As mentioned in my previous post, all research projects face difficulties. For me, I’m struggling to figure out the exact topic that I will write about and whether or not the topic is feasiable. I had started with the big umbrella of models and China but then narrowed down to model treatment. What I fear is that I will not find enough substantial primary sources to produce a ten page paper. A different shift on the topic is to look more at China’s first international supermodel Liu Wen and her portrayal in China. These two ideas are great starting points but I have to do my research on the topics and really choose a direction to go in and stick with it. Hopefully, as sources arise it will become more clear which topic works better.
I am incredibly excited about my research project and the topic I have chosen. That being said, my research has had it’s setbacks. It’s incredibly difficult to find primary sources coming from model’s perspectives. Many models are fearful about posting their personal feelings on the internet about the industry which has limited my ability to find sources. Once I dig a little deeper, I am hopeful that I will be able to find more accounts from models because that has been my biggest setback in this project.
Other than that, I have lucked out in the amount of primary sources that I have found. Many scholars have written on Chinese gender inequalities, working conditions and the difficulties that women experience in the workplace.
Overall, I am looking forward to diving a little deeper into this project over the next few weeks.
For my research paper, I am looking at the Chinese Modeling Industry and how the modeling industry has transformed because of outside influences. Most importantly, I am interested in looking at how models are treated in China. Often, models speak out about the inadequate living situation, untenable working conditions and poor relations with other models.
Since my project topic is contemporary, I am using social media to look at the modeling industry. The most notable Chinese model is a young woman named Liu Wen. She has become an international model and a national icon for the younger Chinese generation. Wen’s instragram account is one of the primary sources I will be using. On her account, she posts pictures of herself in certain shoots, promotional items she has received and the glamorous places she has visited. Wen’s account provides a very positive and idealistic image of modeling and to the viewer, makes modeling seem very appealing. For Wen’s personal benefit, her instagram does not reflect any bad aspect of the industry but as a historian, I need to see that bad side of the modeling world. Wen’s instagram appearance is so positive that it’s hard find any pitfall in the modeling world.
I am glad to use social media as a part of my research project but am finding that social media is providing me a very skewed and one sided picture of the Chinese modeling world.
Liu Wen featured on the cover of Vogue
source: instagram account of liuwenlw