The shy, reserved and submissive Chinese woman is no longer a proper stereotype -- if it ever were -- as a recent survey suggests modern Chinese women want to be seen as sexy, healthy and smart.
Nearly 340,000 people voted on-line in a poll that asked respondents to select ten key words describing the charm of Chinese women. Sexy ranked fourth, after elegant, intelligent and healthy.
"We women love to talk about our experience of how to make our breasts larger and also how to lift our hips and keep our wrists smaller," the 20-something Ms. Chen said when giving her reasons for wanting to be considered "sexy".
The thinking marks a profound change in attitude. China became more open to the outside world in the decade Chen was born at a time when women used to wear thick clothes to hide their bodies.
The past two-decades of social and economic development have transformed the traditional Chinese concept of womanhood. Baidu.com, China's largest Chinese language Internet search engine, lists over 36 million hits relating to the word "sexy", a word that would be rarely uttered by past generations.
The idea of staying in fashion has also spurned an industry as trendy underwear boutiques, fitness salons and fashion magazines and shows have become increasingly popular.
Many survey respondents agree that looking sexy by wearing stylish items or having a healthy physique helps boost their self-esteem.
(Xinhua News Agency October 27, 2006)