Influencers will do anything for ‘the ‘Gram’ these days, but they might want to think twice in China — especially with children in their vicinity.
On March 29, Chinese model and influencer Cheng-er (alias), who is based in Hangzhou, issued a public apology on Weibo. The influencer was earlier accused of being a bad influence on kids after she was spotted posing for photographs in public.
Her #OOTD (outfits of the day) included a backless yellow dress and a Japanese-style high school uniform known as a JK.
The mother who filed the complaint told local media, “These girls don’t even wear a bra sometimes, and some even show their open backs. I worry they will be a bad influence on the children in the neighborhood.”
The influencer responded in a video, stating, “I want to apologize to the mother if I caused her to worry. If something like this happens again, please tell my team and me, and we will go to another spot.”
Cheng-er has used the incident to raise awareness of the discrimination faced by some female influencers. In her video, she highlighted how the term ‘female influencer’ has become derogatory and stated that it is nothing more than a profession and should not carry negative connotations.
The hashtag related to the controversy was trending on Weibo and had accumulated more than 200 million views at the time of writing.
Many Chinese netizens have stood by Cheng-er, insisting that it is her right to wear whatever she wants. One wrote, “It is the 21st century. Wearing a backless dress is not a big deal.”
Another pointed out, “If she committed a crime, the law would punish her. If she didn’t, it’s her freedom to do what she wants.”
Some have warned of the dangers of restricting the freedom of others for the sake of ‘protecting children.’ One netizen said, “Next time, people will need to apologize for playing video games in the subway or holding hands in the park. If you don’t know how to properly guide your kid and keep blaming others, what will happen when the kid grows up?”
Conversely, on the other side of the coin, some members of the public have directed blame towards the influencer with comments such as, “She should understand it can be problematic to do sexy poses in public.”
In China, government officials and traditional norms place heavy emphasis upon the protection of minors, often making sure that children aren’t exposed to inappropriate or explicitly sexual content. The incident has proven that for some, such precautions should extend to the real world.
At the same time, the event underscores that a new generation of Chinese youth are against slut-shaming and will actively speak up for women who are comfortable in their own skin.
All images via Weibo
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