Issue 99 (1933), Pages 882–8.

The Modern Girl's Outward Appearance and Essence

Shi Lili

Modern (modeng) means contemporary. It used to be that as long as one lived in present times, one could be considered modern. Ordinary people never used to say "this girl is modern" or "that girl is so un-modern." I believe that anyone with a little bit of knowledge cannot deny this statement. But, haven't people today misinterpreted modern? There are people who say that there is nothing good about modern girls. In fact this is too unjust.

Basically what ordinary people call modern is based solely on outward appearance. A girl wearing the latest fashion of 1933, her hair set in a "permanent wave," blood red lips, and leather shoes 6 or 10 cm high is seen as the modern girl. Indeed it is so. From her appearance she seems to represent the meaning of contemporary. But if this kind of person does not have brains, then isn't it a joke [to call her modern]? It is most unfortunate that today there are in fact so many of this kind of empty, superficial person. As a consequence, modern girls are subjected to strong attacks.

Therefore our explanation of modern must use, at the very least, two standards:

  1. Her outward appearance, while it should be contemporary, it should not be extravagant. Being constrained by old-fashioned things is not really a moral virtue.
  2. Her spirit and brains are most important. How does she think? What is her outlook on life? What are her convictions? Of course, it is not that we expect all modern girls to be extraordinary characters, but at the very least they should measure up to the standard of a contemporary person.

Of these two conditions, without a doubt, the second condition is much more important; after all, isn't the modern girl's inner substance always more important than her external appearance?

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