Friday March 14th

Friday March 14th

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


3 Responses »

  1. I am really looking forward to your project. It has so much potential and I am curious to see what you find out. It’s interesting that you chose to use a source where most of the information seems to show possibly the opposite of what you may be looking for. Though, seeing all sides and aspects of the industry, how it’s projected, and how it’s perceived, is definitely important. Especially since she is such a famous and influential person, it will be interesting to continue to dig through her modeling career, media accounts, interviews, and see what you find. I’m excited to see what you find!

  2. Perhaps instead of bemoaning the inherent weakness of social media as a research source (I don’t know how I would do it) you approach social media as compared with foreign social media? I admit, comparing instagram quality would be difficult, but I find myself interested in whether or how well your model’s dark lives can be seen through social media, perhaps including those other than this one. If it’s all sunshine, does that reflect control over the medium? The inappropriateness of the medium for dark messages? A lackluster attention paid to the social medium? I would be interested if the answer changes with the medium, i.e. instagram (pictures) to twitter (short messages). I hope you can come up with a few theories for me.

  3. I think your project topic is very interesting. When we think of models, we don’t think of the poor ways they are/ could be treated. In addition, I really like the face that you are using social media as primary sources; in today’s world, everyone is on social media. However, the real question is, are people always honest on social media?! Like you said, “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.” Therefore, I would either use the model’s managers instagram to see how he/she portrays their models or other sources such as articles.

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