Vogue's latest photo of Chinese model with small eyes causes controversy in China

Chinese netizens wondered if Vogue was "uglifying" Asians or perpetuating a stereotype of Chinese features by using her photo, with some netizens calling the move "discrimination" and claiming that the same standard would not apply to Caucasian model
Chinese netizens wondered if Vogue was "uglifying" Asians or perpetuating a stereotype of Chinese features by using her photo, with some netizens calling the move "discrimination" and claiming that the same standard would not apply to Caucasian models.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/VOGUEMAGAZINE

A photo of a Chinese model with small eyes has sparked an online debate in China over Chinese beauty and alleged stereotyping of Asians.

Fashion magazine Vogue shared the photo of Ms Gao Qizhen on its official Instagram on Sunday (March 3).

It said in the caption that "as a model", the "Shanghai-born textile-design student at the London College of Fashion... brings a kind of singular appeal".

It added that Ms Gao was "scouted in the campus canteen on her lunch break", and that "one of the photographers who spotted her was assisting at the London-based Anti-Agency (which prides itself on its iconoclastic taste)".

Ms Gao was quoted as saying: "Anti is a word that applies perhaps as a negative thing in some fields, but in terms of fashion and modelling, I think it challenges the norms of beauty and looks."

However, Chinese netizens wondered if Vogue was "uglifying" Asians or perpetuating a stereotype of Chinese features by using her photo, with some netizens calling the move "discrimination" and claiming that the same standard would not apply to Caucasian models.

They called for Vogue to apologise and take down the photo, but there were netizens who praised Ms Gao's uniqueness and said there should be a diverse range of the definitions of beauty.

Last month, fashion brand Zara was criticised by netizens in China after one of its advertisements featured a female Chinese model with freckles on her face.