The Naked Ladies With The Pink Ribbon

(Zhejiang News Net via Xinhua Net)  June 9, 2006.

[in translation]

On June 8, a public interest advertisement with semi-nude women appeared on the advertisement boards of the major public transportation stops in the city of Changsha.  The advertisement was on behalf of the Pink Ribbon campaign.  The three women were Xu Jing (a popular program host at a Hunan television station), Chen Dan (the lead television host at a Changsha television station) and Lisa (a third-year university student majoring in international economics).  The attractive photograph and the status of the three women made this a hot topic in Changsha.

What is the purpose of this semi-nude public interest advertisement?  Fame?  Fortune?  Or the public health of women?  Yesterday, at the press conference held by the organizers, the three women said that they did so in order to call for attention to women's health issues.

Surprisingly, one of the spokespersons has been suspended at work.  According to informed sources, the reasons were: first, the photograph damages the image of the television station; second, she became a spokesperson without permission from the station, and so this breached organizational discipline.  That night, there was a television news report on the controversy about university student Lisa appearing semi-nude.  That will undoubtedly put a lot of public pressure on the young girl too.  What will this do to women promoting public interest causes?  These three people were subjected to various personal attacks with many critical comments on the Internet.  A worker named Yaya for the organizers wrote: "I don't blame people for criticizing them.  Everybody has his/her own social views and ideas, but they should not hurt these pure and well-meaning girls."

Xu Jing, Chen Dan and Lisa

Here is the statement from Chen Dan (aka Dan Dan), the television star who has been suspended (see 21CN).  This is the explanation why she felt that she had to do this.

[in translation]

One day in late May, I received a telephone call from my good friend Yaya.  So I went into deep thought.  This story began on that day ...or perhaps earlier ...

It does not matter how this affair ends, for it will be one of the most intensive experiences of my life.  Like Lisa, I was born in a single-parent family, but most of my friends and colleagues do not know that.  My own father died in 1991 after a painful experience through surgeries, artificial respiration, and all that.  

Last year, after visiting my adopted father, my mother gave me an extra-large pot lid cover.  You must not laugh, because my mother told me this: twenty-four years ago when I was still an infant, my father bought it to dry my diapers.  (At the time, there were no electric ovens but one can broil stuff on such a lid cover.  She kept it over the years, and she gave it to me as a keepsake.  I am usually an introvert emotionally speaking and I don't usually cry, but the tears covered my face on that day.  My long-departed father!  Even though you have left me many years ago, your love was always with me.

Yet, apart from the fatherly love and the fuzzy images in my memory, he also left me with something else -- a hereditary composite kidney problem.  There is presently no absolute cure.  Even if I get a kidney transplant, I would continue to require anti-bacterial medicine.  During the 24 years of my life, I have lost count of the number of days I had spent in hospitals or the number of days that my poor mother was drowning in her tears.

I don't care if you make fun of me, but my family was very poor at the time.  My mother was just a worker at a terribly inefficient mining enterprise.  She worked in high-temperatures underground in order to make just over 300 yuan per month.  The 300 yuan was enough to let us live, but not for my school tuition or any medical expenses when my condition turned for the worse.  Other people may not be appreciate this, but I as a little child saw my mother get off work every day and rode a bicycle across town to work on a second job.  Once, when my mother was too tired, she cut her hand on the broken glass at the factory.  Over these years, whenever I take her hand, that scar still breaks my heart.  I hate myself for being still too young to help her; indeed, I was her burden.  Even though she worked day and night, it was still too little.  We borrowed money from all our friends and relatives, but they have their own families and there was a limit as to how much they can help us.  At the time, I and my mother longed for other people to help and care about us, for such was the call of every mother when her child is on the rim between life and death.

When I was in fourth grade in elementary school, I fell sick again.  The urine test showed that I was 3+ on red blood cell count and 3+ on albumen count.  My whole tiny body was swollen up and I was lying in the hospital bed getting fed with intravenous fluids.  Although I tried to smile at my mother, I knew that the 1,000 yuan hospital fee was gathered by my mother selling off the refrigerator and television set at home, plus some loans from others.  I knew that we were the sole support for each other.  For many days, I was not getting any better.  When I went to the bathroom, I sometimes saw my mother wiping away her tears inside.  So I did not dare to call her; I stood behind the door and bit my teeth to make that I didn't cry aloud.  At that moment, I hoped so much that someone could help us and care about us.  This was the shout whenever a child felt how difficult it was for the mother.

For a long time, I did not understand why my mother had obvious scratch marks on her forehead and hands, sometimes even bleeding.  Later on, I found out that when my mother was not with me, she went to pray to the gods!  My mother was not a religious person.  Out of helplessness, she went from the bottom of the hill to the Lushan Temple at the top, kneeling and kowtowing step by step.  I don't know how we got by those days.  When my condition turned worse, my mother sat by me and wiped away my tears and hers.  When my condition got better, I pretended that I was bright-spirited and I told stories and jokes to everyone in the ward, because I knew that my mother would be happy to see me getting better.  So the days went by in tears and laughter.  I recovered gradually.  After I got out of the hospital, I could not run and play like other children; I still had to rest as much as possible; I could not wear pretty clothes like the children of rich families.  But I was happy.  I had the joy of survival, as well as more love from my mother.  From that time I understood that I am me, but I am also the continuation of the lives of my father and mother.  I am their greatest hope.

My father and mother brought me into this world to continue their lives!  I will repay them in every way possible to thank them for giving me everything!

When I received the call from Yaya that day, I was initially completely against the idea.  After deep thoughts, I happily agreed.  I went through innumerable internal struggles.  What is the purpose of such an act?  For fame?  No!  I have been a television program host for two years already.  I even worried about hurting those who like me but don't understand this.  For profit?  No.  No amount of money could have made me do this for a commercial advertisement.  Besides, this one was premised upon absolutely no pay.  For the public interest?  Do I really want to pay the price?  I hesitated.  There are so many famous program hosts in Hunan, so why me?  So I turned Yaya down.

But when I found out that many famous people wanted to be the spokesperson but they demanded high fees, I accepted Yaya's request for a no-fee appearance.  There is enough about profits and gains in this world, and there is no reason why a public interest project should be tainted as well.

My personal experience was enough to make my heart ache for every person who needed concern and help just like I did.  At the press conference, Lisa was asked: "Does your mother know that you are doing this?" and she said yes.  At that moment, I told myself that the reason why I am doing this is for my mother!  That was the sole reason why I was willing to be a spokesperson for this public interest campaign about women's health.  I will use my most sincere body language and tread my toes on the minefield of several thousands years of traditional beliefs to call on everybody to pay attention of health and life!

Chen Dan

The following message from Chen Dan was posted at the Changsha TV website (via 6Park)


[in translation]  

I did not receive permission from Changsha TV's Women Channel and I participated the "Clever Women, Love Yourself" campaign organized by a certain Changsha hospital.  My intentions were good because I hope to arouse more concern about women.  But the presentation was inappropriate and led to a widespread response which surprised even myself.  I thank everyone for their attention to this matter as well as their concern for me.  In the future, I will find a more appropriate way to express concern for women."

The following is the 2005 edition of the Pink Ribbon national campaign with three famous celebrities.

ReutersChina irked by topless women's health ad  June 13, 2006.

Related Link:  The Battle of the Turtle Eggs - Feminists versus Naturalists  The above problem is universal, as this Mexican story has the identical issues -- if they showed some turtle eggs instead of a sexy female model, who is going to pay attention?  The fault lies less in the models than the audience.