It may sound a sexist or silly question but there is a reason. China, the world’s most populous country, with a population of over 1.3 billion and the world’s second-largest country by land area covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometres,  has mandated that the nipples of contestants to beauty contests must be at least 20 centimetres (7.8 inces) apart. The mandate has sparked a storm of criticism on the internet this past Friday.

”Why more than 20 centimetres? I honestly don’t know who came up with these figures,” said a user on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. “How can beauty standards include breast distance? Do they take women as toys?”

Judging women by such rigid criteria is so ‘out’!” said TV personality Yang Lan on the microblog.

The contest, aimed at crowning 10 university students in central Hubei province, drew criticism from traditional Chinese and modern Western standards of beauty, contest staff members were quoted as saying in the Global Times on Friday. Contest organizers had conducted research on the Internet to determine the criteria. In addition to considering traditional measurements like chest, waist and hips, the contest also said the space between candidates’ pupils should be 46 percent of the distance between their pupil and their ear.

China has hosted a slew of beauty pageants, including six Miss World contests, in the past nine years. Its candidate Yu Wenxia won the title when the international competition took place in northern China last month.

The breast gap requirement is really of no interest outside of China save for tiny Costa Rica, the Chinese satellite in the Americas. Some will argue since Costa Rica is being taken over by China, understanding and heeding to their (China’s) requirement is important as Costa Ricans love beauty pageants, official or not.

China’s influence of little Costa Rica grows every day. It started a few years back when former president and Nobel prize winner, Oscar Arias, during his second term made a deal with the Chinese for the construction of a national stadium. The stadium would be built at China’s expense and donated without any strings attached. And it was. Well sort of. The one little condition was that Costa Rica kick out – break diplomatic ties with Taiwan. And it did.

Following the breaking of diplomatic ties Tiawan, a country that wants independence from China, the Chinese began to pour more and more money into Costa Rica. More donations, more investments and more Chinese nationals looking west to Costa Rica.

The latest investment by the Chinese is a deal with the state refinery, Refinadora de Petroleo S.A. or RECOPE, where the Chinese will invest US$1.5 billion to bring cheap(er)a gasoline to Costa Rica, though we may never see the price reduction at the pumps as RECOPE is a major cash cow for the government.

A rendering shows how the Chinatown arch in San José will be after completion. The project is under construction and is expected to completed before the end of the year. Photo courtesy of City of San Jose / dpa

Not to be left off the China bandwagon, the city of San José began construction of a Chinatown smack in the middle of its downtown, that includes  the typical gateway, the Chinese arch. Though the municipalidad de San José and its long time mayor, Johnny Araya, are getting the credit, the Chinese are picking up most of the tab.

If you still disagree that Costa Rica is fast becoming a puppet for the Chinese in this region of the globe, consider this: in August of this year Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla met in Beijing, and outlined how they planned to boost cooperation with each other. The countries are to explore ways of working together in transportation, power and other infrastructure development as well as strengthening exchanges in education, science and culture

China is Costa Rica’s second-largest trade partner, with trade volume totaling 4.72 billion U.S. dollars in 2011.

As part of the making of a satellite, Costa Rica will now also be China’s gopher to get the rest of Latin America in line.  During the August meeting Wen told the media that his country will work with Costa Rica to create a new chapter in China-Latin America relations, voicing publicly his appreciation for Costa Rica’s active role in supporting China’s dialogue with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

The current head gopher, the president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla Miranda, hailed the progress of the relationship and said the free trade agreement has helped bilateral trade to grow. She said her country attached great importance to the opportunities provided by China’s development and hoped to boost cooperation in the economy and trade, infrastructure development, education, culture, justice and science.

Premier Wen’s policies to enhance Latin America-China relations were mentioned in his speech at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean in June.

But, I digress, back to the nipples.

Costa Rica has many beauty pageants. One of the most coveted is the Miss Costa Rica, as Ticas (Costa Rican women) between 18 and 27 representing their province compete to represent Costa Rica in the annual Miss Universe international competition. Costa Rica has participated in the Miss Universe pageant since 1954 and has sent 56 representatives in the pageant’s 60-year history.

Although a Tica has yet to win a Miss Universe title, in 2004 when Nancy Soto Martinez and again 2011 with Johanna Solano, came close making it to the top 10 finalists. And maybe, just maybe, if the Ticas heed to the Chinese mandate a Miss Costa Rica could actually take the crown. But not before China as a show of respect.

And lets face it – nobody likes a bad set of nipples. You could have the greatest breasts and weird nipples can ruin the whole rack. They gotta be the right size, the right colour, the right width, the right length – and they gotta be the correct distance apart.

Costa Rica get your measuring tape out. And remember, in this case, size does count, just as long as they are at least 20 cm apart!

 

 


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