Ling long Women's Magazine

About Ling long > The Ling long Woman

Ling long. Vol. 4, issue 129 (1934), page 225

Caption: “Our empress of the cinema, Miss Hu Die.” Hu starred in the 1934 film Zi mei hua (Twin Sisters). v. 4, issue 129 (1934), p. 225

Click here for item information Ling long. Vol. 2, issue 56 (1932), page 263

Caption: “From these few pictures you can see female sentiment. There is absolutely no way men can express this. These so-called good friends are inseparable. The unfortunate thing is that after marriage they suddenly become cold and indifferent.” v. 2, issue 56 (1932), page 263

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In the 1930s, the New Woman swept the globe. Everywhere from New York to Paris to Tokyo, people noted a new type of woman-about-town: urban, sophisticated, educated, and fashionable. In many ways, Shanghai's New Woman was little different from her global counterparts; she bobbed her hair and challenged gender boundaries just like they did. Yet she was also born in a particular modern Chinese context full of contradictions. Reformers idealized the New Woman as free and liberated, an example of China's break from her oppressive and conservative past. Critics of the New Woman, however, suggested that her excessive consumption and unrootedness represented the dangers of unbridled modernity and foreign influences.

The Ling long woman epitomized the Shanghai New Woman. She lived in both the fantasy world of popular culture and on the streets of everyday Shanghai. Photographs in the magazine ranged from glamorous movie stars to the actual authors of articles, and from society ladies to students. Just as the Ling long woman had multiple identities, the magazine called her a variety of both Chinese and English names: xin nuxing 新女性 and xin nuzi 新女子 (new woman); xiandai nuzi 現代女子 (contemporary woman); modeng nuxing 摩登女性 (modern woman, modern girl, girl of this age, and girl of today).

Ling long writers explored what it meant to be an urban, educated woman in the 1930s, although they did not always agree. Marriage was one of the subjects inspiring different viewpoints. Some authors instructed readers about ways to run an ordered, hygienic, modern household, while other writers advocated never getting married. Readers joined in these discussions with letters to the editor on questions ranging from dating to child care.

When they opened the magazine, readers walked into the world of the Ling long woman. This world offered readers a fantasy, allowing them to transcend their everyday lives, but it was also a reflection of their lives. The Ling long woman was an elegant movie star; but she was also a good friend—a real urban woman.

Related articles from Ling long
(English translations):

"Being a Contemporary Girl" (1934)

"The Modern Girl's Outward Appearance and Essence" (1933)

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