Posts tagged with "Weibo"

Hired help: Professional bridesmaids are a booming growth industry in China—but height rules apply

July 25, 2022

Traditionally, being asked by a friend or a relative to be a bridesmaid has been considered an honor—but, in China, the job of being at a bride’s side is becoming a booming growth industry, reports Fortune.

Indeed, the magazine says, professional bridesmaids are increasingly becoming the norm for Chinese women as they plan their wedding days.

One bridesmaid and groomsman rental company based in the Chinese city of Hangzhou  that its number of registered members has grown to 50,000 since its February launch, and that it has received 10 to 20 orders per day over the past month.

Bridesmaids can be hired through wedding planners or companies that specialize in the niche industry, but services also are advertised on social media platforms like Weibo.

On TikTok—known as Douyin in China—a hashtag that translates to “rent bridesmaids” presents users with multiple videos on the topic, and  a video  from a Guangdong-based bridesmaid rental studio offers professional bridesmaids who can “save worry and effort,” but “will not steal the limelight.”

Brides reportedly are able to make demands about prospective bridesmaids’ looks, weight, and personality, and even their academic accomplishments.

Xie Yuke—a 22-year-old woman who has traveled more than 140,000 kilometers (around 87,000 miles) to earn a living as a professional bridesmaid all over China—told Chinese state-run news outlet Sixth Tone on Monday, July 18, that the pandemic had helped the rent-a-bridesmaid industry.

According to Xie, bridesmaids need to be unmarried and cannot be taller than the bride. She said an ideal height for an aspiring professional bridesmaid was between 5 feet 11 and 5 feet 8.

Generally, pro bridesmaids earn a daily rate between 500 and 2,000 yuan ($74 and $295), Xie told Sixth Tone.

A typical day on the job would see Xie wake up at 4:30 a.m. to get ready for the wedding, and she would be expected to spend the day taking photos, entertaining guests, and making toasts until the wedding banquet ends at around 8 p.m. When she works at a wedding, Xie said, she usually pretends to be a friend or classmate of the bride.

While Xie attributed the boom in demand for professional bridesmaids to the pandemic, there is also a darker side to why some women opt to rent strangers to join their wedding party.

According to Yang Hu, a senior researcher at the University of Essex’s Department of Sociology, some women take the hiring route because of “the dangers of being a bridesmaid in China.”

“[Bridesmaids] are expected to fend off drinking requests and in a lot of cases drink Chinese rice wine on behalf of the bride,” he explained in a 2016 blog post.

“It is a widespread tradition that the newlyweds should toast bottoms up to every wedding guest on an individual basis—meaning that the bridesmaid often ends up drinking on behalf of the bride and overconsuming alcohol. In fulfilling their obligation, some of them suffer from alcohol poisoning or even risk death.”

He added that bridesmaids also act as the final “hurdle” before the groom can enter the bridal suite after the wedding, which often leads to the groom and groomsmen carrying out “stunts laced with sexual innuendo.”

“In many cases, bridesmaids are unwillingly involved in sexual stunts designed for the newlyweds,” Yang said. “In extreme cases, some are stripped of their clothes and molested, or attacked.”

He noted that most reports of alcohol poisoning, sexual harassment, and abuse of bridesmaids are concentrated in China’s rural areas and provinces.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Elon Musk’s Chinese doppelgänger, Yilong Ma, is suspended from nation’s versions of TikTok, Twitter

May 20, 2022

Elon Musk‘s viral Chinese doppelgänger, Yilong Ma, appears to have been suspended on the Chinese versions of TikTok and Twitter, reports Business Insider. 

At press time, Insider saw that Ma’s page on Douyin—China’s version of TikTok —had been purged of all content. At the same time, a content-restriction notification citing a violation of the platform’s policies was slapped on Ma’s page on Weibo, the country’s Twitter-like platform.

Representatives from Douyin’s parent company, Bytedance, and Weibo’s parent company, Sina, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

In a response to press queries from Insider, Ma said he had not received an appropriate explanation from Weibo or Douyin on why his account was suspended. At press time, he had not responded to a follow-up request from Insider to verify via video call if he truly resembled Musk.

At press time, Ma’s page on the international version of TikTok, where he is known by the username “Elong Musk,” was still active. Ma has more than 239,000 followers on the platform, with about 3.9 million likes on his videos.

“All platform videos are ported, I only have TikTok. I love you,” said the profile description on Ma’s TikTok page. Ma first went viral on Douyin  in November 2020 for videos that appeared to show a striking resemblance to Musk. He later attracted the attention of Musk when the Tesla CEO quipped in response to a clip of Ma that he, too, may be “partly Chinese.”

Ma subsequently uploaded several videos on TikTok, including one in which he expressed his thoughts on Musk’s high-profile acquisition of Twitter. In this clip, he points excitedly at a printout of the Twitter icon, calling it “my bird!”

Ma’s latest video on TikTok is a photo compilation of him posing in front of a Tesla, captioned: “I want to take my brother for a ride in my Tesla! #elonmusk #tesla.”

Ma’s popularity later led to the Tesla CEO saying he would like to meet Ma in person. “I’d like to meet this guy (if he is real),” Musk tweeted. “Hard to tell with deepfakes these days.”

“I am here. I want very much to see you too! I love you, you are my hero,” Ma wrote in response to the billionaire in a post on Weibo.

Research contact: @BusinessInsider