Because of a photo, the French luxury brand Dior, known for its exquisite handbags and charming perfume, annoyed many Chinese netizens, and was even accused of “humiliating China” by many people.
The controversial photo originated from the “Dior and Art” art exhibition held by Dior in Shanghai earlier this month. The exhibition contains a photograph taken by Chinese photographer Chen Man. The photo shows a man wearing traditional clothes and holding a Dior bag. An Asian woman, she bowed her head slightly, showing evil eyes.
After this photo was shared on social media by netizens, it continued to arouse controversy. Some netizens accused it of “catering to Western stereotypes of Chinese people”, while others accused it of “underworld wind”.
Dior issued a statement on Tuesday (November 23) stating that Dior had deleted the work online and offline, and stated that the brand “respects the Chinese people’s emotions as always.” Photo author Chen Man also apologized on social media on the same day.
The controversial photo was called “Haughty Reservation” and was allegedly taken in 2012. The author Chen Man is a local Chinese photographer who has worked with many fashion magazines, first-line celebrities and international big names.
In the photo, this young female model combs slightly exaggerated bangs, her face is covered with freckles, and her two fingers wear dark Qing Dynasty armor. However, the most talked about by netizens is that this model’s eyes are blurred under the heavy eyeshadow, and the expression looks like a smile instead of a smile.
On Weibo, #迪奥摄影作品被指阴化亚洲# has become a hot topic for many days, with more than 170 million views, and Dior and Chen Man have become popular targets.
“Does a fashion brand have a basic aesthetic? Is this underworld style beautiful?” said a netizen.
Others put it in the context of the conflict between Chinese and Western cultures, believing that it is meant to “cater to Western stereotypes.”
“Small eyes, the image of Chinese people is always small eyes, squinting. You want to make money from Chinese people, but don’t respect us?” another netizen said.
In China, people often admire the image of big eyes and fair skin. The freckles makeup trend that is popular among some young people in the West is very low in China.
In addition, more and more people are opposed to portraying Chinese people as the so-called “squinted eyes” in art works, believing that this is a kind of “racial discrimination” against Asians. In June of this year, a group of fashion shows at the Academy of Fine Arts of Tsinghua University, a well-known Chinese university, was also criticized because most of the models had small, narrow eyes.
Even Chinese state media has made a similar interpretation. “Beijing Daily” said “Is this the Asian woman in the eyes of Dior?” “Published commentary articles. The comment said, “So where is the problem… Chen Man caters to the brand or Western aesthetics.”
“For many years, the images of Asian women in Western aesthetics have always had small eyes, freckles and other elements, but the Chinese people’s artistic and aesthetic views cannot follow the West,” the commentary wrote.
However, some netizens put forward different views, believing that this style of photos is “very common” in Western advertisements and is part of the fashion industry’s efforts to promote multiple aesthetics in recent years. Some netizens said that even if they do not agree with this style, there is no reason to associate it with “humiliating China”.
After more than ten days of silence, Dior issued a statement on his official Weibo account on Tuesday (November 23) stating that the work is one of Dior’s art projects, not a Dior commercial.
“Dior, as always, respects the sentiments of the Chinese people and strictly abides by Chinese laws and regulations,” the statement added. “Dior’s sincerity and unwavering dedication to Chinese consumers and society.”
Chen Man also issued a statement on the same day to apologize, saying that he “accepts all of the criticisms made by netizens against her work and “Young Pioneers” and other works, and said that in the future, he will “continue to settle in school and never forget to be proud of the new era.” Confident mental outlook serves as the source of creation”.
The “Young Pioneers” referred to by Chen Man is another group of independent works she has created before. In the picture, some young girls in thin short skirts are juxtaposed with some landmarks that are regarded as China’s achievements, such as the Three Gorges Dam and China’s first lunar exploration vehicle “Chang’e-1.”
As the Dior incident fermented, this group of works composed of multiple photos attracted more artillery fire for her. Some critics accused the girl in her photos of “overexposing” and “being weird to the country”, and some even called her a “traitor serving the West.”
“I am a native Chinese and I love our motherland deeply,” she wrote. “I reflected deeply and blamed myself for being naive and ignorant at the time. I think I must formally apologize to everyone.”
“Insult to China”
Dior is the latest case of a global brand breaking down in China. At a time when the geopolitical tension between China and the West is escalating, brands operating multinationally are facing a dilemma.
Three years ago, the Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana (Dolce & Gabbana) released a promotional advertisement, because a Chinese model in the video awkwardly tried to eat Italian food with chopsticks, and was criticized by many. Chinese celebrities refused to attend the brand’s events.
With the increasing nationalist sentiment in China, some political issues have become insurmountable “red lines” for many foreign brands. In March of this year, due to the Xinjiang cotton turmoil, the famous Swedish clothing retail brand H&M was boycotted by the Chinese people. Many Chinese artists announced the termination of cooperation with the brand.
In 2019, Daryl Morey, general manager of the NBA Houston Rockets, expressed support for anti-government demonstrators in Hong Kong after posting on Twitter, which immediately triggered resistance from Chinese netizens. The Chinese state media immediately announced the suspension of NBA games, and the broadcast did not resume until October last year.
The three international fashion brands of Coach, Versace and Givenchy were also found to be sold in the clothing in 2019. They suspected that Taiwan and Hong Kong were listed as separate countries. Netizens resisted on a large scale.