed-race couple who were obviously airing some tawdry laundry in public.
 
"I cannot believe why she is famous,'' she repeated. "Most foreigners are fools when it comes to beauty - except for you, most of the time.''
 
Then she noticed something. We'd been so wrapped up in the Great Lucy Brouhaha that we'd boarded the wrong train.
 
"Stupid ugly Lucy Liu!'' she fumed as we got off at the next stop to double back. "It's all her fault.''


From: Original         Author: Justin Mitchell         Time: 3/5/2010 3:28:31 PM

 
Comments
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#2012-03-26 04:39:00 by Anonymous128231 @Anonymous128231
I am caucasian American and I have never found Lucy Liu to be beautiful. But this is equally true of most caucasian actresses. They portray beautiful women in the movies (not so "Pretty Woman") The simple fact is that successful actresses (as well as male actors) are hyped by their public relations flacks. Their talent, and their movie roles, make them "beautiful". There are many chinese women who are beautiful, and many more who are not. Your site seems to enjoy a good measure of self-selectivity.
#2013-09-13 08:48:00 by wayne73 @wayne73
Reply Interesting article. One thing I love about oriental cultures is the tendency to look natural, when I make friends I value a person's "internal qualities" as much as their appearance and so a girl with no make up at all has the same chance of impressing me as one who has spent an our before the mirror; perhaps even more so as seeing somebody's real face tells who who they really are, not who they'd like you to think they are.

Asians in America tend to fall into the same trap as every other American, that of needing to change their appearance to stay young with heavy make-up or (my pet hate) cosmetic surgery: nose jobs, eye work, face lifts, breast implants; all if these are huge turn-offs to me. I agree with the Chinese women referred to in this article, though maybe for different reasons than they give: Lucy Liu is not so good looking.
American culture is not kind to anyone, least of all oriental women whose greatest charms are their honesty, their intelligence and their innate natural beauty.
#2013-11-06 02:00:00 by seekinglove @seekinglove
Reply Personally,I find Lucy Liu to be beautiful...as are so many chhinese ladies.
#2013-11-29 02:37:00 by cmatrix4761 @cmatrix4761
Reply This reminds me of a funny discussion I had with my psychiatrist once. I mentioned that I was looking into dating Chinese women through an online service and he made a comment that had a lot of insight for me - "That's the nice thing about Asian women," he said, "Other than that they are generally more traditional than Western women, even the average-looking Asian women seems very exotic."
It's the exotic part that got me. I hadn't ever thought about it - I figured my preferences were because of my fascination with the Chinese culture. But, he was right - Chinese women, even unattractive ones, seem very exotic. It's an interesting bit of "cross-culturalism" that's similar to why American women go "gah-gah" over Peruvian/Cuban/Puerto-Rican/Brazilian/etc accents.
#2014-01-16 06:19:00 by IluvBruceLee @IluvBruceLee
Reply Lucy is an action hero nothing more nothing less and compared to some Chinese ladies she's average and that's coming from an average guy since I am average looking some women say I'm good looking but that's debatable but anyway enough about me I need the prettiest women I can find to make up for my shortcomings. Lucy's okay but there are so many Chinese actresses who are some much prettier we can Lucy slide.
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