Translation: International Women’s Day Banners and Artwork (3)

The third installation in CDT’s series of international Women’s Day protest art focuses on public banners and other artwork. Many of the banners come from college campuses, where some male students have invented a March 7 “Girl’s Day” that fetishizes, teases or insults their female classmates. Two of the banners below are of the “Girl’s Day” genre, and include female students’ rebuttals. There is still rampant gender discrimination on Chinese college campuses, especially in majors that train students for positions in traditionally male-dominated industries, such as civil aviation and police work. Some of the banners wish women professional and academic success. Others focus on social movements, like the “girls help girls” slogan that went viral on Weibo after a young woman named Du Meizhu accused Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu of rape. Another one of the “Girl’s Day” rebuttals draws a straight line between the fetishization of female college students and the trafficking of Xiaohuamei, the subject of the second part of CDT’s International Women’s Day poster series.The artwork synthesizes these disparate yet connected injustices. One piece puts it simply, “We have to speak. We have to act.”

The posters below, archived and translated by CDT editors, were originally compiled by Project Light as a collection of “Stories of Women,” before being swiftly censored online:

A red and white banner hung above a heap of bikes and bike racks offers best wishes to “national heroines” on International Women’s Day.

Banner: “We wish you well in your academic endeavors, the responsibility you will shoulder, and the success that you, our national heroines, will achieve.
In celebration of our nation’s 99th Women’s Day, March 8, 2022”

A red banner with white text sends a “fairytale” message, while a handwritten white poster with red text offers a rebuttal. Although it is night, the shadows of several people (likely those who affixed the poster to the banner) are visible on the pavement.

Red banner: “Who left their book of fairytales open? Because someone let the princess out. —All the boys”
White sign: “Who left their book of fairytales open? Because someone’s keeping the mother locked up in chains.”
“Girl Helps Girl” [The smaller text is unclear, but the word “trafficking/trafficked” is visible.]

A red banner strung from trees along a walking path near a campus dormitory uses suggestive language to communicate a message from male classmates to their female classmates. Someone has attached a rebuttal to the banner using individual sheets of white paper.

Red banner: “Goddesses of Class Four: You’ve captivated me with your purity. I just want to be your steed, so I can hear you say you’ll marry me! — The boys from the School of Chemical Engineering, Class 2104”
[“Purity” and “captivated” are rendered with sound-alike characters meaning “ethanol” and “ether,” respectively.]
Rebuttal, black characters on eight sheets of white paper: “Stop acting horny in public places”

A red banner with white text is displayed along a campus road on a sunny day.

“No matter what your age, height, weight, or looks, I hope that you are brave, powerful, independent, and free. —Wishing all the women at ** University a Happy International Women’s Day”

This red banner with yellow text hangs below some wall graffiti next to an underpass.

Red banner with yellow text: “Wishing a happy holiday to all those who truly care about gender equality and women’s rights, and who ceaselessly struggle for women’s causes!”
Faded writing + graffiti on the wall: “Nothing to see here until the Desert Oasis Music Festival.”

This red banner with yellow text, hung between two scrawny trees, displays a message in English: “Girls help girls.”

This red banner is hung at an intersection between two street lights, as the sun sets behind it.

Red banner: “Welcome March 8 by being a ‘self-respecting, confident, independent, and powerful’ enlightened woman.

This banner hangs above the campus gate of Shenzhen’s Peking University School of Transnational Law. A surveillance camera is affixed to the gate.

Banner: “Equality & Independence. Wishing you a lifetime of love and freedom. —Peking University School of Transnational Law” [located in Shenzhen]

There are two photos of this red banner, which is hung between two trees along a campus road. The first photo is taken from a distance during the day; the second is a close-up of the banner, taken at night.

Banner: “May your books ignite the flames of wisdom, and may prestigious journals be filled with copious mentions of your names! —Wishing a Happy Girls’ Day to all of the female doctoral candidates in the 2021 Class at the School of Marxism.”
Icon at bottom of photo: @Southwest Jiaotong University [Chengdu, Sichuan Province]

A multimedia collage incorporating photos, drawings and posters; chains, handcuffs and safety pins; images of women, children, uteruses and other subject matter; and words and phrases in Chinese, English and Russian.

Multimedia collage incorporating the words: “Fengxian” [with variant character emphasizing imprisonment], “never silent,” “domestic violence,” “rape,” “freedom,” “trafficking,” “404” [“Error 404: page not found,” indicating censorship], and others.

A poster, hand-drawn with different colored markers, shows portraits of women’s upper bodies, some with injuries to their bodies or with hands over their breasts. All of their mouths are taped over with an X. At the right is a darkened hallway with doors, and a sign overhead reading “Model apartment.”

Top right: “Model apartment”
Bottom left: “Virtuous wife, loving mother, model family, community”

A white poster made with day-glo markers shows crude drawings of a raised fist, a woman’s face, and the English words “Women Do” and “NoNoNoNoNoNo,” at the top and bottom of the poster, respectively.

Colorful hand-drawn illustrations on a white poster show a spiked shoe with the words “Legal Marriage” stomping on a crowd of naked women, chained women, or female body parts being drowned in a flood, as a green boat comes to the rescue.

On shoe, top left: “Legal Marriage”
Center: “An imposed silence”
Green boat, at bottom: “Your sisters are here for you!”
Bottom right: “This world doesn’t want me.” [words uttered by Xiaohuamei in a video]

A white poster with crude bright pink outline of a woman with the word “feminist” written on her torso, and at right, the English slogans: “Me Too,” “We have to speak,” and “We have to act.”

On female figure: “Feminist”

A painted scene of an old-fashioned classroom with a diverse group of female students dressed in colorful clothing, a white male teacher with a black suit and tie and cane, and a chilling message about human trafficking written in chalk on the blackboard.

Chalk message on blackboard: “​​Children, once you meet a human trafficker, it means you are gone from this world, because our society allows them to treat people as less than human.”
On desk, bottom right: #March8CallForAnEndToAllFormsOfGender-BasedViolence

A cracked white wall is covered with strokes of gray paint, a drawing of a plum blossom, and the message “How many more Xiaohuameis are there?”

The plum blossom, gray paint, and message “How many more Xiaohuameis are there?” evoke the mural of Xiaohuamei that was created by two artists in Tianjin, and later covered with gray paint by local authorities.

Illuminated by a flashlight, a simple chalk drawing on peeling concrete depicts a dove with an olive branch in its mouth and the Chinese word for “Peace.”




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