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Sexy Photo Shoot Featuring Feminist Chinese Comedian Sparks Debate

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One of China’s most famous comedians, Li Xueqin, has been caught in the middle of a debate about ‘sexiness’ after a recent photoshoot of her posing in a men’s magazine was released.

Li has made a name for herself in China thanks to her quick wit and pointed jokes about the Chinese patriarchy which garnered her legions of fans who love her critiques of how ridiculous Chinese society’s expectations of women are.

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This is why the photoshoot she did for men’s magazine For Him caused quite a stir. The Chinese edition of the British lifestyle magazine routinely features scantily-clad women in various provocative poses, and given Li’s image as a feminist icon amongst her fans, some took issue with it and accused her of hypocrisy.

Though the pictures weren’t extremely outrageous, for Li, who rarely shows skin in her own pictures or during public events, the shoot could be seen to be more risqué.

li xueqing

li xueqingNetizens immediately started debating whether the pictures were about Li embracing her own sexuality or if they made her an object of the male gaze. One user commented, “this isn’t suited to her and doesn’t express the funny, smart, lovely Li Xueqin.” Another added, “the photos are clearly produced from the angle of the male gaze.”

However, others were quick to jump to her defense, arguing that it was her own choice to pose for the pictures and that “Feminism is all about giving women free choice. They can cover up or expose their bodies as they want.”

Li has yet to comment on the debate herself. However, before the photoshoot, she did post on her Weibo account saying that she was nervous about it. “I don’t know how to do those sexy poses. It will be awkward for me to pose like that.”

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All images via Weibo

Chloe Yorke
    Chloe was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Shanghai and San Francisco. She is currently studying Chinese at Durham University in the UK and is passionate about Chinese art and culture.