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There are two beauty salons in the community of Zhangqiu, Shandong Province, where I lived during my summer trips. The one I frequented is on the first floor of an apartment building. Walking into the salon, one sees a front desk decorated with bamboo plants—symbols of growth and good luck. To the left are couches facing each other, and between them is a low table spread with glossy beauty magazines, self-help literature offering ‘chicken soup for the soul’ and booklets on Confucianism and Buddhism proffering advice on how to cultivate yuan (the force to affect and attract people). Near the couches are jasmine plants and mints. Soothing Buddhist music and scents mingle throughout. People living or working in this building can come down for a massage, foot bath or facial. Those working at nearby office buildings also pop in over lunch for beautification or relaxation. The dynamics of this salon seem to take what Meredith Jones (2012) calls ‘lunch-hour’ procedures to a new level, as people willing to consume these services here do not even need to go to the nearest high street or shopping mall.
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- Holistic Labour: Gender, Body and the Beauty and Wellness Industry in China
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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