There’s a body-positive revolution happening in China, and we love it

There’s something majorly amazing happening in China right now that we’re totally on board with: self-love and body positivity.

Refinery29 reports that a trend is starting to arise among twenty-something women in China: Going to the gym. While this may seem like a normal fitness activity, it’s not so for women in China, where a 2003 survey cited “an almost-emaciated, willowy physique” as the ideal body type among women. It’s also where the 2015 “collarbone challenge” — in which Chinese teens and women balanced a stack of coins in their collarbones to determine their “sexiness” — was thought to originate.

However, it looks like tides are finally changing for the much, much better, and more women in China are going to the gym with the goal of a toned, healthy physique rather than a too-skinny ideal. In fact, as Refinery29 notes, the prime target for Chinese gyms and athletic apparel companies is currently women, and the fitness industry has grown 13% since 2010.

“Women in China used to correlate ‘skinny’ with ‘beautiful’ and go for extreme dieting,” 41-year-old fitness blogger Ting Hsuan Chang told Refinery29. “But the harm it inflicted upon the body and the unhappiness it would cause have become too obvious to ignore.”

Effortless frail delicacy has fallen by the wayside, and now, the goal is to be strong. As Refinery29 notes, the trending topic “Shanshan Yuan’s firm abs” — referencing the TV actress who started documenting her fitness on social media — currently has over 88 million hits on Sina Weibo, China’s main social media platform.


The fitness revolution has officially begun, with many young Chinese women changing their goals and views on their body. Take 26-year-old Emma Wang, who has been seeing a personal trainer since June 2015. “I don’t have a goal weight,” she told Refinery29. “Nothing can bring me more satisfaction than seeing that muscle line that separates my abs gradually appear.”

Of course, it’s important to not become obsessed with defined abs, or a particular goal in general, but focusing on being strong — not being skinny — is an incredible step towards a healthy body image for women all over China, and we couldn’t be happier.

(Image via Weibo.)

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