Living in China,  My Life

In China I’m both fat and beautiful

As a white female foreigner in China there are two things Chinese people seem to think about me. One of them is that I’m extremely beautiful with my Western look and white skin. Other is that I’m fat because I weight more than 100斤 (50kg).

In China 100 seems to be a magical number for girls and women. It comes up in TV series I watch once in a while. You should absolutely never weight more than 100斤 (50kg). And if you do, well there’s no clothes you can buy, there’s no man who wants you and so on.

Not looking like a 10 year-old school girl makes me huge in China. I might be size M in Finland, but that’s like XXXL in China. When I leave the house I still look good, but then I go outside and suddenly I’m a giant. Not tall and skinny like Russian girls (then why everyone thinks I’m Russian then?), not short and skinny like Chinese girls. In Finland I’m called average, in China it’s fat.

But then again I hear constantly how beautiful I am. People can’t get their eyes off me and I hear “wow”  being whispered (or shouted) every week. People comment how white my skin is (white=beautiful). A classmate’s mom (Vietnamese) told me over and over how beautiful I look when we had dinner with friends.

It’s like Chinese (and other East-Asian) people can’t really decide if I’m more fat or more beautiful. Just to give you a hint, other is a compliment, another one is just asking for trouble.

This blog post was published in 2012, want to read more about my recent life? Check out My Life category.


  • Jimbo

    I expect your body type will confuse Asians, who have devised their standards based on all the other Asians on the street. Asian girls store the majority of their body fat around their midsection – not great looking, so they all try to stay stick-thin. Western girls, on the other hand, look better with a bit of fat on their bodies, as it initially goes to the “nicer” places. They’re judging your body by the wrong standards.

    Additionally, Asian men love the way westerner women tend to look (especially the breasts!) and yet are intimidated when they meet western women in person. They are physically larger/stronger than the blow-away-in-a-strong-wind Asian girls they’re used to. This is why a some western women get a feeling of love/hate obsession from Asian men (I’ve mainly read about this happening in Japan, but it’s not a stretch to apply it to China too!)

    Anyway, don’t let it get to you! Just bear in mind the ones who call you fat are likely either intimidated (the men) or jealous (the girls) ;)

    Blfortune Reply:

    She is not fat but definitely overweight. I am amazed that westerners find overweight westerns girls attractive and compliments them on being curvy. It is also a misconception that Asian men are intimated with western girls. Western media always portray Asian men to be like that, probably they find it is an insult that most Asian men do not find Western girls attractive.

    As a Asian man myself I would not find the girl in this photo attractive ( this type of western girl with this body shape and looks are very common in Western countries) She has very broad shoulder and the chest above the breast are also very board which are common among western girls. Her thighs are also bulky.

    Overweight and obesity (OO) have also become a serious problem in Western countries where 68% and 63% of the people in USA and Australia are OO. Top 10 countries in the world with OO problems are in the west. Maybe over time they find their fat and chubby western girls beautiful and attractive and this is very evident from the comments found in this forum.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    So what do you think about the core topic of this post? Why Chinese people, and perhaps Asians in general, like commenting others’ appearance? Also seem to pay much more attention and time talking about their own looks.

    Blfortune Reply:

    Yes, it is true that most Asians will compliment you when you look good or healthy and will tell you so if you look bad or unhealthy. Maybe it is their way to look out for each other.If not you will continue to be fat and unhealthy but still feel good about yourself when there is no social pressure to do something about it since nobody will tell it to your face that you look bad.

    As for those who pay more attention to their own looks, well ditched them. You are hanging out with the wrong crowd.:)

    CT Reply:

    Yes, we all know that mainland Chinese are so concerned about looking out for each other.

    They “compliment” you if you are pasty white (not tan or even healthily rosy) and if you are bony skinny (certainly no positive comments for girls with muscles).

    Almost everyone from friends to family to strangers in China are concerned with external appearances. There is no ditching everyone.

    Amanda Tan Reply:

    because status means everything to Chinese people or Asian in general and beauty is part of status. It’s ingrained in Chinese culture, it’s ridiculous. I’m a Chinese Malaysian living in New Zealand and I dread going back to visit relatives because all they ever tell me is that I look fat and if I’m doing anything to try lose the weight.
    My mother especially. Even though I’ve confronted her with my dad multiple times; telling her to stop calling me fat. Her respond was “because i care about you” It’s as if being skinny means healthy.

    CT Reply:

    LOL, Blfortune, you’re exactly acting like what Sara was describing! I like both skinny asian girls and strong white girls and from the photo above Sara is absolutely not overweight. But you’re labeling her as overweight because she’s not under 50kg.

    Most asian guys are not sexually active until they’re in their early 20s. They can’t handle anything more than a skinny twig of a girl that just lays there. And most asian guys are also physically scrawny. If not intimidated by physical strength, they don’t have the cultural archetype of a strong female. Broad shoulders and muscular thighs on a white girl make me think of movement, playing outdoors, etc. Perhaps for many asians it makes them think “farm girl” or laborer.

    Guest Reply:

    That’s a relief – western women rarely find Asian men attractive either. You’re too short and lacking in testosterone.

    Not-A-Crim Reply:

    Research has shown that testosterone levels is proportional to levels of violence and aggression, not to mention, physiologically shorter lifespans. Western women are simply closed minded, which explains why most end up physically and mentally abused by their white spouses and dumped into the poor house with several kids. Yet they cannot fathom going with another race. LOL

    Claire Valladares Reply:

    I am a 5″11 thin, white American married to a short Latino. I can’t imagine ever being with a white man after being with him. I hope to spend my life spoiling him.

    rudebutt Reply:

    Oh get the hell off your high horse. You have no clue whether she is healthy or not, are you a doctor? Can you get all her vitals and info thru a few pictures? Your comment was nasty and rude. This lady isnt obese evem remotely. And you know what? Asians tend to be SKINNY FAT. They look slim on the outside but have a lot of fat and litle muslce on the inside and it is just as unhealthy as being,overweight. Skinny fat is a serious problem in asia, low muscle tone as well. Just because your appearance is slim, doesnt mean you are healthy.

    Amd imo, western women have way prettier faces then asian women, especially without makeup. So a chubby naturally pretty western girl or a skinny fat asian with 5 layers of makeup and circle lenses.

    Not-A-Crim Reply:

    Lmao you’re plain ignorant if you think western girls do not cake on layers of makeup on themselves. Or tan themselves. Or use sheep shears to de-fur themselves nearly everyday. Only those without a western girlfriend or a deluded, ugly looking western dyke who don’t know how to use makeup, will allude to your biased silliness. Western girls especially in the US are the most artificial representation of beauty the world has ever seen with your cheek, butt, breast implants, botox and silly tans to hide your pasty mottled skins. C’mon people, lets get real.
    – a guy who has had many white girlfriends & has an Asian wife now

    Heather Reply:

    Oh yes and Asian women are known for being so natural. Nothing fake. No fake tits, no porno shaving of the crotch, no boob jobs, no skin bleaching, no fake eyelashes and no dyed hair. And certainly no plastic surgery. LOL!!!!!bwaqaaahhhhahhha.

    Mira Reply:

    Not all western girls do that stuff…I very, very rarely wear makeup. And I don’t fake tan–or real tan (I mean, I tan if I spend time outside, but I don’t go out and try to get a tan). Literally the only thing on your list that I do is shave, and 1) I don’t do it on a daily basis, and 2) asian women tend to have less body hair than caucasians, so of course it’s less of an issue for them (in terms of meeting society’s beauty standards).

    There are “fake” and “natural” women of all races. And there are “fake” women that are still not particularly attractive, and there are “natural” women who are attractive.

    And, for the record, I’m reasonably attractive by society’s standards. Even as a woman who doesn’t wear makeup, in a society where women are expected to do so.

    Laura Cuell Reply:

    I spent some time in Japan and China, and the men paid a lot of attention to my curvy white friends (even the “chubby” ones), especially if they had big boobs. In Japan, men would shout/catcall at us as we walked down the street. Usually we just ignored them, but if we said something back they would get nervous. So yeah, I’d definitely say some of them were intimidated. The men in China were more bold; in fact, I was followed down the street more than once, which was a bit unsettling.

    Mi Reply:

    Dear Jimbo,I live in Asia,and Asian girls can get both a pair of big breasts and thin waist,so Asian men doesn’t really need to look out for a great pair of breasts in non Asian women.They look for personality,other charm point,but not for a big breasts.Trust me,many of us doesn’t even need to do squats to get in perfect bikini body.In my opinion,Blfortune doesn’t do anything wrong with his comment.He has been raised that way.My parents are pretty open minded because of mixed race and stuff, but I know that some of my friends’ parents don’t.Don’t blame him for being taught that way.

  • brandiwine

    First of all, chica, you ARE beautiful!! Listen to everyone when they say it, they know what they’re talking about! Also, no one would say it if they didn’t mean it (more on this below!).

    The observation that you’re “fat” is just a statement of what they see as fact, phrased in a way that you and I would bristle at. Hao had to explain to me carefully (and MANY TIMES) that if someone is bigger than the understood average, they’ll be called fat. The “fatness” just…is. It’s almost never meant – or taken – as an insult.

    When I was in China, when I went shopping everyone told me my body type would be very “easy to find clothes for” … then, when it wasn’t, they very openly expressed surprise (GRR!). At one point one of Hao’s cousins told me precisely what kind of features Cantonese people like on girls, and then went on to tell me I don’t have any of them. Hao’s mom matter-of-factly calls herself “fat” all the time…and she’s a US size 6! Can you imagine the frantic interpretation and explanation that has to occur in these situations?? =)

    Do you ever watch 美女廚房? The way everyone on the show treats people’s looks (very, very bluntly, and nothing is off-limits to joke about) might do a good job exemplifying what you’re experiencing.

    So, long story short, don’t ever worry about what anyone calls you there. Words mean both more and less than we expect.

    Sara Reply:

    Thank you for commenting! Don’t worry, I don’t usually mind that much that people think I’m fat here. I’m quite happy with the size I am and there’s no way I’m going to be under 100. These kind of cultural differences are those we just have to get used to. To some I get used to pretty quickly, but for some I need much more time. Sometimes this kind of Chinese honestly can feel really brutal.

    Lee Reply:


    Can you understand?? or need a help from some friends.

    SN Reply:


    Alva Reply:

    No one needs help to understand your Chinese Lee, don’t understimate people.
    Si no tienes ni pajorela idea de lo que hablas estas mas guapo calladito.
    Me entiendes o necesitas ayuda de tus amiguitos de mente cerrada?

    Not-A-Crim Reply:


  • Another Chinese Canadian Guy

    Physically, I am attracted to curvy women. Many Canadian women are of average or above average height with wide hips and hourglass figures.

    Of course there are exceptions, but I find Asians generally too scrawny and frail-looking.

    Heather Reply:

    Some of my Asian male friends in Western countries can’t stand Asian women. For those exact reasons. I just met a Korean guy who tells me he’d never date a Korean female, they are too skinny and it’s ugly to him.

  • Liisu

    If you started to take Chinese fatness standards seriously and apply them on yourself then that would be a fast track to going mad. My coworkers, all skinny girls with hardly any flesh on their bones, are constantly whining about how they look soooooo fat and need to lose weight. They are also constantly on a diet, which means skipping meals, but not making healthier options instead of the usual greasy foods. They have not called me fat in my face, but sometimes ask me if i am also trying to lose weight. I bluntly say no (which is true), in an attempt to stay away from this never-ending subject. It is funny when after a vacation everyone tries to find out who has gained weight and how much. Sometimes they ask my opinion on whether a different hair colour or another change in their looks would make their skin look whiter — frankly, i can never tell the difference… All these things just make me wonder how much of their mental bandwidth is consumed for thinking about skin colour and losing weight. And also, i’m wondering if these Chinese who go to live in a Western country change their beauty standards with time, if they live amongst people who admire tanned skin and weigh more than 50kg.

    Sara Reply:

    It’s amazing how much attention Chinese people can pay to skin colours. I never though about it before, but now in China it’s a topic that is discussed all the time. I just don’t see skin colour and weight to be that interesting topics for a conversation. Who cares if someone have gained a 500 grams over a holiday? (Seems like that in Asia that’s already a huge change.)

    You are absolutely right, if a Western woman would take these standards seriously, she would be going mad soon. So better just to be proud of what we are.

    Minna Reply:

    Maybe they have to talk about skin colour, because everybody has black hair :D

    Not-A-Crim Reply:

    Fair skin was historically regarded as being of the wealthier/upper-class of ancient East Asian society because poorer women tended the farms or were laborers and had much darker skins from exposure to the sun and elements.

    Heather Reply:

    I think all that whining about being fat sounds so narcissistic and boring.

  • HL

    I got it all the time in China…Until I cried like a baby one time in the gym (not because I’d one too many “Ni shi pang”comments) and it seemed everyone went out of their way to tell me how small I was getting after that~ lol However, Asian people’s standard of beauty are generally different to ours: skin colour, big noses, long hair, any eye colour other than black or brown. I don’t think in the West we pejudice against skin, hair colour or eye colour in general. Not that we aren’t superficial either. I would tell my students how much I liked guys with muscles and they were apalled. They associated muscles with wife bashing?!?! Just take the compliments and ignore the “pang’ comments is my advice :)

    Sara Reply:

    “Just take the compliments and ignore the “pang’ comments is my advice”

    Excellent advice!

  • ordinary malaysian

    Oh, you look both beautiful and not fat. And I am a Chinese man myself. Really, my Chinese brothers and especially sisters in China should get out of their unhealthy conception of what constitutes fat. They are really on dangerous ground, equating scrawniness for beauty. It is good to be slim no doubt. You will always good in whatever attire you wear. But I frankly think that my Chinese brothers and sisters in China are maybe going too far in their equation of skinny as beautiful.

  • FrankL

    Hi Sara, you look perfectly fine as you are! :-) Hope you aren’t getting too bothered by the Chinese notion of ideal weight! I’m Canadian-born Chinese. My wife is also white (from the Netherlands). When we were in Beijing last October, she got lots of compliments about her white skin as you do. No one commented on her weight, luckily! Mind you, neither of us are under 50kgs (being purposely vague here)! We did occasionally see a larger Chinese woman though. I wonder how difficut it must be to “pang” as a Chinese woman in China?

    Sara Reply:

    Don’t worry Frank, even though it isn’t a nice thing to know that people consider me fat, it doesn’t bother me that much. I’ve never taken that seriously what people say about my weight. There’s a good balance between weight and eating chocolate for example ;)

    Yeah, it might be even harder for “pang” Chinese women because they might feel like they have to fit the limits and probably people are telling them if they don’t.

    Frankl Reply:

    Good to hear! I think asian standards for “proper” weight are crazy anyhow. It must get tiresome to hear comments from time to time though. Glad you have a good attutude about it. i know my wife thinks it is so ridiculous that one of our skinny Japanese friends complains about getting fat sometimes. She’s really slim by North American standards. My wife is thinking, if she thinks she’s fat, what does she think about my weight? Anyhow, my wife doesn’t dwell on it, but we can see that the asian idea of fat is totally different from ours. Okay, let’s all go eat some good chocolate now! :-)

    Sara Reply:

    I know Chinese girls too who complain about being fat and having to lose weight when they clearly weight less than 50kg (100jin). I remember this tall girl who was really skinny and she said she is the fattest of her roommates and needed to lose weight. But there was nothing to lose weight from!

  • Eileen

    That’s the one thing I am afraid about moving to Taiwan (it will be very soon). I’m actually trying to lose weight now. My mom is hispanic and it is much harder for me to lose weight in general. :)

    I think you’re quite cute, really. :)

    Sara Reply:

    Thanks Eileen :)

    I would probably lose weight if I stopped eating all the good stuff, but it’s just too good! :)

    Heather Reply:

    You’re going to try to lose weight to be more attractive to Asian men? Are you kidding? Why bother? I guarantee you’ll find a good stretch of society that says screw all this sameness, I want some T and A and thighs. Why do that to yourself?

  • Cvaguy

    You fall between curvey and skinny amoung population of NYC area. Far from fat.
    A fat person takes one and half seats on subway, just give you an idea.

    CurvyMESS Reply:

    LOL! I may be a BBW but due to how I am proportioned I have NEVER taken up that much room on the subway (MetroRail as I live in DC, but sometimes Subway as I have family in NY!) or bus! That is unless I am sitting next to someone with a kid that won’t sit still so I have to get pushed over into the seat next to me a little, need to sprawl out a little and have the room as my legs plauged with genetic arthritis are acting up OR I am carrying such big bags (sometimes I use a suitcase backpack as it is easier on the arms and there is no room under the seat for storage or I have to sit down so quickly my bag which is usually quit large may bump into someone. However, just sitting down I can NEVER recall taking up more than one seat unless I had no choice as I was sandwiched between a lot of other people on the seat, people that refused to move their bags off the seat, etc., to sleep on the bus I take home which is relatively empty at night so I have the room or just on my own when I initially sat down to take my bags off and hadn’t had a chance to pull my jacket(s) into me and under me. I am VERY well proportioned considering I am 5’1 and a half (maybe slightly over 5’2 in shoes) and 240 pounds and can easily squeeze into the seats “normally” AKA if there is no caus for me to be forced to be shoved over due to either other people just crowding the seats or being stuck in those annoying bus seats where they pin you and another person into a bar for people to hold onto while standing which squishes you so you have less room to sit and barely, if at all go over the seat coushin and the line of plastic that separates your chair from the next one! NOT ALL FAT PEOPLE DO THIS DEPENDING ON HOW WE ARE PROPORTIONED!

  • thenakedlistener

    Fifty kilos isn’t fat! It’s only 110 lbs (镑) which is quite skinny for any Asian of any height over 5 feet (153 cm).

    I find what it really boils down to is not so much weight but the SHAPE of the ‘fatness’ (i.e. the body) that causes ladies to be a bit concerned.

    When I read that you are 100 斤, I thought, you can’t possibly be 100 kilos in weight! I reckon most women would kill to have your weight then!

    Take it from me, you look very fetching and very well put together.

    Sara Reply:

    No, I’m not 100kg, but I’m not 100jin (50kg) either. With this blog post I wasn’t really thinking if I’m fat or not (I already know what I am), but to start a discussion about the beauty standards in China and what foreigners might feel like when they visit or move to China.

  • Chris Waugh

    I’m inclined to think 胖 and fat are not quite the direct equivalents we’ve been led to believe. 胖 seems to come minus the value judgements ‘fat’ has, for starters. It certainly can mean ‘heftier than you should be’, but it is, as somebody (sorry, can’t remember who, in too much of a hurry to check) already suggested, as much a comment on shape as weight.

    Sara Reply:

    Good point! So where could all the bad connotations have come to the word fat then?

  • Cyril

    Again we are talking about stereotype of the human mind. In an Asian society, a fair skin person is considered from the upper echelon of the society who works in an office not exposed to the sun. A tan skin person is considered as low working class coolie who is exposed to the sun daily.Which is why the skin is tanned. And people called me a white monkey (Bai Hoh Ze) sometimes Hong Mao Ren.A chinese is yellow and I am a white monkey or Red Hair Man. You are not fat just nice as a Nordic person. What’s wrong with people?

  • Wanda Jones

    Well, a foreign girl that weights more than 50kg might be considered to be fat in China but this does not necessarily mean that you are not beautiful. True beauty is not defined by outward appearance but comes from inside.

  • Ibg

    I agree with both the comments saying that a.)western women’s bodies are different than Chinese women’s bodies, so cannot really be compared, and b.)胖is not exactly equivalent to saying “fat” in English. I think that 胖 can also mean chubby, plump, or even curvy or solid, whereas in the west it is practically a curse to call a woman “fat”.

    By the way, it’s been my experience that Chinese men actually don’t mind a woman with meat on her bones. If that even matters to anyone.

  • MIchael Udel

    It’s difficult for me to take comments from most Chinese about these things very seriously. The women think being thin and not enjoying their meals is the same as being in good health. In their minds, the suffering of self-restraint is as valuable as the mental and physical effort of exercise.

    They’re afraid of the sunshine because of fear of getting dark and looking like a peasant or farmer, totally ignorant of the benefits of proper amounts of UV exposure.

    Even before the advent of fashion magazines in China, their idea of physical beauty in women was perverted regarding the binding of feet.

    It doesn’t sound like you’re worried about their opinion of your looks, LOL, which I think is the right attitude. It is funny how they nearly all love to repeat the same one-liners about this and other topics, though. It’s a curious and perhaps charming phenomenon for a while, but can get old later. Maybe you could learn some witty one-liners to reply in Mandarin that make Chinese laugh and then all the laowai’s could enjoy them, as well as our Chinese “fans”.

    Alva Reply:

    Thanks Michael! I enjoyed this comment. I have worked in a couple of companies here in China and I was impressed by the topics women were talking about during lunch time.

    Needs to say that not eating any kind of meat, ever, does not mean people lose weight. People associate any kind of meat with getting fat. What is more, I find it very interesting when I see my colleagues eating vegetables that are swimming in oil, green = healthy.

    Another colleague skipped all her lunch breaks, but, for breakfast and at 4pm she was eating two pieces of sweet bread, quite big ones.
    I am overweighted myself, and not the kind of weight we see with Sara, she is great!, I take care of my health, though I dont exercise much and thats a very weak point.
    Since I was little I was like that, so I do take care of my intakes, lets say..I dont think that eating twice a day a little piece of bread is going to be good long-term strategy.
    I have other colleagues, mostly men, who do understand this view, they eat variety and several times a day, all that without starving themselves or without those umcomfortable lunch breaks…where I see my colleagues eating and at the same time talking about how much they are putting on

  • Jack

    You can be fat AND beautiful! :D Who says fat people are not beautiful?!! I think a lot of it is your OWN projection reflected back at you – your own definition of beauty (not being fat) that cause you the grief. Did you know in ancient China, it is consider very beautiful to be fat? (The 4 great beauties of China are all fat! Look it up – (四大美女/四大美人)

    Personally, I think you are beautiful. You are just about right, with the right proportion.

    BTW, check out these videos :

    Its interesting to see how kids can become fluent in a language so quickly, and so effortlessly. I think a lot of it is to do with role playing – something kids do a lot. I think to be fluent in another language, you sometimes have to be an “actor” and “role play” a bit – and I think that’s the secret because kids role play and imitate their parents, teachers, and their peers to assimilate into the group.

    Have a look at this guy :

    Now imagine a chinese actress and try and see if you can imitate her speech.

    Sara Reply:

    You know what, I just made a mp3 recording of the lines of a Chinese actress in a tv series and put it to my mp3 player. I hope listening to her speaking (and imitating) will help me to get rid of the foreign accent.

  • orange_rain

    I think it’s less than 45kg before person can feel skinny in China. And Finns are commonly pear-shape (at least I am), so you cannot really compare the body structure.In China I also had very hard time trying to find shoes that were my size (38-39).

  • Jack

    Strange, I thought I posted a reply last night.

    Sara Reply:

    Don’t worry Jack. If a comment includes a link or links I have to approve it by hand. This is just to prevent spam and that’s why it may take a while before I have the time to approve it :)

  • Grace

    Hi, Sarah, you look beautiful the way you are…

    Here is my two cents on the “fat” thing. Being a Chinese woman myself, I totally understand where the fat thing comes from. If you’ve ever purchased a dress of a Chinese brand, you’ll know right away how picky the dress is on you. There is not an inch wasted on the whole cut. If you do have a few extra pounds on, it’ll sure to sell you out with no mercy (in the awkward spot of course).  PS: I’m a -50kg and 1.64 tall.

    Most western brand clothes are easy on me, but the problem is reversed, it’s not always easy to find a size 2 or 4.

    So to speak that Chinese society is actually quite harsh on women in certain aspect…

  • Vickie

    That’s interesting about the importance your Chinese peers seem to place on skin color. I live in southern US. When my son was a baby, he had very light skin and platinum blonde hair. When we went to a Chinese restaurant once, the Asian girls working there all wanted to touch my son’s hair. They smiled and told me how beautiful and handsome he is. Before walking away, one of the girls told me she wanted to find an American husband with light skin/hair in hopes that her children would also have a fair complexion.

    I just find that interesting since I live in Mississippi where all the women want to be tanned and dark.

    Sara Reply:

    It seems that people always want something they don’t have. White Finns want tanned skin because it’s considered better looking that our original pale skin. It might also give the impression that you can afford a holiday abroad.

  • EJ

    Hi Sara! Thanks for a great post, and it was interesting to read all of the comments. It looks like you and I could be body doubles, except for my really short hair and darker complexion…which means in China I guess I’m the opposite of beautiful :) I moved from the US to Haikou in Hainan Province earlier this year and have found it very difficult to find clothing that fits. I’ve even had to buy men’s sneakers! My feet are size 40 and most shoe shops seem to go up to only 38 or 39. Grr. I also had to buy men’s gym shorts, XL even! And one time when I tried to buy this cute pair of women’s pants, I tried an XXXL and they still didn’t fit! All I could think to say was “C’mon China, that’s just downright mean.” :) I just wanted to chime in and say I share your sentiments exactly. I don’t really care what anyone thinks or says about my size since I’m healthy, exercise regularly, eat pretty well and feel great, but the clothing shopping does get pretty frustrating for this 175cm tall woman. Sometimes I just have to laugh when I think “my SKELETON is bigger than two Chinese girls combined!” And I agree, I feel just the right size…until I step out of my apartment :) PS…you’re beautiful!

    pheno Reply:

    lmfaoooooo! two chinese girls combined? hhmm well you gotta scare all chinese girls lol. i wonder how they look at you when you walkin at their sides or approach em! dont say they dont get out yo lane1 jk. thats all how china goes and goes. everyday has its astonishment and wonder. as sara said you gonna write a magazine if you stay a month in china..well imma writing it now so shoulda i have the permission to write about the two-combined-girl?! lmbao

    Sara Reply:

    I totally agree with you that shopping can be a nightmare in here, better just to try not to look at the size tags, there’s always too many X’s there.

    P.s. I’ve been to Haikou two years ago and stayed there for a few days. Nice place! And much better than Sanya in the south.

  • M Baines

    I think Chinese people have HUGE issues over weight, and I don’t necessarily think they’re the most tactful when discussing it. I’ve hung with a few groups of girls and they all discuss their weight like they’re the fattest girls around, each with a big grin on their face might I add, but by Western standards they’re all very skinny.

    For what it matters, I think you’re very beautiful. You have a distinct Scandinavian appearance.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thanks M Baines! Chinese, and perhaps other Asians too, like to talk about their appearance and weight a lot. Reminds me of middle school when the girls would talk about calories while eating lunch.

    tanquangiang Reply:

    i disagree somewhat about appearance, chinese people in general as in the culture, tend to care less about the clothes they wear, the people they hang out with,, ect and appearance, i think chinese people and asians judge less on appearance such as looks and attractiveness… i think in a wierd way chinese people see inner beauty which the west dont, whcih i find a good thing… BUT,, when it comes to weight… if you are skin and bone, they will say OMG your so skinny… and if you are one ounce over weight, you are a fat pig and must go on a diet LOL rediculous…  they judge people less on looks, but more like gold, how much they weigh haha..  unless anyone is OBESE like more than 2 or 3 stone over ideal weight, then you are normal and who cares what they think…

    westerners dont like talking about weight…… but chinese people or asians talk about weight like the british would talk about weather… it is small talk to the chinese… so dont get too offended by it….

    when a westerners calls you fat… they are offending you, they are being rude…..

    when i chinese person says you are fat,, it is pretty much small talk to them and they dont realise that westerners or westernised people get offended…

    for example,,,, if two old chinese friends hadnt seen each other for a long time, then bump into each other in the street again… the small talk would be something like// ” hi how are you?, long time no see… ohh youve put on weight,,,, or oohh you lost weight, hows your family? that kinda thing”..   

    much like if it were western friends or british friends.. small talk would be “hey how you doin, im just going the shop, the weathers great today for once isnt it? ect…..   so unless its young people pointing and laughing and saying you fat bastard in chinese then it is just normal talk…..

    if someone says oh you are fat you have put on weight,,, you say “yes ive been happy lately, eating good and healthy” accompanied with a laugh…   and if someone say, oh youve lost weight, it would normally be, oh yer been working hard alot of stress..       as for other asians im not 100% sure, but i know they also talk alot about weight… but that is the chinese reason, because weight is not a thing chinese feel scared to talk about… weight or fat, to the chinese is routed to health….   if someone is too skinny, they assume they are not eating or working to hard, so they tell you, you must eat more…. and if you are too fat, they assume you are really unhealthy and need to excercise… which to a certain extent is true… its just not a offensive thing for chinese people to talk about weight openly…this is from personal experiecne and knowlege hope it helps you understand, and dont worry about it,,, just be healthy.

  • Shona

    Every girl has there insurcuries, I tell my friends they are beautiful and all they see is flaws. You are beautiful, believe it. And where your surround by people who all look the same, you are no longer just beautiful, you are unquie and special. So walk down the street and be proud, like no one is watching!!!!
    shona thom

    Sara Reply:

    Thank you Shona. I’m actually not worried about me, but it sure feels wierd sometimes to feel good about your self when going out the door, and then feel like a giant when you stand next to Chinese girls.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you Shona. I’m actually not worried about me, but it sure feels wierd sometimes to feel good about your self when going out the door, and then feel like a giant when you stand next to Chinese girls.

  • Mina_h

    Hi, I happened to saw your blog. I am a Chinese living in US
    for 20 years. I can explain based on my own experience. Chinese people normally
    don’t see white people that often. So when they see one once in a while, all
    white people look so pretty to them not only they admire white skin but also
    Western countries are richer, so poorer people always would view richer people
    prettier in their mind. When I just came to the USA,
    every single white people look beautiful to me even the very overweight one(you
    are not over weight by USA
    standard at all). And I also couldn’t tell the difference between western
    European and east European. After about 10 years living here, I found less and
    less attractive white people, after 15 years, I could start to tell the East
    European from West European. Now 20 years, I feel East Asian girls are if not
    more attractive than white girls in USA
    but certainly not less attractive(I don’t know Europe,
    because I have never been there but I guess European is supposed to be more physically
    attractive than USA
    white people). And also, when I came here, I was told by people I was very
    pretty, and I know I was attractive to many boys here. The only thing is I
    never found black people attractive. I think when China gets richer, when
    people start to dress better, and nicer, maybe White people will view them more
    attractive in general too. How do you view Chinese girls? Girls in Guangdong
    is not supposed to be pretty by Chinese standard though.

    tanquangiang Reply:

    there is slight racism ingrained in every culture .. I know and believe so, even westerners… so I will say, i know chinese people are slightly brainwashed into thinking the people with the whiter skin are higher up and the people with darker skin are poorer and look down at these people, hense why you may not like balck people too, i hear it all the time, chinese are very racist to black people and indians… they seem to look down at them….  and they seem to for some reason look up to white people and subconsciously think they are better , richer, and have a better life thean them…. this is all brainwashing, and white/chinses properganda….  i like ALL people equally, but right now, personally i am attracted to chinese girls and i want to marry a chinese girl… but all my life i have dated white girls and i use to be the very same, i use to chase white girls and wouldnt look twice at a chinese girl because i was brainwahsed into thinking they were better, and people would look upto me if i had a white girl lol…  so stupid chinese people think like that… I am not saying i am better than anyone, but i am just as good…

    i have chinese routes and i am proud, i also very much ingrained in western values and inside i am a white guy, and i am also proud of that too…  unfortuantely cultures are diffent and they have different things they get told to think about life by brainwashing propergander.. EVERY RACE HAS IT…. and if we take time to understand, we actually are all the same, we just get brought up with different values by our culture… fro example the weight issue… westerners NEVER TALK ABOUT WEIGHT,, because it is offensive,,, they are brought up in their culture to THINK that…. where as chinese people talk about weight as small talk and being friendly and caring… which is also what they are taught to think by THEIR culture…

    and for people that dont understand this and never knew this.. they would be highly offended and think bad of the other race…  its alll misunderstand and the language barrier that makes us misunderstand,,, just takes time patience to understand..

  • George Anderson

    Having traveled throuhout Asia would say that the average Asian is much smaller in height and weight than the average American.  But isn’t China now one of the biggest meat eating countries?  Maybe they will become like us Yanks!

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I found this piece of information:

    “China consumes more meat than any other country (Table 1), but not on average per person (Table 2).” Source:

  • tanquangiang

    very true, chinese people think even a few pounds over is fat… but chinese people are very rarely fat and normally have good bodies, westerners are normally fatter.. but seriously i remember times when my parents friends would say omg they put on weight and they are fat… and i look at them and they probably put on a few pounds…  i have a bit of chub and i am chinese and when i meet white people its like i am normal,, but to chinese people i am a fat pig LOL….  girls are worse , girls cant get fat noone likes fat girls in china,,, u can be ugly but dont be any more than skin and bone…. anymore than skin and bone is FAT to chinese people,, that is no exxageration… however chinese people are judgemental on weight, but are alot less judegemtental on weather someone is good looking… 

    for example young girls might find handsome men attractive and endering, but after  a certain age it doesnt matter, they dont treat good looking men any better, infact they dislike good looking men cause they are not faithful, and more likely to turn their noses up at you, hense why alot of good looking chinese girls marry ugly old white men…

    looking at the picture you are perfectly normal but because you are taller bigger framed aswell you they think thats fat.. cause most chinese girls are soooo petite…   its part of the culture one thing chinese people dont like or think is good is fat..

  • Milujite Xiu

    I do believe that it is much important to maintain good health – no matter skinny or fat.
    You know, the most beautiful thing a girl can wear is confidence. Everyone is unique in the world, and everyone’s world is different.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I totally agree!

  • Rosaliezhao

    I am probably a little bit heavier (fatter!) than you. In the US, my home country, I’m about average height and weight. I used to get called “fat” fairly frequently in China, but this hardly ever happens anymore. This isn’t because I’ve lost weight (and even if I did, I don’t think I’ll ever be 100 jin!); I think it’s because so many of the Chinese around me are getting fatter! I live in the northeast and it is shocking how many people are overweight compared to several years ago (when I first arrived in China). I think what’s most alarming is the size of the kids. 

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Could it be because of the one child policy that parents and grand parents are feeding their only child a bit too much? I hope that Chinese people don’t follow the trend in the west, even though it’s good to not be too skinny either.

  • e.m.

    To be honest, in most East Asian countries, being white (caucasian) often equates to being beautiful because y’all are considered exotic. Also, to be honest, most Chinese, Japanese and Korean people expect foreigners to be “fat,” or at least on the larger size. I think when you are ethnically east asian other east asian people tend to be way more critical. 

  • Deborah

    For Chinese, there is a huge difference between being a beautiful white woman and being a beautiful Asian woman.

    While in America and Europe, you are able to be different and remain beautiful, in China, it is harder to promote that. Homogenity and idealism is number one.

    Since you are white, a native Chinese can look at you and consider you beautiful and appreciate you for your individual characteristics, but if you were Chinese, that’d be different.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Good point Deborah. If a Chinese woman is my shape and size they would probably look at her differently than they look at me. I hope that some day women can be any size they want and be happy with themselves, that’s what matters the most.

  • Mandarin Kitten

    Lol, why would they think you are beautiful? Double eyelids are not everything, there’s also a slim face, which you do not have, long legs, which you do not have, and long lustrous hair, which you do not have. And since when did 10 year old girls weigh 50 kg(110 lbs)? I weighed 70 pounds when I was ten, what were you, a whale?

    Spinetta Reply:

    Are you always this pleasant?

    Anonymous Reply:

    The fact that you wrote this makes you a very ugly person. Ugly on the inside is much worse than ugly on outside.
    If we all saw you, do you think that there is nothing we could criticize? Or would you just hope that we wouldn’t?
    Shame on you, and everyone else who liked this comment.

  • Free Tibet

    I would be pleased If i was u, for locals think that i deserve their “care”. That would be real sad if u go to a place where nobody care about u. U r not lonely and seem to be loved. Lucky one.

    And don’t try to compare you body with others. especially when the race is totally different. In Germany, our women are, say…usually taller & stronger than French women. But we respect French ladies.

    I guess u also should try to respect others in THEIR land. Then u will live easier and will not give us new bad names. Thank u.

  • Guest C

    Frankly Speaking, As a chinese, I think foreigner should adapt yourself to some chinese habit just like guanxin talk, actually, it is some kind of express about I like you or I regard you as my friend etc…

    But when you meet a chinese in your country , I do think the chinese should not say that again because that’s your country, chinese has a very famous speaking, 入乡随俗~ which means Do in Rome as Rome does.

    But you are in china now, should try to understand why we do so and be used to.

  • rachel

    what i don’t like about this blog is you are really self-centered. What do you mean people should be more careful when talking to you because you are a foreigner? As a visitor to this country, what you need to do is adapting yourself to this country, this culture instead of asking all the others to adapt you, isn’t it? If you don’t like the way people talking to you, either tell them directly or get used to it. You can’t expect everybody will talk and think as you expect them to do. About your look, well, why do you care how the other think of you? Looking is only the first impression, what really attracts people is the personality. In my eyes, certainly you are not ugly, but not pretty either to be honest. Yet a happy smiling face would definitely make you more likable, which I am afraid you don’t have.

    Alva Reply:

    Rachel this is a personal blog where Sara shares her experience in China. So if it ends up being self -centered no problem. If you knew more about Sara you would know that she is not selfish or self-centered and her posts try to address topics that answer questions from her readers.
    I believe she has adapted very well. not only to the language or culture, but to family and not son common living standards in the West. Less in Finland.
    One should not be careful with the way he or she feels, is people who open the mouth to hurt others the one who need to filter all their information. You say she is self centered? Who asked those people what they think about her weight, or body shape? No-one. After all is not about what people “think” about you, you can’t know what others think,but you can hear what they say, and that makes a big difference. No-one asked you either if she was pretty or not…and you felt quite free to give your opinion. Isn’t that a caracteristic of an “opinionated” person?.



    Kai Reply:



  • Kai

    Can’t say fat at all even from a local cantonese’s point of view. I would say your size is totally average. It’s funny that many chinese people have this sort of stereotype: that russian girls all have extremely white skin. And unfortunately (or fortunately?), your complexion is very white…(at least you look extremely white in the photo). Anyway, welcome to GZ.

  • 剧烈的摇

    a suggestion for you
    all you need to do is to get your “not so fat ass” out of here,take the earliest flight back to finland
    and buy a new nokia phone to take some pictures of “your not that ugly face” twice,
    then you will check out a strange 戾气(hard to understand right?) on your face.
    and you will find out what’s wrong with you and what exactly has been keeping you so unhappy

    you have got a rather antagonistic character that seems rare in the northern europe nation people
    everything is uncomfortable and you are incredibly easy to be offenced or to be insulted,
    that seems quite funny because i assume you were not forced to china by a gun on your head
    so why you here? why just stay at home?
    sitting at home to enjoy Finnish bath is quite nice
    sitting and watching TV or internet to breed a superiority complex towards a “inferior culture” is even nicer.
    i thought, in my opinion, travelling overseas is a liberation for both physical and mental sides
    a chance to experience something new、something exotic or just say “alien”,
    a deep-dig in different culture and a opportunity to figure out what precisely the culture is,
    also a chance to 换位思考(to think from the different positions)
    promote better Mutual understanding and less misunderstanding,
    a chance to be more open more lenient and less extreme
    and let it helps in shaping a enlightened open-minded un-extreme personality
    but it seems dont work for you.
    you came to china just for picking up craps like
    “they offend me again on the issue of eating、weight and other bla bla bla”
    you are struggling with these craps and your admirer can only introduce himself from “hi,My name
    is XXX”,and you think your intercourse can help you skip the superficial parts,leading you directly
    to understand or even judge the variety and the depth of the history-based culture of china ?of the east?
    you belong to nowhere but your own world——the world you either “hate and feel insulted” or “afraid to
    go outside and crying a lot”

    i am sure there are plenty of over-enthusiastic chinese fools attracted by and surrounding you “死老外”
    or “死鬼佬”(in Cantonese)
    these fools are a little bit naive and simple and of course,they lack the “creative thinking”,
    it is a pleasure for me to see how they get disappointed when they see your blog and feel hurt
    so please hurt them.its quite laughable,
    I bet,if they are smarter than i thought, they will quickly lose interests to you after finding
    you are so “难伺候“,
    somebody may start to praise you in another way, something like 贱屄(jianbi hope you enjoy that)

    Pyromaani Reply:

    A suggestion for you. Learn coherent way of conveying a thought and improve your writing skills in English before commenting. There is nothing more ironic than a person who points out somebody’s unwillingness to subscribe to somebody’s culture, while completely disobeying grammar of the side that they criticize.

    Also, you’re an asshole. I don’t think she mentioned being insulted by the comments, nor have I noticed her writing being vain in any kind. She makes observations about the Chinese culture through the eyes of a Finnish woman. It is her prerogative. I haven’t noticed anything derogatory towards the Chinese culture or people; I just think that you’re an incredibly insecure individual. It is hard to read somebody’s opinion on your culture with an open mind if you yourself feel inadequate and inferior and perceive everything as an attack.

    Go read more books and try to have good life.

  • Jana

    In China you are both fat and beautiful..indeed you are! Fat because you do not fall in their “50kg” standards, beautiful because you have white skin and they dig that! hell, no! They go crazy for that! But then again, here comes the magic word that someone else said: “exotic”! That is what you are!

    And just to let you know, I have been here for about more than a couple of years and people still ask how is it that I have big eyes..because that is the first thing about me that strikes them!

    be EXOTIQUE?! and enjoy it!


  • xun

    Just eat it…it is not a sin, I love Mcdonald, there was once a time I ate that crap every week(I admit that is crap, but what is the big deal, it is not drug, eating it is not a crime), although my parents said they were crap and junk food and had no nutrient, I don’t care, I was not eating that everyday, just once or twice a week, which would not make me unhealthy, I don’t eat them now just because I don’t want to waste my time to take a bus for 3 bus stations before I can go to the cloest Mc.
    When talk about ‘fat’, 50kg really really is not fat for a girl I believe it, the value and worldview of some Chinese girls have been a little weird just like western ladies did 2 or 3 hundred years ago, tighten their waist by some strange dress…Now more and more people think what does matter is health, not the so-called ‘weight’, but still many girls regard ‘weight’ as ‘health’, they don’t really care about true health in their bodies, in their guts, but the look-like-outside-illusory health in their appearances. Pathetic it is, hmm? And don’t be angry for some comments of others, China has a long history of an collectivism society, people treat elder people as seniority like the same level of their parents, and elder people look young generation as posterity, so they always like to say something to show solicitude which looks like interference of people’s privacy(In fact, I personally don’t like this thing either, not because they say sth, but because of what they say seems out of date, or even wrong which makes feel they are ignorant) But, please never be show anger with what they say(if they are going too far, that’s another story, we are not talking about this). Just keep your anger in heart, like me, just act like a kind of politeness, with a little whiff of smile, and let it go, maybe several minutes later, they even forget what they have said to you.
    You don’t have to make friends or argue with them about this stupid topics, they are just representatives of themselves. Not every people are the same, I don’t like gossip guys or girls, annoying me. This is human nature, if my true friends comment something of me, and seems not correct, I will just explain sth or let it go without any farther thought because I know they just care about me, but if someone I don’t like do the same thing to me, I will think they are justing intermeddling, and it’s none of their business.

    In the end, I’d like to say, 45-60kg are both healthy in your height for a girl, less than 45 maybe means cibophobia, more than 60kg maybe means ‘never go to do any exercise’, both leads to unhealthy. Judged not by weight itself, but by living style.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I’m the never-do-any-excersice-and-i’m-more-than-60 :)

    xun Reply:

    :)To keep it as a secret, the girl I like is over 60, too. hahaha, but she’s only 158cm, adorable.

    R Zhao Reply:

    There are plenty of people women that weigh over 60 kg that exercise. I don’t know that I have any western female friends that are much under 60 kg and a lot of my friends are pretty active.

    xun Reply:

    Nice save! I guess I have a misconception about that, maybe because the girls I know are both short(156-158). More over, I think it has a kind of issue of the density of skeleton, western people is with more higher skeleton’s density than us(I assume that you’re Chinese), 1.1 to 1. We’d better stop this kind of topic, it’s really immature to talk about ladies’ blablabla in public places, hohoho :)

  • lovenoodles

    I’m a Chinese girl…Every time I get full,,”I’m getting fat” is slipped out from my mouth…We commonly hangout with friends and eat eat eat..After we eat,,,we all make jokes about “you are getting fat” but we don’t really mean that…..”I am/We are/You are getting fat” is not a bad word but just a joke…And I don’t think a lot of Chinese girls are under 50kg..That’s not true~!!! The TV series lies to you and misleading a lot girls (especially high school students) WHO BELIEVE IN IT..When I was 15-18 yr old (immature both inside and outside),,I watched the TV and gossip about it too but I know my way to go. Even though we say we are or we will lose weight,,few will put into practice. Most of us are around 50-60kg (depend on height), but the body shape makes us look like we carry less weight (people are surprised when they know I’m 120 lbs coz they thought I would be less than 110)..And naturally, our skeleton is smaller than western people, so it’s reasonable and understandable that we think you are “bigger” than us..I have issue that American gossip about me, too. People just like to talk about others that don’t look like or perform like themselves. And we don’t judge people by their appearance..You may need to get used to the culture but don’t let the gossip makes you down..People on the street don’t mean to judge your body shape,,their sounds
    just represents how surprised they are when they see a foreigner…lol..
    And I know many Chinese guys prefer girls with a little fat rather than skinny…

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you! It’s so great to have a Chinese view from a smart girl like you :) I think your comments will help us to understand the Chinese way of thinking about the “fat issue”. Hope you continue sharing your ideas with us!

  • Lee

    I really like your post and i can experience same things like you (like i am much taller and fatter than Filipino. I am a Korean student, who’s studying in an International School in the Philippines..and I am also chubby girl…haha :) Anyway, I am looking for some girls, who’s a little chubby, but think she is beautiful. So, would you mind if I can use your message as my example of my essay? No worries, I am not going to say bad words or something is related to stereotype..Just my essay topic is about that ‘women should not judged By their own weight’ If you do not like me to use your post, then please tell me. I just do not want to use your post without your permission! :) Thank you for reading this long letter! I’m looking forward to your reply :) MASSIVE THANK YOU!

  • SZQ

    I know some Chinese girls in the US for school love being in the sun, but then are embarrassed when their skin gets darker; and with American style food and studying alot they gain a little weight and are quite frustrated by it! I know one girl’s father getting upset that his beautiful daughter was getting darker and heavier (She wore size 4)! There is something a little off in their culture, me thinks!

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I can only imagine how much it hurts when your own father says something like this to you :(

    MemyselfandI Reply:

    From reading all these posts, it seems there has been no national awareness in China on the effects of anorexia. Early menopause, hair falling out, teeth coming out, ostreoperosis, and a slew of health problems come from being malnurished, and having low body weight. What happens when these girls want to have babies, and their periods have stopped due to having such low body weight? Imagine the conflict inside… A girl wanting to stay slim and attractive to her husband, is expected to bare his children, but to do so she must gain weight to get her cycle back. She gains the weight, is ridiculed by her husband (socially acceptable to comment on weight), and finds her years worried about weight have put her through early menopause. She can’t have children, and her low calcium intake during those fretful years have left her bones weak and brittle with osteoporosis. You can’t abuse your body, and expect it not to do drastic things to survive.

    I am naturally large in my bone structure and muscle distribution. It is naturally impossible to weigh less than 150 lbs and at that weight my bones would stick out. My husband is 6′ 4″ and can’t weigh under 260 lbs without wasting away his muscles. He would be hard taxed to get under 200 with just his bone weight alone. Weight is an inaccurate way to measure a person for anything of worth. Everyone is made differently.

    I am saddened that these women will have a slim chance to be loved as I am, as myself, for who I am, and without superficial judgement. They face a hard middle age if they cross that line of weight loss to starvation, and miss out on the freedom of being beautiful just the way they are, in the moment, without any changes.

  • Andy Todd

    I apologize for the comment years late, but I came across this blog and thought it was really interesting. Maybe it’s the westerner in me, but I think the girl in the picture above is perfectly fine, nice hips and shoulders. Very beautiful!

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you Andy!

  • chiao

    This is really stupid! I mean, I’m 170cm and I weigh from 52 to 54kg and I’m very skinny – so I
    would be still called ‘fat’ just because of the number, it doesnt matter how I actually look like?? o_O

  • Mary Mekko

    I live in San Francisco surrounded by Chinese from Mainland (usually Cantonese, therefore shorter and darker), Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan. What we normally do not see here are full size Northern Chinese, the true Hans, whose women and men have full bodies and faces and lighter skins, closer to their Mongolian origins. When I do meet such a man or woman in my tourbusiness here, I think that they are good-looking.
    But I suppose anyone – a woman obsessed with her weight, a man with his age or lack of muscles or losing his hair – is usually a person who feels weak or insignificant, as you say, like middle-school teenagers who stare in the mirror all day and squeal over pimples.
    Chinese here are not considered good-looking because of course, they’re quite ordinary and numerous and without a lot of makeup, fancy clothes and high heels, they’re really a very muddy and boring color, especially that endless black hair. IF such women are so worried all day about their appearance, the smartest thing that the new and progressive Communist Party of China could do is bring back some of those 1949 ideas: eliminate prostitution, advocate short and blunt hair styles, make clothing uniform, and give people real work and education and something to think about, not just their reflections.
    A vain person is not respected anywhere, and that a wise Chinese would certainly know.
    As for open discussion of others’ appearances, why not use your knowledge of Chinese to say in response: at least I’m not pale and skinny like you; or at least I don’t have a flat ass like you; at least my hair isn’t black, like yours; at least I am healthy and not on a diet all the time like you; at least I can leave this godforsaken country if I want to & YOU can’t! Now that is the ultimate putdown, eh!?
    As Charlie Chan would have said (see old US b/w fake-Chinese movies): “Man who say other not good looking better look good to get no poke in eye!”
    Besides, every Chinese is getting older every day, and the old there are hideous. At least by the Western world’s view!

  • busrel .

    To be blatant about your appearance, you are both very beautiful and chubby by Chinese standards.
    Your milky-white skin is considered number 1 beautiful factor for Chinese, and your very round big greenish eyes are always praised among various Chinese literature along with your pointy tall nose, if only you could have blonde hairs, you would be a real beauty anywhere you go in China.
    Also, by Chinese standard, you are on the fat side, hope this truth doesn’t hurt you. :P

    although I personally don’t care much about girls appearance, I was just demonstrating what most average Chinese would consider your appearance.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Yes that seems to be true on what goes in the Chinese mind when they see me. I usually try to only hear the compliments ;)

    yugi Reply:

    Well, it’s not like the people calligraphy fat are perfect themselves. You’re fat, the person who called you that may have am a ugly eyes or mosquito bite Boobs or an ugly scar or relies heavily on makeup or has the butt of Hank Hill or has an ugly nose.

    Just sayin, they aren’t perfect beautiful ether and skinny does mean beautiful. There’s a lot of ugly skinny girls too.

  • busrel .

    One more question for ya, do you get drunk a lot? I’ve heard finnish girl loves vodka and can’t sleep in the night without a few gulps.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Those that can’t sleep without vodka are called alcoholics, and we do have way to many of those in Finland unfortunately.

    I myself drink quite rarely.

  • rachel

    i recently became good friends with a chinese girl and during one stage, she would remind me i’m fat every day and would make fat jokes about me to her friends. I thought it was funny initially but when it happened a lot I got annoyed and hurt :( do u feel that way too? That bothered me so much I googled about it and found your website. I also told her that it is rude outside of China to make comments like that, which seemed to shock and almost offend her. She stopped for a while but recently continued. It is so annoying!

    By the way, I am 165cm and 55kg!

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Hi Rachel,

    In your situation I would feel quite bad as well, especially that you are far from fat! I think she should understand hurting your feelings as you told her that it’s very rude to call someone fat outside of China. Maybe you could mention about it again to her, help her realize that it isn’t the best way for her to make friends with foreigners and she should pay attention to it.

  • chao

    You’re beautiful as you are. It does not matter where you from or how you look. Ignore some shitty comments~ Wish I could be good at chinese like you:) -a girl from korea-

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you Chao :) I’m sure you Can be as good in Chinese as you want to, when you have a goal you can succeed.

  • Dave

    You don’t seem ‘fat’ to me, nor would you be considered fat in Japan, where I live. Perhaps a few more pounds than the average Asian women, but definitely not fat.

  • Desya_beloved

    It’s more than a little rude to say those women who happen to weigh 100 lbs are like “little 10 year old girls”. That is no better than them considering you fat. They are smaller in height and bone structure so of course will weigh less. And you are a little overweight even for a white standard.

  • lisa

    You are not fat, the most u are is a little bit chubby. I‘ve lived in Vancouver, Canada for 4 years and southern California for another 4. I‘ve seen plenty of hot white chicks to know that based on American standard, u are not considered beautiful, the most u can be is cute, and average looking, and be on a scale of 6/10. People saying wow and gawking is nothing, when I was in Rome and Venice, maybe there isn‘t as many Asian as there is in Socal. Every white men went crazy over me and wanted to take pics with me. Lol!^^

  • Evie_L

    If they’re applying Asian standards to Westerners, that’s just ignorant. Yes, there is a lot of obesity in the west but even a healthy Westerner will generally have more lean body mass, a bigger frame, and just be overall larger than an Asian person. You don’t say how tall you are but you probably would be unhealthy if you weighed less than 50kg.

  • Robby Wong

    another stupid stereotypes, I am pure chinese men who love western women size, I prefer healthy white women with voluptuous thick curvy body, being western women surely have advantage since usually as pure chinese guy look white women always have largest breast + their white pure skin really beautiful

  • Bill747

    你认识中文吧!中国人经常讲丰满,就是你这种身材。在中国的唐代,你就是最典型的大美女。现在的中国人审美标准发生了扭曲。很多人认为瘦才是美。忽略了健康与美之间的关系。我英文不好,but I know you are a beautiful girl.什么是美?善良、体贴、有爱心、有信心才是美。与体重没关系。

  • Jon

    Caucasian features are exaggerated and jarring. It is only because of recent western cultural dominance stemmed from colonialism of non-white countries, that Asians view European-type features to be “beautiful”. It is essentially psychological conditioning from western media. Truth is as evidenced by medieval/ancient art works of China, Korea and Japan, small, refined features and slender figures are valued and considered beautiful. Everything else is viewed as foreign, weird or of demonic/monstrous origins. As an example, my Japanese girlfriend has very big breasts atop a slender frame (size 8) but my relatives and her colleagues have consistently intimated that she is “fat” and has to lose weight, etc.

  • impact glory

    The problem is this,, Western people talking about body weight and being fat is one ofnthe mostnoffensive things you can say….. Right….

    Now in Chinese culture that is the oposite talking about weight is small talk, and if someone mentions your weight while talking to you,, there is a certain amount of care involved.. They care for your welbeing.. Weight often contributes to signs of health and wealth according to the Chinese..

    But what is confusing and cobtradicting is… You can NEVER be the perfect weight….. Trust me those skinny Chinese girls will often be told by their parents they are too skinny put on weight and get more nutrition and be healthy….

    Right If you do that and lets say become avaerage sized like yourself.. All of a sudden you are fat lol..

    It is upsetting to hearnit when you come from a western culture Chinese or not,, because we dont consider it as small talk and caring.. We consider it an insult….

    So like me,, you either keep thinking interms of Western think and get angry,, or you understand its nonsense small talk… Means absolutely nothing… And trust yourself look in the mirror.. I can tell you now you are Far from fat.. Not even close….

    But like you say you gain benifits that Chinese people automatically think you are more beautiful just because your skin is whiter…there is some truth to this in terms of Asians… The Asians with whiter skin often look more high class cleaner and better looking…. But they seem to apply that across the board… Id say there are Asian girls far prettier but youll hear the elders and traditonal lists pay more attention to you simply because your skin is whiter….. Lol trust me im a western born Chinese.. Many things are like tgenoposites and easily misunderstodd as rude… But in reality both cuktures are really nice people just show it in completely different ways…..

    I know its easier said than done,,, but go off your gut feeling, if they are friends Chinese friends wont insult you, so even if it sounds rude,, its not, its just culture differences.. So people that say you are fat, simply thinj youre beautiful but can be even more beautiful and healthy If you lost a few pounds.. It really is completely different from when western people vring up weight…

    If western people bring up weight they are bejng rude and mean.. If Chinese do.. Ita the oposite they think you as a friend andcare about your wellbeing….

  • Zhao FU

    Sara, I understand this situation well. In China, people pay too much attention on the slim body shape, and they regard thin body, white skin as beauty, actually it’s too crazy that some girls are too thin, but they are trying very hard to lose weight constantly. Surely, European’s body is naturally different from Chinese, and nobody can really change it, for example, even at the same height as Chinese, Finns have wider shoulder, stronger muscles, etc. look bigger and stronger. I can see that you are very typical Finnish looking and not fat at all. But for may Chinese, they keep the impression that beautiful lady should be slim and small body. Well, don’t need to care much about it, and the body shape, looking SHOULD NOT be sooo important in the daily life, it’s just because Chinese pay tooo much attention to it while ignore the characters and personality. By the way, I gained some weight since came to Finland, and I feel better than before.

  • Feel your pain

    Hang in there. I’m from Hong Kong and live in the UK and my family constantly comment on my weight. Being “fat” and things that are fattening are always a hot topic of conversation. It’s the ultimate paradox. Chinese people love food but will obsess over how fattening everything is! I play sports 3 days a week on average for two hours each time so I’m quite strong and have muscles. I don’t believe I’m “fat” but because I weigh more than 100lbs and have boobs, there is a perception that I am – I’m not considered obese but that I’m heavier than I should be, and ergo, fat. Chinese people don’t see muscle and build (for women, at least) as contributors to your weight make-up, it is all about that magical 100lbs which is the healthy weight of a pre-pubescent girl in most Western countries. Don’t take their “fat” comments to heart, they just lack understanding of what a healthy body should look like outside of what they know. Oh, there’s also no filtering system so they don’t realise they are being rude by saying things about your weight to your face. There’s no point fighting it, you just have to accept that your weight is open to all to comment upon. Believe it or not, they actually believe they’re being helpful, not hurtful! P.s. You are NOT fat.

  • Frank N. Beanz

    The world is just fucked, that’s all there is to it. It’s mostly ignorant people who have children and raise them in equal ignorance, believing every stupidity aimed at them including ideas about religion, body size, worshipping the dollar bill and accepting all the horrendous atrocities their governments commit without question. If you educate and enlighten yourself, you’re one of the small, small minority with an actual brain and you’re forced to either be alone of become an artist, or gay, or something, anything, besides another drone.

    And If you go along with the stupidity of the mob, then what, really, is the point of your life but birth, school, work, death?

    Fucked, I say. And, no, you’re not “fat.” And China, having visited 2 years ago, is one of the most fucked places on the planet.

  • Amy J

    Hello Sara, my name is Amy and I just wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. I’ve been following it for over a year now because your life in many ways parallels mine, but you are a few years ahead of me! I am American, living in Shandong with my Chinese husband of 3 months. I have spent a total of about 1 year and 4 months living here. No kids yet, but still very much adjusting to the food, indirect culture, language, and being stared at all day every day. You also have a fresh, honest, and natural way of writing that I enjoy reading. Keep it up please!

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Hi Amy, thank you so much for your kind words, really appreciate it! Do you know that we have a big WeChat community for women married to Chinese men? If you want to know more, send me an email :)

  • J Ch

    You ARE beautiful, but you are not fat. Think about it. The camera ads from 10-20lbs to a person’s image, & your figure looks ‘normal’- neither skinny nor fat. The greatest Love of my life was 167 lbs & 5’4″ inches, by the way. Not all men want a woman who looks like a 12 year old with breast implants, lol. Congratulations on your happy life!