“Respect that, bow down bitches / 尊重吧,向她鞠躬”: ‘Flawless’ and Language Learning

Sometimes there are days in as a language student in China where group discussions just make me want to scream and/or smash my head against a wall for not being able to sufficiently articulate myself on the thinly veiled sexism and objectification that lies beneath almost every text or topic that relates to women. At least not in the way I could in English. Yet. 慢慢来。。。

放松一下。。。要继续努力学习吧。。。

I often wish ‘Flawless’ by Beyoncé feat. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche would just miraculously just come on at full volume and convert international classmates and Laoshi alike into supporters of the feminist cause.

Today’s class discussion was about the rapidly growing plastic surgery industry (整形美容界 zhěngxíng měiróng jiè) in China, supplemented with an article that surveyed around a hundred female Chinese university students about plastic surgery trends.

The article claimed that 87.5% of those surveyed had either had plastic surgery or were preparing for a procedure. According to this text, like in South Korea, these students have either had cosmetic surgery on their eyelids and noses or were planning it for after their graduation. They believe it will get them a job. There are other mentions of poorer students who lied to their rural parents that they needed 6000RMB for medical fees, then used it to get cosmetic surgery… There is also a sweeping craze of imitating celebrity faces through plastic surgery, as well as a strong sense of competition cultivated among female graduates who will soon be applying for jobs through the rigid, multi-stage process.

Laoshi then mentioned the viral internet story of a beautiful Chinese mother who had given birth to an average looking baby girl and wanted to have her eyelids and nose done with cosmetic surgery. The baby was a one-year-old. She was promptly ripped to shreds by Chinese netizens.

Growing up in New Zealand, a country of five million people, I recall being taught at primary school about how everyone is ‘unique.’ We made posters about ourselves and drew self portraits. My mama always told me I was beautiful. We were raised believing we were perfect, just the way we are. I grew up karate kicking my leg in the air to the ‘Girl Power!’ message espoused by the Spice Girls. Differences were celebrated in the classroom, though sometimes targeted in the playground.

In China, home to over 1.3 billion people, students are in classes of approximately 50 (predominantly monocultural) students all in the same uniform, and are barely spoken to directly by the teacher on a daily basis, let alone told they are unique. Telling people they are fat or ugly to their face is commonplace. There is a disproportioned sex ratio, as boys are the coveted gender and there can only be one. I can’t imagine what it must be like, growing up in a country which has achieved the level of industrial development that took Europe 200 years, in a mere fraction of the time. All at once.

There is a new generation of little girls with no brothers or sisters, who are surrounded by these ridiculous, airbrushed K-Pop standards of beauty, who are told that they need to be beautiful to find a husband and/or find a job, who are compared against each other and crassly labelled as ‘leftover women’ (剩女 shèngnǚ) if they don’t have a husband by their late 20s. I could cry. Mulling over the normalisation of the cosmetic surgery phenomenon in China’s wider societal context got me so upset, won’t somebody please think of the children?! Evidently, I was way too emotional for a regular morning in 综合 today.

Chengdu is absolutely saturated in plastic surgery advertising. One can barely walk up the road to get noodles in the inner city without spotting a clinic. In some cases, one just needs to step out of their apartment into the elevator to be confronted by it.

Seriously, it is everywhere.

Three different cosmetic ads in one elevator. Taken in March 2015. This one says: "Others have had cosmetic surgery, have you?"
Three different plastic surgery ads in one elevator. This one says: “Others have had cosmetic surgery, have you?” Taken in a Chengdu apartment building, March 2015.

While body positive messages have recently taken down the ‘Beach Body Ready’ advertising campaign in London, such movements are unlikely to emerge against the tidal wave of unrealistic beauty expectations here in China in the foreseeable future.

Baidu has provided a translation of ‘Flawless’ into Chinese, which I’m sure any language student/Beyoncé fan will enjoy reading. I was gonna do ‘Pretty Hurts’ as well, but might be a bit OTT haha.

END RANT.

《Flawless》
演唱:Beyoncé feat. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
所属专辑:《Beyoncé》
发行时间:2013-12-13

“Your challengers are a young group from Houston
你的对手是来自休斯敦的年轻组
Welcome Beyonce, Lativia, Nina, Nicky, Kelly, and Ashley
欢迎碧昂丝,Lativia,妮娜,妮基,凯利,艾希礼
The Hip-Hop Rappin’
嘻哈饶舌的
Girl’s Tyme!”
女孩时光

I’m bout that H, town coming coming down
我在休斯顿外面 来吧,来吧
I’m coming down, drippin’ candy on the ground
我来了,地上有一糖果
H, Town, Town, I’m coming down, coming down
休斯顿,我来了
drippin’ candy on the ground
来了,地上有一糖果

I know when you were little girls
当你还是一个小女孩时
You dreamt of being in my world
你幻想来到我的世界
Don’t forget it, don’t forget it
不要忘了,不要忘了
Respect that, bow down bitches
尊重吧,向她鞠躬
I took some time to live my life
我过我的生活
But don’t think I’m just his little wife
我不仅仅是他的妻子
Don’t get it twisted, get it twisted
不要曲解,不要曲解
This my shit, bow down bitches
这是我的地盘,向她鞠躬
Bow down bitches, bow bow down bitches (Crown)
向她鞠躬,向她鞠躬
Bow down bitches, bow bow down bitches (Crown)
向她鞠躬,向她鞠躬
H Town bitches
休斯顿 热烈,
H, H Town bitches
休斯顿 热烈
I’m so crown crown, bow down bitches

We teach girls to shrink themselves
我们教女孩子要有内涵
To make themselves smaller
让她们更小巧
We say to girls
我们告诉她们:
You can have ambition
要有抱负,
But not too much
但不用太大
You should aim to be successful
你要向往成功
But not too successful
但不必太成功
Otherwise you will threaten the man
不然,你会比男人强势
Because I am female
因为我是女人,
I am expected to aspire to marriage
我渴望结婚
I am expected to make my life choices
我总是希望做好生活的抉择
Always keeping in mind that
一直认为婚姻
Marriage is the most important
是最重要的
Now marriage can be a source of
婚姻是快乐与爱的来源,
Joy and love and mutual support
是相互支持
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
但是为什么我们只要女孩向往婚姻
And we don’t teach boys the same?
而不要求男孩?
We raise girls to each other as competitors
我告诉女孩看好自己的竞争对手
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
不为工作,不为成就,
Which I think can be a good thing
我认为这是一件好事
But for the attention of men
为了引起男人的注意
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
我们告诉女孩,不要做
In the way that boys are
性感的人,这是男人要做的
Feminist: the person who believes in the social
女权主义者:有人相信在社会上是存在的
Political, and economic equality of the sexes
政治,性别上的经济平等

Chorus / 副歌:

You wake up, flawless
你醒来,完美,
Post up, flawless
起来,完美
Ride round in it, flawless
四处走走,完美,
Flossin on that, flawless
化妆,完美
This diamond, flawless
这颗钻石,完美,
My diamond, flawless
我的钻石,完美
This rock, flawless
这颗石,完美,
My rock, flawless
我的石,完美
I woke up like this
我就这样醒来,
I woke up like this
我就这样醒来
We flawless, ladies tell ’em
我们很完美,女士们,告诉他们
I woke up like this
我就这样醒来,
I woke up like this
我就这样醒来
We flawless, ladies tell ’em
我们很完美,女士们,告诉他们
Say I, look so good tonight
说:今晚,我感觉很好
God damn, God damn
该死的,该死的
Say I, look so good tonight
说:今晚,我感觉很好
God damn, God damn
该死的,该死的

Momma taught me good home training
妈妈教给我好的教养
My Daddy taught me how to love my haters
爸爸教我要热爱讨厌的人
My sister taught me I should speak my mind
姐姐教我要有自己的主张
My man made me feel so God damn fine
我的男友使我感觉如此地好 我很完美

Repeat chorus / 重复副歌

“The Judges give champion Skeleton Group 4 Stars
评论给骨骼组合 照例四颗星
A perfect score
满分
And the challenger Girl’s Tyme receives, 3 stars
挑战者,女孩时光,三颗星
Skeleton Groove, champions once again
骨骼组合又是冠军
Congratulations, we’ll see you next week.”
祝贺,下星期再见

Bow down, bitches! Translation text taken from this Baidu thread, to which I’ve made a few small corrections.

You are beautiful! 

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One thought on ““Respect that, bow down bitches / 尊重吧,向她鞠躬”: ‘Flawless’ and Language Learning”

  1. Actually, fuck it haha:

    《Pretty Hurts》
    所属专辑:《Beyoncé》
    发行时间:2013-12-13

    Ms. Third Ward, your first question – what is your aspiration in life?
    第三世界小姐,首先我想问你,你的人生目标是什么?
    Beyoncé: Oh…my aspiration in life…would be…to be happy.
    我的人生目标…就是…是快快乐乐

    Mama said you’re a pretty girl
    妈妈说你是个漂亮的女孩
    What’s in your head
    你的思想
    It doesn’t matter
    不必看重
    Brush your hair
    梳理你的秀发
    Fix your teeth
    修整你的牙齿
    What you wear
    你的穿着
    Is all that matter
    才是重点

    Just another stage
    只是另一个舞台
    Pageant the pain away
    盛会把痛苦掩盖
    This time I’m gonna take the crown
    这一次我将要卫冕花冠
    Without falling down down down
    不会坠落 坠落 坠落

    Pretty hurts [2]
    美丽的伤痛
    We shine the light on whatever’s worst
    我们照亮一切最糟糕的
    Perfection is a disease of a nation
    完美是这个国家的毒根
    Pretty hurts, pretty hurts
    美丽的伤痛,美丽的伤痛

    Pretty hurts
    美丽的伤痛
    We shine the light on whatever’s worst
    我们照亮一切最糟糕的
    We try to fix something
    我们试着去修理某些东西
    But ya can’t fix whatcha can’t see
    但你对着看不见空气也无济于事
    It’s the soul that needs surgery
    这是灵魂需要进行手术

    Blonder hair
    浅色的头发
    Flat chest
    扁平的胸部
    TV says
    电视上说
    Bigger is better
    越大越好
    South beach
    南沙滩
    Sugar free
    无糖
    Vogue says
    时尚界说
    Thinner is better
    越瘦越好

    Just another stage
    只是另一个舞台
    Pageant the pain away
    盛会把痛苦掩盖
    This time I’m gonna take the crown
    这一次我将要卫冕花冠
    Without falling down down down
    不会坠落 坠落 坠落

    Ain’t got no doctor or pill that can take the pain away
    没有医生或药能医好这种伤
    The pains inside and nobody frees you from your body
    这伤口藏匿于体内,没人能解放你的身体
    It’s my soul it’s my soul that needs surgery
    这是我的灵魂,我的灵魂需要进行手术
    It’s my soul that needs surgery
    我的灵魂需要手术

    Plastic smiles and denial can only take you so far
    假笑与节制只能帮你到这
    Then you break when the fake facade leaves you in the dark
    在你所营造的假象秘密地离开你时,你便结束了
    Left with shattered mirrors and the shards
    离开时带走打破的镜子及碎片
    Of a beautiful past
    这承载着美丽的过去

    Chorus

    Pretty hurts, pretty hurts……
    美的折磨,美的折磨

    When you are alone all by yourself
    当你独自一个人时
    When you’re lying in your bed
    当你躺在自己床上时
    Reflection stares right into you
    反射性地凝视着自己的外表
    Are you happy with yourself?
    你会为自己高兴吗
    Stripped away the masquerade
    剥去全部的伪装
    The illusion has been shed
    幻觉被抽离
    Are you happy with yourself?
    你还会快快乐乐吗

    Yes
    会的

    via: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_7630c66d0102v1vu.html

    Like

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