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Once again, the beauty of breasts

December 16, 2010

“Breast Beauty: Ruan Lingyu, Tan Xuerong, Xue Lingxian, Li Lili, and Wang Renmei”
(乳部美: 阮玲玉, 谭雪蓉, 薛玲仙, 黎莉莉, 王人美)
By: Fan Guangban (反光板)
Published in: Kai Mai La Movie Pictorial Magazine (开麦拉电影图画杂志)
1932, issue 1, page 5

Ruan Lingyu

This article, from a early 1930s movie magazine, is about the beautiful breasts of a few Chinese movie stars: Ruan Lingwang, Tan Xuerong, Xue Lingxian, Li Lili, and Wang Renmei. Fan begins the piece by saying that when women lose their average (I will this was meant to mean usual) curves (轮廓 lun kuo,) they obstruct a very large kind of beauty. Female movie stars understand this component and there are many of them who went from “singing loudly of liberation” (高唱解放) to cultivating real beauty (健美 jian mei.) I’m not quite sure if it is the change in the decade, the apolitical bent of the author or what but how are liberation and beauty contradictory? It is also really important to note that beauty is called 健美, 健 (jian) is the first character in the word for health (健康) and 健美 connotes a physical beauty, tied with sports culture and physical activity. There is quite a bit to say about 健美 but I will save it for a later time!

Wang Renmei, who was 18 when this article was written. (Top image found here, second image found here)

According to Fan, these actresses (Ruan Lingyu, Tan Xuerong, Xue Lingxian, Li Lili, and Wang Renmei) as well as another actress by the name of Li Lideng all agree with their time – they cultivate beauty (健美.) In the summer, they go swimming every day. In the winter, they delight in speaking but they can also bravely drape thin (单薄 dan bo) undergarments on themselves to go do sports. Swimming is a very common theme in depictions of active women so it makes sense that it appears here!

Xue Lingxian

The form (形式) of “beauty” and the correct mastery of 健美 are of equal importance for these actresses simply because they must attract people on the silver screen (银幕 yin mu.) Fan says that reportedly Ruan Lingyu’s “breast peak(s)” (乳峰 ru feng) are the highest but she still isn’t entirely perfect because she uses a brassiere (乳罩 ru zhao) to raise them. It seems that using clothing to change the body in any way, even if it is to follow the new beauty regimen and make the breasts look fuller, is bad. In the piece (which I don’t have a copy of because the Shanghai Library has yet to sync up their printing system to their new search system!), there is a photo of Ruan Lingyu with a caption that says her breasts are beautiful. I wish I could put the photo up here because Ruan’s beautiful breasts still look quite flat, almost as if they are being bound. Fan says that in the new movie “Three Modern Women” (三个摩登女性,) Ruan’s breasts (again, ru feng – ???) look very plump/plentiful (丰满 feng man) and they make the audience appreciate and evaluate them “like a connoisseur.” Talk about objectification and fetishization of a single body part! I think the connoisseur reference is very intriguing. Not only does it encourage men/movie viewers to gawk (and compare and judge! Let’s not forget that part) at women’s breasts, but it hints at the propensity to catalog in traditional Chinese learning.

Li Lili (found here and here)

The comparisons don’t stop there. Fan says that Tan Xuerong, who I couldn’t find any photos of online, and Xue Lingxian both have beautiful breasts. Xue’s breast measurements are even larger than Tan’s and there is an act in the film “Pink Dream” (分红色梦) that makes this very clear. Fan continues and tells his (I will be certain it is a he here) readers that although Wang Renmei and Li Lili are relatively young and thus, not especially “lush,” they already have bigger breasts than Yang Naimei (杨耐梅, photo of her here)and Xia Pei Zhen (夏佩珍, photo of her here), two other, older actresses.

The last part of Fan’s article is far and away the most interesting because Fan argues that “The beauty of breasts helps the script to unfold, it can directly cause limitless performance power to arise, it is a condition that must be possessed. Thus, when we watch a movie, we must pay attention to some things concerning the performer’s breasts – this is decidedly not to desire but to enjoy/relish them! (这可决不是欲的享受呢!)” Which all means that having beautiful breasts makes a movie better and all actresses should be have beautiful breasts for the good of the movie. When viewers pay attention to an actress’ breasts, it isn’t because they desire her – it is all a part of enjoying the movie!

(Unless otherwise indicated, all images come from THIS thread.

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