Sexism Can Come In All Sorts Of Pretty Packages

Illustration for article titled Sexism Can Come In All Sorts Of Pretty Packages

When you do most of your Olympic-watching in bars with silenced televisions, you tend to obsessively notice details. One thing I have been obsessed with is the insanely perfect posture of the silent women of the medal ceremonies. And of course, there's a reason for that — the 337 "hostesses" were picked for their looks and trained for that posture. And when I say "picked for their looks," I don't mean they were chosen because they are pretty — though they are — they were chosen because their facial and body measurements conformed to exacting standards set forth by China's Olympic Committee. And you thought modeling was bad.The Olympic Committee solicited applications and received more than 5,000 from women in Beijing and Shanghai. The women were required to be between the ages of 18 and 24 and enrolled in or graduates of colleges. They also had to be between 5'5" and 5'8" and "plump but not fat" with good skin. In addition, their eyes had to be 3/10ths as long as their faces, the widths of their noses had to correspond to the lengths of their faces, and the widths of their mouths had to be coordinated with the distance between their pupils while looking straight ahead. Once they met the physical standards, the women were trained to stand unflinchingly for several hours in heels, while balancing things on the tops of their heads and squeezing paper between their thighs, as pictured here. They had to learn how to smile while only showing eight teeth, which is accomplishing by smiling holding a chopstick positioned between their canines in front of a mirror. When they were done with that, they were asked to run 1,000 meters every day to keep their "plump but not fat" bodies in shape. Not that the hostesses are the only eye candy for men at the Olympics — from the cheerleaders ringing the track in their white outfits and cowboy boots at the opening ceremonies to the dancers in bikinis at the beach volleyball tournaments, the Chinese want to make sure that they showcase some ideal of feminine physical perfection — and the fact that more than half of China's medals are coming from its female athletes is not, apparently, enough. Perfect Hostesses Outclass Sexy Cheerleaders At Games [Reuters] Sex, Sand And Shoots Raise Beijing Olympic Temperature [Breitbart] Day 13: Chinese Women Hold Up More Than Half The Sky [People's Daily]



I noticed, as well, from the article:

"Hostess candidates have to be university educated" So, they also have to be smart as well as symmetrical. In a way, that makes sense, they probably have a big long complicated list of "do" and "don't" rules they have to follow...

I agree with Magnakai Haaskivi above, I think it's more an "image over everything" issue.

If I recall correctly, the New York City Radio Hall "Rockettes" are subject to a quite rigorous uniformity requirement as well, maybe not so much with the facial aspects, but with things like the length of their legs and arms and size of heads, hands, feet...