How China's beauty contest for bloggers went very wrong

In 2006, a beauty contest for female bloggers became front page news in China. The contest was criticized as "sexist" and "immoral" because some contestants posted nude photographs on their blogs. The organizers were accused of turning a blind eye to immorality, as long as it generated web traffic.

In the first stage of BlogChina's Beautiful Blogger contest, held in Spring 2006, two million web users voted for female bloggers who hosted their blogs at the popular BlogChina site. The 20 highest scoring finalists were brought to Beijing for a more traditional beauty contest. BlogChina provided free hair styling, make up and beauty treatments. As well as physical appearance, the contestants were ranked according to the quality and popularity of their blogs, among other factors.

A clear leader emerged from the public voting, a young woman blogging under the name 'Hedgehog Mumu'. While all of the finalists traded on their physical attractiveness to some extent, Ms. Hedgehog went much further.  Perhaps as a result of this she won the most votes from the public. In China, the name 'Hedgehog' implies a rebellious character - possibly influenced by the hedgehog's similarity to a spiky punk hairstyle.

Hedgehog Mumu posted several semi-nude photographs of herself on her blog. Although this helped make her a favorite to win the contest, media pundits immediately attacked her for "offending the dignity of women".

Host, BlogChina, was slated for cooking up "stir fried news"; in other words, hyping an insignificant story into a big news event with little real content.

Commented a local blogger: "I like beautiful women and I like BlogChina. But to combine the two together, I don't see the logic of it. How meaningful is it to use beautiful women as a kind of bait? Basically it's just stir fried news."

"This is the essential character of China, nobody really cares about the result; they only care about the process," lamented the male blogger, who uses the online name 'Idai'.

There were even claims that the woman in some of the more risque photos, where the blogger's face was not clearly visible, was actually a well-proportioned model specially hired for the purpose. 'Hedgehog Mumu' denied this. BlogChina refused to censor the photographs because they "did not break state laws".

To her surprise, despite being the most popular blogger, Hedgehog Mumu was not even invited to the finals.

The judges instead awarded the $2,500 first prize to the runner-up in the public vote, a demure business student from Beijing. Prizes of $1,250 were also awarded in four categories including 'most talented blogger' and 'sexiest blogger'. The unfortunate Ms. Hedgehog would have seemed a likely contender for the last of these, at least, but again won nothing. 

Shortly after the contest finished, Ms. Hedgehog's blog was erased by BlogChina. Despite this, accusations of sexism and sensationalism from the media took weeks to die down.

BlogChina, which is better known inside China as, is no stranger to controversy. The company was accused early in 2006 of using underhand means of improving its ranking in website traffic statistics measured by Alexa's data is often used by advertisers and investors in China to measure the popularity of websites. ranking plunged dramatically after Alexa apparently erased unreliable visitor data.

BlogChina executives hoped to list on the US Nasdaq market during 2006, but as of early 2007, they have yet to achieve this goal.

What happened to Hedgehog Mumu?

What happened to Hedgehog Mumu? Did she get anything from all that attention?

More photos of Ms Hedgehog, please

Yes, enquiring minds want to know where she is.

Could we have some more photos of the lovely Ms Hedgehog, please? Your current level of illustration is not doing justice to the assets this article describes.

She's cute!!

She's cute!! More pics of the hog!

Beating around the bush!!!

Ok...Im not much into blogging, though working 3rd shift I should so to let time go by faster. Thats not the topic here.

I find it really sad how simple-minded people have become. Reading the above article, yes was good, but was bad on the informative side. This is to the texyt staff for doing a POOR JOB in 'getting facts'.

Why would such a company, already popular, need to create some retro-glammar mass-media circus party? Are they suffering in the blog market to another company. Are they trying to expand. Sure they want to get there paws into our stock market. But is this hype really needed.

Also - how exactly were the votes made? I am certain there was a timeline when the votes had to be cast. Also with a net of 2 million users casting votes, which im am WIHTOUT A DOUBT 100% sure there are people with more then several accounts. Was there a filter process to prevent multiple hits (IP-Monitoring). Of the 2 million How many are paid by BlogChina to make post(quotas). Sure I am sure the chosen few(20) had to be quite NICE from over 2 million people.

Now what I don't like is people bashing those that were in the race who placed semi-nude photos of themselves maybe nude too(Us americans call that advertising, if we didn't do that people wouldn't goto the gym, eat healthy foods, or see doctors about health risks for age defying drugs. Its a MASSIVE world.) Im sure those that complained probably have some issue with someone who might look better then they do, or doesn't have a belly-of-a-whale like they do...(LOL). Give it UP. This is a race for beauty not BRAINS. And again!!!! why, why oh why would BLOGCHINA pay to have these 20 ladies shipped to Beijing, get a free makeover, and stand in front of I the only one that sees the irony here.

If I was BlogChina and requested these 20 ladies to appear in front of judges. I would use a lot more elbow grease, Fire the idiots in the company that said they should get a makeover, and have these ladies SHOP around and Choose there own wardrobe and make an impression. I am sure they worked hard to get chosen, so why not let them work even harder to compete without the aide of professionals!

But yea - Hands Down - She is NICE ;-) I give her a 9.9 out of 10 (no ones perfect)

The Mysterious Hedgehog Mumu

Good points, thanks. The article does leave a lot of unanswered questions, you're right.. I hope we can update it when we have time.

Too Long

Your comment is too long. You and say it in a few sentence but by trying to make the readers feel impress, it actually backfire. Rewrite.

Cash? Check? Or Adsense?

Who's going to pay for all that research? The pair of sad little Google Ads I see here? Don't think so



Think about how it's

Think about how it's presented. Such emphasis on FEMALE bloggers, FEMALE gamers, FEMALE users. The only reason there is any emphasis at all is because the men are interested in how attractive they are. If that truly didn't matter, then no one would care if they were female at all, and the focus would go back to what they were actually doing.


Dear Sir,

I've developed a technique to form a crease in the upper eyelid of Chinese. No surgery, stitches or glue required. Beauty is a woman's most important asset, readily exchangeable for love, prestige or money. Enquiries are invited. K. Chong

Dear Sir,

It is alleged that a natural substance can prolong life beyond 120 years. Do you want to read the article? Enquiries are invited. K. Chong

The idea behind the contest

The idea behind the contest is not wrong but the strategy adopted by the female bloggers are wrong, they tried to get publicity in a short period with the help of nudity.

I think that from her point

I think that from her point of view, this contest was a real success. She probably got more traffic on her blog than she would ever have dreamed of. She became famous in both the virtual world and the real one thanks to extensive media coverage. I must admit that I think she deserved to win this beauty contest and I'd like to find out what skin care products she uses because her skin is impeccable.

I would have never guesses

I would have never guesses that among blogers there are such wild beauties. Congratulations to Hedgehog Mumu for wining this contest.

I am certain there was a

I am certain there was a timeline when the votes had to be cast. Also with a net of 2 million users casting votes, which im am WIHTOUT A DOUBT 100% sure there are people with more then several accounts

setting the right rules are

setting the right rules are crucial in any contest may it be pageants. They should have set the record straight in the use of nude pics if they knew that this would create a stir.

The concept of having the

The concept of having the contest was very nice though. The problem was that this escalated into the baring of the candidates bodies as part of their campaign.

Sorry to hear that the

Sorry to hear that the beauty contest for bloggers went wrong. Hope it will go very smoothly next time.We must digest the semi-naked photographs.

I think things it was a

I think things it was a normal turn of events that some of the girl bloggers decided to show some more skin, because they knew that a great part of the voters would be male, and males can easily be persuaded by women who they think they are sexy, regardless of the situation.

Don't get me wrong here. I think the female bloggers shouldn't have gone that far, it's wrong for them to do it, but it was a thing that could hardly have been avoided.

Ryan T.Grant
Gaming Enthusiast