Author Archives: cpratt

Movie Analyze: The Last Emperor

The movie, The Last Emperor, follows the life story of the last emperor of china. The interesting thing about this emperoUntitledr is he was taken from his home and appointed at the young age of three. A critical aspect of the film is how the emperor’s clothing changes over time in relation to the events that occur around him. To start off, lets begin with the first picture. We see in this picture the three-year-old emperor at his coronation ceremony. He is dressed in traditional Chinese emperor attire that entails the robe, hat and the color yellow. The color yellow is  significant because in traditional Chinese culture only the emperor could wear yellow. By him wearing yellow we see that Chinese traditions are still in tacked in this section of the film.   Another thing to take notice of in the emperor’s outfit is how large it is. It is interesting to see such a small child in the attire an older man would wear. The proportions facilitate the strangeness of such a young child becoming the ruler of an empire. The next picture is a snap shot of the grown emperor, his wife, and his mistress in a car no longer in the Forbidden City. Thwese emperor is wearing a European traditional black and white tuxedo. His women are wearing traditional western dresses and accessories. This outfit change is very noteworthy. We see here that the three are totally disconnected to there traditional past in this point of time. They are no longer in the Forbidden City and have since broken away from that lifestyle. A few more things to notice about the outfits in this scene are the emperor’s glasses and his short hair cut. In traditional Chinese culture the emperor would never wear glasses and never cut his hair. The fact that he has done both shows that he has left his role of emperor in the past and trying to assimilate into western culture. By looking at the contrast of the first and second pictures we can see the transition the emperor had to make as he was kick out of his empirical home. Outfit choices in movies help aid the story line and bring forth important ideas that that are not necessarily spoken.

denotation is plenty and need more connotative comments

East Meets West: Breast Enhancement


This photo is a screen shot from a ChineseUntitled breast enhancement advertisement. The ad was shown on the Ellen DeGeneres talk show. In the advertisement, women put on the bra like device that is meant to be pulled in repeatedly. This action of pulling the breast together is said to bring other fat from other areas of the body to the breast region. On the Ellen show she mocks how implausible this process would be in effectively enlarging the breast. This begs the question, why are the Chinese willing to try ridiculous things in order to enlarge their breast? When did this obsession start?

well raised questions

During Mao’s China the feminine body was meant to be hidden or just not prevalent. This is because in communism everyone is put at the same level. Both genders wear the same things and are required to be able to accomplish the same tasks. After the fall of Mao’s China came the emergence of western culture to Chinese culture. Chinese women saw that western women had larger breast. They affiliated large breast with the more, at the time, advanced western society. Large breast were then seen as a sign of a high level of civilization. Large breast was a point of liberation for Chinese women. By having more feminine features they separate themselves from past Mao china ideas.   They use large breast to free themselves from the constraining ways of a communist government.

A way that Chinese women differ from western women is in the reasons behind enhancing their breast. In western culture most women get breast enhancements is to please their male counterparts. Westerners get breast enhancements in order to please others and conform to societal guidelines on how an attractive woman should look. In Chinese culture women get breast enhancements in order to please themselves. (also to meet male and social desires)  In advertisements the male gaze upon the women is not prevalent. Ads focus on how the woman is pleasing her own desires. Chinese relate breast to being mature. Once the breast have size the women has bloomed into her whole self. It is interesting to see the comparison between “the why” between western and Chinese culture for getting breast enhancement.

In terms of breast enhancement it is clearly a case of the West entering into eastern culture after the time of Mao’s china. Past that point there is a variation between the reasons why the women want enlarged breast as see above.

nice to compare the fashion of female body between mao’s and post mao China with west as the model.

Through the next three photos we can see the rise and effect of the Mao suit on the culture and government of China.


History:Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 1.47.39 PM

The Mao suit originated with the rise of the Republic of China and its founder, Sun Zhongshan (1866-1925) and Mao Zedong the founder of the People’s Republic of China (1893-1976).   The picture above is a picture of Mao Zedong in a Mao Suit. To be fair it was really Mao and his policies that popularized the Mao Suit. The Mao suit resembled and emulated the policies of the government and society of the time or at least what Mao wanted to achieve in both categories.


Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 1.47.53 PMIndividual idem and inner meanings:

As seen in the picture above there are a few aspects of the Mao suit that are consistent and have inner meaning. Four examples, each Mao suit have four pockets representing four principles: Propriety, justice, honesty and sense of humor. Also, there are five centre-front buttons to represent the five powers of the constitution of the republic. Finally, each Mao suit has three cuff-buttons to stand for nationalism democracy, and people’s livelihood.


Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 1.48.08 PMThe Mao suit and Society:

When the Mao suit was implemented everyone in the country wore one. Everyone looked the same. The picture above we see a group of Chinese people , looking at it you can barely tell the distinguish the people from each other let alone determine the gender of the subjects. So what impact does uniformity through apparel effect the society? When you have to dress exactly like everyone else you loose your own sense of self you then become part of a whole and not an individual. This loss of individuality is on track with the ideals or policies of Mao’s Communist China. Loosing all the capitalistic aspects of fashion from society helped eased the transition and drove communism in china forward.

 in order to turn the writing analytical, please first introduce an argument, such as uniformity via Mao suit. then support the idea with visual evidences, such as the design of Mao suit and its collective application


This image, found in Professor Tsui’s foot binding presentation, embodies the social-cultural aspects that resulted in the start and continuation of the foot binding process in china. Foot binding originated in the Song dynasty (960-1279) with the dancer Yao Niang who would preform for the prince a top a “golden lotus pedestal”. She would bind her feet in silk. The prince enjoyed her performances so much he ordered others to start mimicking her. This was the start of the term “Golden Lotus” in reverence to the tightly bound feet. Foot binding originated in order to please Chinese men who saw tiny feet as the ultimate sexual attractor a women could have. This begs the question, why would women endure such pain and continue the tradition on to their daughters just to please a male sexual foot fetish? To put it simply, having bound feet would result in higher social status by being able to marry wealthy men who desired bound feet. In this picture we see a young girl dressed in ornate silk clothing. She is also relaxing next to some tea being served in fine china. The photo shows a lot, beginning with the young girl, we see the early commitment needed to begin the foot binding process and the progression of the tradition from mother to daughter. Next, we should focus on her attire and surroundings. She is wearing a beautiful ornate silk dress, has her hair done and is holding a fan, all these contribute to her high-class appeal. Furthermore, she is just sitting enjoying tea, not having to work like lower class citizens. This photograph displays the tradition and increased social standing that went along with having bound feet. On another note, we can also talk about how this picture is a picture inning of itself. When westerners started arriving in china they were unpleased with the boot binding tradition, thinking of the Chinese as barbaric for allowing this act upon women. For this reason, Chinese women would often keep their feet and their continuation of the practice to their daughters hidden. From the start, not many photographs were taken or shared by westerners to other westerners of this foot binding practice. This image is important because it signifies the start of the spread of knowledge about foot binding to the western world. Again, when westerners found out about this practice they were shocked, asking the question I raised before, why would women misshape their bodies in lure of men? Now let me ask, why would western women crack their rib cages with corsets to achieve the hourglass shape their men desired? These two processes are one in the same. In both cases women morph their bodies in order to please men and to fit into socially constructed views on female beauty. I choose this photograph because I believe it not only gives us insight on the traditions of the Chinese foot binding process but also makes us reflect on ourselves, how we subject women to painful beauty standards.

Transformation of the Qipao

These three images were found in Professor Tsui slide show presentation. By displaying them together we can start to understand the transition from the traditional robe, to the qipao, to the westernized qipao. In the first picture we see cixi empress Dowager of china in a traditional Manchu robe, also in platform shoes, indicative of a Manchu women who wanted to emulate aspects of the bound foot. These traditional robes were loose, had baggy sleeves and were long. As time progressed and western fashion influence was brought forward through the port at shanghai there started to emerge the original qipao. The qipao had a high collar, slits, and knot buttons. As seen in the middle picture of the qipao, they resulted in a more sexualized view of the entire female body as compared to just the feet in earlier times. The qipao displayed in this picture is see-through, not the case for all qipao at the time, however this further sexualized the garment. The qipao was shown to the western world through calendars, ads and movies. Westerners were intrigued by the design and emulated it in their high fashion runways. We see in the 3rd picture a white woman wearing a qipao looking dress. The dress she is wearing has the same high neck and buttons of the qipao but its bright colors and pattern relate more to the 70s fashion style of the time. The Qipao has greatly changed over time and shows china’s connection to west through its transitions. Now matter what, the qipao is a beautiful garment that shows the great

culture of china.


Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 1.04.08 PMScreen Shot 2016-03-02 at 1.03.24 PMScreen Shot 2016-03-02 at 1.03.47 PM

the idea of transition sounds, but the question of how the transition is made in terms of qipao denotations are not sufficient, persuasive enough.