“Betelnut Beauties” 檳榔西施 are a unique Taiwan phenomenon that have garnered a fair amount of attention on the blogsphere, including three posts (here, here, and here) on BoingBoing. And an extensive set of links on this page maintained by David of David on Formosa. Some of the pictures and links are really quite good, but I’ve refrained from writing about it myself because the Western fascination with oriental women as sexual objects on display is such a tiresome trope and I had little to add to it … till now.
I just had to blog about these Betelnut beauty action figures that emKid found in a Taiwan Blockbuster.
I still don’t have much to say, except that I must immediately go out and get one … for my research, of course.
The first link above is to the Wikipedia page on Betelnut Beauties, from where I finally learned why they are called “Xi Shi” in Chinese:
Xi Shi (西施) was one of the renowned Four Beauties of ancient China. She was said to have lived during the end of Spring and Autumn Period in Zhuji, the capital of the ancient State of Yue.
Although, interestingly, these action figures seem to use the term: Lamei 辣妹 which was how the band The Spice Girls was translated into Chinese and has been a popular term ever since.
(via Michael Turton)