China’s Views on Aging Being Reshaped By an Eighty Year Old Model

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He said: “Back in that day, the Chinese basically had zero sense of style or color people would wear white, gray, black or blue. Army uniforms were worn by some. I wanted a sense of fashion to begin among people who were ordinary. Although at first the girls refused, believing it to be indecent, after I insisted, we did swimming suit shows.”

By the time he turned forty nine, Mr. Wang was eager to move to the cultural capital of China, Beijing. He needed money, but he also wanted to be a “living sculpture.” Determined to have a body that would permit him to interact, covered in metallic paint, almost naked, with copies of Camille Claudel´s and Auguste Rodin´s sculptures of women, he began working out. He said that the idea came from the woman who had been his wife for forty eight years, Zhao Aijuan.

In 1993, after the show in Beijing, the authorities were disturbed by the sensuality displayed that they banned Mr. Wang from being able to perform in public. He however continued performing in private. A performance artist, Xiao Lu, fifty four stated: “I admire him greatly, I myself do body art and after a certain age, it is a fact that the abilities of a person decline. He however has a body that is amazingly sculpted as is his spirit. This kind of zest for life really comes from within. He brings the feelings that are in the Rodin sculptures to life.

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In a fashion show in the 798 arts district in Beijing, he appeared last year, bare-chested and wearing designs that were created by Hu Sheguang. A cult like following is what his appearance on the runway has earned him. There are fans that call him “laoxian rou”, meaning “old fresh meat” which is a play on words for the teen idol “xiaoxian rou”, meaning “young fresh meat”. So has the young fresh meat been replaced by old fresh meat?

Maybe not, however Mr. Wang’s physicality is remarkable in a society where attractiveness is rarely highlighted by men:- he also set an example for a nation that is rapidly growing older. Mr. Wang said: “People are able to change their lives the amount of times that they want, it is important to have goals. Knowing what you are going to do is what being mentally healthy means. Take a vegetable vendor as an example, when he gets up he knows what his goal is, he works hard at it and when he is done, there is a feeling of fulfilment.

Fulfilment for Mr.Wang comes in many forms: exercising, creating art, acting and modelling. And one day, he says his plan is to go parachuting.

 


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