Dr. Lee’s Talking Point: Sexing Up Traditional Dress?


I came across the video above recently, and it reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to discuss for a while: what do our readers think of the modernisation – nay sexing up – of traditional Asian dress? Personally, I’m a well known aficionado of the traditional Vietnamese dress, the ao dai, but I don’t have any problem with its modernisation – indeed, the ao dai itself has evolved to where it is today through a gradual process of modernisation and “sexing up”. (Besides – as in the video above – I find a flash of skin combined with an otherwise traditional and/or formal dress quite erotic!) Anyway, that’s my opinion – what about yours?

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0 thoughts on “Dr. Lee’s Talking Point: Sexing Up Traditional Dress?”

  1. In this case I wonder if this would be happening in Lhasa if the Dali Lama were still there and in charge. This just smacks of the Chinese total disrespect for Tibetan culture.
    In other cases I believe the native female dress of various asian groups are sexy enough without any alteration.

  2. Yes, I agree the Chinese factor is a potential issue in this particular case, but I can’t help liking the results. 🙂

    I hope this discussion doesn’t get us blocked in China (if we haven’t been already).

  3. It looks more like a modern fashion show that references traditional dress to me. I don’t think it would be meant to offend, although I must admit to being ignorant on whether this is the case or not.
    Referencing history is a recurring theme in all forms of modern art and I am all for it in fashion or any other medium.

  4. Anything that makes women feel sexy, beautiful and empowered is alright by me. (if the Chinese wanted to oppress the Tibetan’s then this would be how not to do it). Quite frankly it’s patronising and offensive to expect anyone to stick to their traditional natural dress in this day and age. We should be focussing on the wonderful, beautiful, sexy and empowered women from Tibet. What could be a better way of showing off your country?

  5. I agree with Dr Lee’s main point. However in this case I would not doubt the “One China” influence on this with the goal of total assimilation and the eventual death of Tibetan culture. Modesty is a cultural attribute of the Tibetan people. I think the majority of Tibetan’s inside and outside of Tibet would find this as very risque and non-Tibetan. Many years ago, I had the privilege to attend an outdoor talk by his Holiness the Dali Lama on the Mall in Washington D.C., it was a very warm day and all of the Tibetan’s present wore either traditional attire or were very conservatively dressed.

  6. As in Native American culture, traditional dress became mostly ceremonial dress. China being one of the last nations to open its borders to the outside world, it has taken some time for the fashions to change. Personally, I enjoyed the display of color adapted to revealing costumes in the video…NICE! None the less, modern Chinese women continue the style of the traditional Qi Pao for formal dress.
    (Having a little trouble getting my head around Lhasa being a fashion capital of XiZhang and Western China, but…what the heck!)

    BTW: The cadre of young Western China ladies on display here was very appealing. Would like to see more models from the outlands (e.g. Mongolia & XiZang) at A-S. =:-)

  7. Tibetan women are individuals and it’s not possible to expect them to all dress in a conservative fashion. I think it’s good that they can develop and express themselves freely in any way they want. I’m for the empowerment of women. If China want to assimilate Tibetan culture then they will have a hard time doing so. Maybe , impossible… might as well not waste their time and just enjoy it.

  8. Typically, when I look at womean, I try and imagine them without clothing. So hopefully any clothing will accentuate and highlight the woman’s features.

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