8 Strange Selfies that Demonstrate China’s Excess


Welcome to the strange and mysterious land of the PRC. Whether it be decadent rich kids, hairy feminists, anti-environmentalists, or outspoken intellectuals, this new selfie-obsessed generation demonstrates China’s new idiosyncrasies that have come as a result of wealth excess. Read on to find out which strange selfie pics 自拍照片 are floating around the PRC digital space…

1. Belly Button Selfies

A strange new trend has overtaken young people in China — it’s referred to as the “Belly Button Challenge,” and it consists of people attempting to touch their belly buttons by twisting their arms behind their back. The trend claims that If you are one of the few who can accomplish this, it means you have a “good figure.”

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The internet trend claims that if your arm can reach your belly button from behind, then you have a good figure

The unique hashtag trend#反手摸到肚脐身材好# or “reaching your belly button from behind to show your good figure” was mentioned on Weibo over 130 million times, according to the BBC a targets mainly young females. One user’s Weibo page, however, turned the trend upside-down. A pudgy kid called Sough Sa uploaded his successful belly button photo, which received thousands of likes and comments like, “You go Buddha! Show those skinny girls how it’s done.”’

Pudgy Glee
pudgy selfie

Fat Boy Not-So-Slim “shows the skinny girls how it’s done”

2. Hairy Armpit Selfies

GURL…just let it all out! The subject of female body hair and shaving as a social norm has been long discussed in China and around the world. This hairy armpit selfie competition is just one in many other global campaigns encouraging Chinese women to submit photos of their unshaven legs, armpits, upper lips, etc. as a feminist campaign against societal body image pressures: “every part of us is beautiful.”


Chinese women post photos of their hairy armpits as a feminist statement against societal body image pressures

The competition page stated “Girls, you should have confidence that you are beautiful just the way you are, shaven or not.”  In China, it remains fairly acceptable to be unshaven in public. Even in bigger cities, seeing body hair is just as much the norm as seeing none.


“Girls, you should have confidence that you are beautiful just the way you are, shaven or not.”

 3. Plastic Barbie Selfies

Meet the real life Chinese Barbie, a 15 year old girl named Danae from Zhengzhou City, Henan Province. Her plastic doll-like looks has caused much interest and controversy over the internet, with many denouncing her looks as evident of heavy plastic surgery, photo shop alteration, and symbolic of overall societal decay–such that young girls aspire to look like dolls.

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Infamous for her plastic looks, 15-year-old internet celebrity Danae fires back to her criticizers on the web

What’s even more shocking than her unnatural features is the extravagant lifestyle she leads. She often posts pictures of herself in hotels and resorts, donning brand-name shoes and accessories, getting new tattoos, and lounging about in revealing outfits.

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Danae often posts photos on Weibo of her lavish lifestyle buying luxury items and lounging around in revealing outfits

Danae fired back to her critics on Weibo: “Those people bashing me: When you were 15, did you get presented with branded perfumes on a daily basis? Were you chauffeured around in luxury cars? How much of the world have you seen at the age of 15? Did you have 500,000 yuan (US$80,415) of pocket-money to spend every month when you were 15? If you didn’t then shut up, you are in no position to be bashing me. We have to live with the times to survive in today’s society, we can’t afford to be at a disadvantage at the starting line…”

Yes Danae, we all feel so terrible for you. We’ll make sure to shed a plastic tear…just for you.

4. Political Power Selfie

“It’s selfie time! Thanks Premier Li” India’s prime minister Narendra Modi tweeted to his 12.3 million followers on his Twitter account @NarendraModi. Modi posted a selfie with Li Keqiang, premier of the People’s Republic of China, informally called China’s prime minister, in front of the Temple of Heaven in Central Beijing.

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This “Ch-Indian” selfie featuring the leaders of China and India was named the “Most Powerful Selfie in the World,” receiving 2,200 shares within the first two hours of it being posted

This “Ch-indian” selfie received 2,200 shares within the first two hours of it being posted and is been called the “Most Powerful Selfie in the World”. Modi and Li drive economic policy in their respective countries–India and China, two of the world’s fastest-growing large economies. Between them, India and China account for over a third of the world’s population.

Modi has made it a ritual to shoot selfies in every country he has visited so far, including with leaders like Australia’s Tony Abbott. However, this “Ch-Indian” selfie with Li Keqiang is far too reminiscent of the popular news headlines about Chinese and Indian economy taking over the world. Next photo: “World Domination Selfie.”

5. Decadent Wealth Selfie

Guo Mei Mei 郭美美, China’s premier scandalous internet celebrity and named “Queen of the Fuerdai (second rich generation),” was accused by a fellow bored son-of-a-wealthy-guy of selling sex in Sanya, China’s main vacation destination. She responded to this accusation by posting a selfie on Weibo and Wechat with 5 million RMB (about 516,000 GBP) in Macau Poker Chips saying “too rich to sell sex”


Guo Mei Mei, premier Chinese internet celebrity and Fu Er Dai Queen, posted a photo of her with 5 Million RMB on Weibo saying “too rich to sell sex”

Later however, while being arrested for huge gambling debts and a false association with the Red Cross Charity Association, Guo admitted to selling sex to high net worth individuals.

fu er dai selfie

Zhang Jia le, the tomboy daughter of Zhang Jun, an electronics, insurance and property tycoon, posts frequent photos to Weibo of her out at clubs surrounded by models and jetting off in her private plane

Zhang Jia le, the tomboy daughter of Zhang Jun, an electronics, insurance and property tycoon, hopes to take Guo Mei Mei’s title as “Queen of the Fu Er Dai.”

6. Surgery Selfies

When heading into surgery, nothing makes you feel more calm than knowing that your doctor will capture and exploit images of your unconscious body all over the internet during your operation. Enter… the Chinese Surgery Selfie.

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Chinese surgeons post a selfie on Weibo and receive 60 million views under the unique hashtag #手术台自拍# or “operating table selfie”

A series of photos recently circulated on Weibo shows Chinese doctors and nurses decked in scrubs, posing with reportedly unconscious patients on the operating table in the operating theater.
The Weibo hashtag #手术台自拍# or “operating table selfie” has already gotten 60 million views.

The Xi’an Bureau of Public Health has taken action, removing three top executives from administrative duties at the privately-run Fengcheng Hospital, reported Xinhua News Agency.

7. Dying Dolphin Selfie

Tourists in Sanya City, Hainan stumbled upon a gravely injured dolphin and began taking selfies with the poor dying creature, which later dies of “excessive bleeding” at a nearby marine park, according to Shanghai Daily.

dying dolphin selfie

This “Dying Dolphin” selfie caused an outrage on Chinese social networks for its lack of respect for living creatures. Tourists took selfies with the suffering creature rather than inform wildlife authorities

The photos caused an outrage on Chinese social networks for its clear lack of respect for living creatures–as the tourists manhandled the distressed animal for their own entertainment instead of alerting wildlife authorities.

8. Leg Gun Selfie

Outspoken contemporary artist Ai Weiwei began posting and collecting viral “leg gun” photos on Instagram, which later was imitated and disseminated all over Chinese social media sites.

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Ai Wei Wei’s “leg-gun” selfie protested Communist Party’s “overuse of power in the name of counterterrorism.”

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The “leg gun” selfie references the “Red Detachment of Women”– a Chinese national ballet where the dancers used their legs as rifles.

Ai explained in an interview with the Associated Press that he started the trend in order to protest against the Communist government, saying that “power is being overused in the name of counterterrorism.”

Many users have noted that the “hand-held leg gun” is a reference to the Red Detachment of Women – a Chinese national ballet where the dancers used their legs as rifles. Other’s believe it’s just another unorthodox method of protesting the Chinese Communist Party in the wake of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Ai Wei Wei’s outspoken attitude and unabashed use of the internet has, on several occasions, landed him in trouble with the Chinese government which heavily restricts, monitors and controls online activity.

Too Many Selfies = Too Much Time to Kill

Whether it be hairy armpits, dying dolphins, or plastic-surgery enhanced minors, China’s bizarre selfie culture demonstrates its new generation’s obsession with wealth, power, and appearances along with its deteriorating moral compass.

About Author

Social Brand Watch (SBW) is a collection of experts in digital, mobile and social media in China. SBW was created to complement Resonance's China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly report focusing on modern marketing methods of the world's top brands in China.

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