It turns out that the fashion police are alive and well in China, and they have set their sights on Britney Spears.
Pop star Britney Spears is scheduled to give a number of concerts in China next year, but in light of the furor over Janet Jackson’s breast baring performance at the Super Bowl, China’s cultural officials have taken great care to eliminate any potential “wardrobe malfunctions” during her appearances. As a start, they have demanded to get a first look at her performance and her wardrobe.
According to one official, “Every aspect of her tour will have to undergo examination and approval. That especially goes for the clothes she’ll be wearing. The requirement is that they don’t show too much.”
As a Chinese-American who would like to contribute whatever I can to ensure a positive relationship between the U.S. and China, I have taken it upon myself to draft a set of standards that might help address the situation. It is called “The Britney and Beijing Accord.”
#1 Chinese cultural officials must approve all song lyrics in advance of the performance. However as a general rule, songs pertaining to anything of a sexual nature are prohibited. Songs addressing topics like the weather, beautiful scenery, fresh fruit, or China’s entry to the World Trade Organization are generally acceptable.
#2 Songs featuring androgynous, half dressed male dancers moving provocatively on stage are prohibited. However, having government officials standing at the back of the stage clapping in unison is acceptable.
#3 Dancers should refrain from grabbing any other part of their body during the performance. If a “body part grab” is an intrinsic component of a particular song or dance routine, performers should restrict their grabbing to areas such as their head, shoulders, knees, and toes. As a side note, one fully acceptable maneuver is if the performer should choose to place both hands on their knees and bring their knees together repeatedly while simultaneously crossing their hands to the opposite knee. This is formally known as the “Hey, look what I’m doing with my knees!” routine.
#4 Removal of any article of clothing by oneself or by another performer (outside of a hat) is strictly prohibited. Stage managers reserve the right to apply super glue to any article of clothing should said clothing appear to be nothing more than a prop.
#5 Suggestive words in otherwise acceptable songs must be altered for the performance. The word “baby” should be replaced with the word “infant.” The word “lover” should be replaced by “husband” or “wife”, and the word “fondle” should be replaced with “look”. Use of the word “loin” can only be used for songs addressing cuts of meat. Likewise, words like “ache” or “throbbing” are to be used only for songs recounting a recent sports injury.
#6 Stage costumes must conceal every inch of skin below the chin. Chinese formal silk qipao’s are acceptable, full-length body armor is not only acceptable but encouraged.
The trouble is, after following all of these guidelines, Britney’s show might only run for 20 minutes.