For young feminists in the country of billions of people, tattoos have become a way for them to show their bravery and assert their sovereignty over their bodies.
tattoos have long been associated with stereotypes of day of the dead thugs and bad girls. But today, that is changing. Some tattoo artists help women express themselves through ink strokes.
When he started tattooing in 2018, Lingmeng, a Millennial (born 1981-1996) from the city of Chongqing, found the culture male-dominated.
Determined to change that, a year later, she opened a tattoo parlor in the city of Chengdu after leaving her job in advertising, according to The China Project.
Lingmeng's first gender-themed project kicked off in April 2020. She collects stories from women about their growth and experiences. They are envisioned as tattoos that participants can freely paint.
The project received more than 100 entries
Chinese women share thoughts on empowerment, close relationships, female identity, reproductive issues and gender-based violence. Within a year, more than 30 participants had tattoos based on their ideas.
For Lingmeng, the stories are not only an inspiration for her tattoo designs, but also another way to promote women's voices and raise gender awareness in China.
Lingmeng's artwork was displayed at a series of art shows in Chengdu last year. Her tattoo parlor also presents its own small exhibition.
“We wanted to provide a space where women could feel skull pattern tanktop legging comfortable, safe, relaxed and undisturbed during the tattooing process. At the same time, we also want to break stereotypes about tattoo parlors,” she said.
Women with tattoos are often gendered or stigmatized as bad girls
There is a growing crackdown on tattoo culture, including requiring taxi drivers with tattoos in Gansu province to remove ink from their bodies and banning tattoos in football.
On the other hand, tattoos are increasingly popular among the younger generation, who embrace them as a new art form and remove the stigma. In particular, women are using tattoos as a way to voice their opinions.