The Girls from Ipanema
- Written by 孟杰
- Category: Features
I've been so disappointed by the interpretation of the song The Girl From Ipanema at the Rio Olympic Games opening ceremony.
When the man started singing to the piano, I was immediately taken back to the scene when I was walking down the Ipanema beach, listening to the street artists singing and watching sunset going down behind the Sugar Loaf. It was one of the most romantic places I've been to and I don't know about you, I've certainly imagined myself being that 'girl' walking down that beach, without noticing some man being heart broken because I didn't see him. Isn't that beautiful? And a nice capture of romance? But, suddenly, this super model, as you can imagine, a tall, long, blond hair woman cat-walking out from the back stage, showing a pair of long straight legs, smiling and waving at everybody, confident and extremely glamorous. I was stunned, and couldn't help shouting, 'you cannot be serious!' This isn't right, this is not the Ipanema girl, this is just somebody who live on this body shape and glamour! What about us? What about the majority of women in the world who don't have such a 'perfect' appearance? Do we not deserve the dream of being an 'Ipanema girl'? I mean, it doesn't have to be any of the girl in the picture above, but wouldn't it be nicer if we have the tour guide who organises a charity project for the school in the nearby Favela? Or a group of women of different background, age and nationality all walking out in their own stylish way? Or even the tiny girl running and laughing on the nearby beach?
The image of the super model is unspeakably boring and superficial. In the following days during the Game, Fu Yuanhui, a female Chinese swimmer who won a Bronze medal, dominated the Chinese media. It started from an interview she had immediately after the match when she was told by the journalist that she had come the third, she went over the moon, and her smile and other lovely facial expressions captured millions of Chinese audience's heart. People were touched by her innocent and genuine response. Later on, she famously said she had her period the night before the team match and she apologized to her teammates for not doing well. In another story when people asked her to be more ladylike, she said if I have to change myself to make a man love me, then the person he loves is not me anymore. Her stories provoked a series of discussions in China on being yourself, children's education, period taboo in sports, the spirit of sports vs nationalism and so on. In this instance, I only want to point out that Fu Yuanhui's popularity, to a large extent, comes from her being herself, and her popularity demonstrates that such girls do win people's hearts, including men's.
She is a real Ipanema girl!