Birthmarks and Beauty (Chinese Folk Belief)

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Chinese
Age: 18
Occupation: Student
Residence: Maryland, USA
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/24/19
Primary Language: Chinese
Other Language(s): English

Context/Background: This informant is from China, but currently resides in the U.S. In their culture, there are many belief systems and stereotypes based on features within the modes of attributing value.

Informant:

“[In Chinese culture], the most beautiful people have moles and birthmarks bc the gods were jealous of the beauty so they want to make them imperfect.”

Introduction: As a part of Chinese culture, the informant was immersed in its social principles and beliefs; this being one of them.

Analysis/Interpretation: When I hear this, I think it’s actually really touching because of the idea brought forth that something that makes someone “imperfect” actually being very much worthy of admiration. I’ve found in American culture at least, there are pervasive ideas surrounding imperfection, and while they may not be specifically steered towards birthmarks, there are many standardized and normalized ideas of beauty. Additionally, this does not go to characterize or ostracize an entire region, but merely accentuates my appreciate for small parts of cultures that challenge a traditionally enforced idea of what validates someone.