We’re running a photo series this week called “Beauty Talks” by Nicole Chan — exploring the shifting standards of female beauty in a rapidly changing China.

During the Cultural Revolution, many youth took it upon themselves to help purge the nation of “bourgeois elements.” Attire that deviated from the Mao suit was seen as anti-nationalistic, and women were encouraged to cut their hair. Through the desexualization of women, beauty became linked to patriotism. Able-bodied women who joined the labor force were idealized. The Red Guard’s blind loyalty to Mao and “the little red book” resulted in the countless deaths and widespread destruction.

Model: Tong Yuxin (Inez)

Photo Assistants: Richard Lewei Huang, Harry Lee