Visualizing Beauty
Gender and Ideology in Modern East Asia
Edited by Aida Yuen Wong
April 2012
200 pages
7" x 10", 67 illustrations, 21 in color
HK$195 (Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China, and Taiwan only)
US$25 (Other Countries)
Paperback 978-988-8083-90-9
HK$350 (Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China, and Taiwan only)
US$50 (Other Countries)
Hardback 978-988-8083-89-3

What does it mean to be a modern woman in Asia? How do institutionalized gender divisions affect creativity? Whose interests does the pursuit of beauty serve? Is being beautiful empowering, and in what context? How do physical expressions of femininity alter women’s status in society?

Visualizing Beauty examines the intersections between feminine ideals and changing socio-political circumstances in China, Japan, and Korea during the first half of the twentieth century. Eight essays present a broad range of visual products that informed concepts of beauty and womanhood, including fashion, interior design magazines, newspaper illustrations, and paintings of and by women. Studying “Traditional Woman” and “New Woman” as historical categories, this anthology contemplates the complex relations between feminine subjectivity and the promotion of modernity, commerce, and colonialism.

Aida Yuen Wong is Associate Professor of Fine Arts and Chair of the East Asian Studies Program at Brandeis University.


“These insightful essays investigate perceptions of women in East Asia during the first half of the twentieth century through different visual cultures, and will be essential reading for those interested in how women figured at a time of emerging nationalism and modernities.” —Tina Yee-wan Pang, Curator, University Museum and Art Gallery, University of Hong Kong