real life

Man sues wife for giving birth to these 'ugly' babies.


Last year, Mamamia reported on the tale of Jian Feng, the man from Northern China who sued his wife for producing ‘ugly’ babies… and won.

Now that this photo of the family has been made public (NB: whose accuracy has been widely questioned), the whole world seems to be weighing in on whether or not the judgement was ‘fair’.

Feng’s wife had had plastic surgery before she met him and so he managed to win his case by arguing that she ‘misled him’.

Since we’re all talking about it, we thought we might revisit what our Publisher, Mia Freedman, had to say about the story last year…

A group of guys are sitting around nursing beers and complaining that their partners are no longer hot. “God, I wish Michelle would do some exercise,” sighs one. “I reckon she’s put on 15kg since I met her.”

His mates nod knowingly. “Tell me about it,” says another. “My wife looked incredible when we moved in together and she used to get up at six every morning to go running before work. Now? All she does is eat. She’s a circle.”

A third interjects, “My girlfriend’s hair is going grey and so are her undies! Big and grey. With holes. How am I meant to want sex when she looks so bad? It’s like she’s given up.” More nodding. “Would it really kill my wife to lose some weight?” someone else pipes up. “And not just so I’ll be attracted to her again although that would help. I’m actually starting to worry about her health. She’s got such a gut on her.”

Are your hackles up? Are you disgusted by such an ugly display of disloyalty and superficiality?

But what if we switched sexes and the situation above was actually a group of women complaining about how bad their blokes looked?

Substitute the beers for wine and the gist of the conversation was basically the same: people bitching that their partners had let themselves go and admitting it was a struggle to stay sexually attracted to them.

Would your response be different? Because this happened. I heard it. Well, I heard about it from a girlfriend who was at a BBQ last weekend.

In the fine Aussie tradition of mixed gatherings, she found herself in the kitchen preparing salads with the lady folk while the blokes clustered around the BBQ burning meat.

Observing the two groups, she was suddenly struck by the physical disparity. The women looked attractive and the men didn’t. “It was like they’d given up trying to look….not even hot, just presentable! They were all overweight and dressed terribly. Polar fleece. Nikes with jeans. Reefer sandals! They were no older than the women but they looked it.”

When one woman made a wry remark about her husband not having added to his wardrobe since 1999, it triggered an avalanche of empathetic laughter and eye rolling. Male weight gain was a common complaint from the women, along with their husbands not exercising and a general lack of care about their health or appearance.


“He’s stacked it on in the last few years,” said one. “This sounds awful but how am I meant to want sex? I’m a visual creatures too so why would I want to rip his clothes off when he’s made no effort to be attractive? I don’t need a six pack or anything but he used to have a lovely body. I was looking at some old photos the other day and it shocked me how he’s gone to pot.”

Here comes the bride and she’s hungry.

Let’s rewind a bit. If there were such a thing as an ‘aesthetic peak’ for a woman in a relationship, it would be her wedding day. Brides take it to a whole other level, hurling every bit of willpower, vanity, discipline and fake tan at the task of…..looking good for the photos.

I’m yet to meet a man who has gone on a diet or embarked on any kind of beauty regime to hot himself up or slim himself down before his wedding. I’m yet to meet a woman who hasn’t. But what happens next?

In every marriage and long term relationship, both partners change physically. For women in particular, the physical effects of pregnancy can be long-lasting. And everyone’s metabolism slows down. So if one half of a couple changes their appearance significantly, is that a problem? Does “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” include aesthetics? Should there be a “for fatter or worse” clause?

In a Men’s Health survey last year, more than 50 percent of male readers claimed they’d suggest their partner exercise more if she put on 10kg, and when the figure rose to 20kg nearly 30 percent said they’d leave their partner. Tough crowd. But just like love can’t be guaranteed, neither can physical attraction. Sometimes it evolves, other times it dissolves.

The woman before and after surgery.

Which brings us to the case of the man who sued his wife for being too ugly. And won. The charming Jian Feng from northern China, originally accused his wife of cheating, after their first child, a daughter, was born.

Describing her as “incredibly ugly”, he was outraged, claiming she looked like neither of her parents. No doubt delighted by this romantic development, Mrs Feng admitted to having had extensive plastic surgery before they’d met – about US$100,000 worth.

She’d never told her husband and when he found out, he filed for divorce, claiming he’d been deceived. According to Mr Feng? His wife had convinced him to marry her under false pretences, presumably with her face.

The judge agreed and awarded him US$120,000 in damages.

Well. Could there be a precedent here? Could you have grounds to sue your partner for damages if they turn out to look different to the person you married? Surely a personal trainer would be cheaper than a lawyer….

Has your partner ever commented on your appearance? Have you ever told them they needed to step up their game?

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