woman greenscreen TikTok over image of barbie shoes with caption 'appears tanner by contrast' (l) woman greenscreen TikTok over image of barbie shoes with caption 'which is against the beauty standard of having a fair complexion' (c) woman greenscreen TikTok over image of barbie shoes with caption 'now girls wear pink proudly saying 'I bought them to show off my tan' (r)

@candiselin86/TikTok Remix by Caterina Cox

‘A symbol of rebellion’: Chinese girls are defying beauty standards by wearing ‘Barbie’ pink

‘A breath of fresh air.’

 

Angela Lim

IRL

The Barbie movie has started a movement in China: the resurgence of hot pink, which is helping Chinese women embrace their skin and femininity.

Chinese netizens are calling Barbiecore the “Pink Renaissance.”

In a viral TikTok video, Candise Lin (@candiselin86) explained the impact of Barbie in China and highlighted how girls are adding pink to various parts of their lives, from clothing to beauty products and food. Women are also making pink nail art and AI-generated Barbie versions of themselves.

“Girls are no longer dressing to meet any beauty standards or societal expectations,” Lin said in the caption. “Rather, they wear pink just because this color makes them feel happy and confident.”

@candiselin86 Barbie pink is considered a symbol of rebellion. Girls are no longer dressing to meet any beauty standards or societal expectations. Rather, they wear pink just because this color makes them feel happy and confident. #chinese #china #barbie #barbiepink #pink #barbiecore #barbiemovie #chinesegirl #AI #nailsart #greenscreen ♬ Old Disney Swing Jazz – Nico

Shocking pink—or “death Barbie pink” in Chinese—complements tan skin, going against the Asian beauty standard of having a white, fair complexion. But more women are using this color to accentuate their features, according to Lin in the video, which reached over 1.3 million views by Thursday.

“Now girls wear pink proudly saying, ‘I bought this to show off my tan,’” said Lin, showing posts by Chinese women on social media.

Barbie took the No. 5 spot at China’s box office, earning $17.5 million by Sunday. While the movie isn’t as big of a success in China as it is stateside, women love its message of feminism.

Chinese women are also using the film as a way to evaluate their boyfriends, according to a video by Kyla Zhao (@kylazingaround) that amassed 822,000 views on TikTok. Many men have expressed strong disapproval of Barbie, with some posts saying they stormed out of the theater.

@kylazingaround #Barbie #barbie2023 #barbiemovie #barbieliveaction #margotrobbiebarbie #ryangoslingken #barbiecore #barbietiktok #gretagerwig #viralchina #chinesecouple #chinesemen #greenscreen ♬ Barbie World (with Aqua) [From Barbie The Album] [Extended] – Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice & Aqua

Zhao, a Singaporean author who also works in the tech industry, said she watched Barbie while in California.

Barbie just seems like a breath of fresh air for Chinese women because it’s not common to see a movie so centered on the female perspective,” she told the Daily Dot. “I think that’s an opinion held not just by Chinese women, but by women all around the world.”

Zhao attended an all-girls school in Singapore from grades seven to 10 and compared its environment to Barbieland, the movie’s utopia where women have total control over what they do and who they want to be.

“We could be a prime minister, president, doctor, scientist,” she said. “It was really after leaving that safe space and bubble [that] I realized there are people who don’t feel the same way, who are going to tell you that because you’re a woman, there are certain things you can and cannot do.”

Viewers of Lin’s video hope that Barbie continues to spark meaningful dialogue and empower women around the world.

“Barbie’s helping us all be confident within ourselves,” one commenter said.

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