Images of women in Chinese magazines

Danwei TV's next episode is a Sexy Beijing show about feminism and International Women's Day in China. Our research included looking at the following magazines, all from March and April 2007.


Pinwei (品位) or 'Taste' is a women's magazine that is published in the increasingly popular small, handbag-sized format.

Interestingly enough, the magazine does not contain a masthead and does not display a Chinese publication license number. This is illegal in China. However, according to a page on the Chinese magazine website, Pinwei is published by the Shanghai Light Industry Press (山海经报刊总社) - state-owned publishers don't always have to obey the law.

In addition to the standard women's magazine type of content, Pinwei has a focus on careers. The main cover line on this issue (April) is 'Bitter or sweet, the experiences of six Chinese people living abroad'.

The advertising-packed Cosmopolitan (时尚) continues to thrive despite its mediocrity. This issue's main feature 'Living in China is so cool!' features a number of Chinese and Western people who er, think that living in China is cool. Another large feature story is about surviving job interviews at big corporations.

Fengdu (风度) is the Chinese edition of Maxim magazine. It is produced by Beijing Crossline Advertising Company, which is owned by the South China Morning Post group. The masthead lists two state-owned entities — the 'Authority in Charge' is China Foreign Language Publishing Distribution Bureau and the 'Sponsor' Beijing Weekly Press (北京周刊社). Despite (or perhaps because of) these well connected partners, Maxim China's cover has never contained the English name of the magazine.

This image shows the March edition. The cover girl is Wu Junmei. The main feature story is about criminal gangs and the Mafia.

FHM (男人装) is produced by the Trends Group which also publishes in China. This is the March issue featuring Zeng Li on the cover and a long story about the sybaritic life of the the king of Brunei. The photos below are from the photo spread of Zeng Li, which has a La Femme Nikita theme.

Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated (体育画报) is published in China by SEEC, the group most famous for publishing investigative business magazine Caijing. The cover pictured here is the March issue — a picture for picture reproduction of the U.S. edition's famous swimsuit issue. The cover girl is Beyoncé.

Some magazines dispense with clothing altogether and go straight for body art. Photographers' Companion (摄影之友) can be counted to feature a different award-winning nude photo on its cover most months, although its contents run more toward general interest photography.

This cover hung in plain sight at a local newsstand throughout March; the model on the April cover is positioned a bit more modestly.

UPDATE: In the comments, Micah asked about Bosom Friend (知音) and Ray Li (瑞丽) magazines, both of which were featured in this early Danwei TV Hard Hat show episode):

There are currently 6 Comments for Images of women in Chinese magazines.

Comments on Images of women in Chinese magazines

Can't wait...

One thing I like to say, I suppose it is semi related... Zeng Li is hot...

Bye bye...

Ah-ha, the reason my comment is related is:

This shows that FHM marketing schemes are working. I'm definitely a subset of their intended audience...

Although I'm in America and this FHM China is mainly for people in China.

Anyway the point is that Zeng Li is hot.

So Jay... are you saying that Zeng Li is hot?

How about 知音 or 瑞丽? 知音 especially.

"Bosom Friend" (知音) was mentioned by an interviewee in an early Danwei TV episode.

yeah I remember that one...

Beijing wanbao, wanbao, wanbao...

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