Girls unafraid to look boyish are not new – girls avoided looking anything but boyish until the eighties. In the sixties and seventies, women wore little to no make-up and avoided form-fitting clothes. Androgyny was the norm, though not for reasons of fashion. When looking at women in their fifties and sixties, that past is quite evident. Aside from the most affluent and Westernized ladies, most tend to abjure the feminine touches that women of their age in the West grew up with. When middle-aged mainland women do attempt to look more feminine, it sometimes comes off as a bit forced. This is despite our perception that Chinese women are more feminine.
Visitors to China often find the younger generations to be overly girly in their dress and comportment. The lace, frilly things and references to stuffed animals abound. For foreign women, this can be grounds for complaining. However, with Li Yuchun, the Super Girl contest winner famed for her baggy jeans and noncomformist boyishness, it became fashionable for young girls to escape the confines of their sex and its cutesiness. Immediately, young girls throughout the county began immitating Li. Here it is nice to see a sex-neutral look on a girl that is a bit more stylish than mullets and shapeless clothes.