Talk show star’s appearance in For Him Magazine sparks debate about women’s beauty standards
Published: Jun 24, 2021 10:12 PM
Photo of Li Xueqin. Source: Sina Weibo

Photo of Li Xueqin. Source: Sina Weibo

When an actress known for her wit and eloquence rather than her looks appeared in For Him Magazine, it sparked a debate about what defines whether a woman is sexy or not.

Li Xueqin, a graduate from prestigious Peking University, has won popularity with her trademark northeastern Chinese dialect and sense of humor by making fun of herself. So it came as a surprise to some of her fans to see her on the cover of For Him Magazine, wearing sexy outfits such as floral lingerie and a low-cut leather top. It's also a departure from the magazine's normal choice of cover girls. 

The magazine said on China's Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo, "Does Li Xueqin have anything to do with sexy? This time I am going to tell you, Li Xueqin is sexy."

Yet some netizens begged to differ. A male blogger named Xu Fei, who has 150,000 followers on Sina Weibo, said that he is a fan of Li and also a fan of For Him Magazine, "but I don't like the idea of putting them together." He felt she wasn't right for the magazine.

Some netizens also questioned whether Li is trying to attract fans by being sexy.

Many others defended Li, who said anyone questioning the photos are just trapped in a patriarchal mentality as they view women based on narrow and shallow standards. "I feel disgusted that someone who won my heart with her wit and brain is now being subjected to traditional male aesthetic judgment," said one Sina Weibo user. 

"She is talented, fun and smart. Why can't she be sexy in front of the camera? Why is there only one standard for judging a women's beauty or sexual appeal?" asked another.

Some netizens also criticized the magazine. "Being sexy is not about outfits or poses. It comes from inside to outside. Not objectifying women, and not using the same 'sexy' standard for different women is what a good magazine should do," one commenter said. 

Li started dabbling in comedy in 2018. She posted several short videos on video platform Douyin in which she pretended to introduce famous landmarks to her idols, which included pop icon Kris Wu and basketball star Guo Ailun. Her videos proved popular, which motivated Li to create more comedy content. 

She shot to fame overnight when her idol Wu, amused by her videos, posted his response to her in northeastern Chinese dialect, which Li frequently uses in her routines.

Global Times