Chinese Tattoo Artist Tells Women’s Stories Through Ink

Song Jiayin is a Chinese tattoo artist who has conducted interviews with female clients for the past two years. She then posted the results online, Video and ink can be used to capture the emotions, hopes, fears, and feelings of hundreds of women.

Her designs from a sunset to a delicately stylized uterus and images of beloved pets — are as varied as the women’s motivations for getting them etched on their bodies.

In countries that have had less room for female self-expression in recent decades, a tattoo can be a powerful symbol of empowerment.

Song stated, “When you make the decision to have tattoos with a different design, you are saying, ‘I control what happens to my body.’

China’s Communist Party has held long-term control of women’s bodies through coercive legislation regarding reproductive rights. This includes the now-extinct “one-child” policy.

Under President Xi Jinping, authorities have cracked down on almost every kind of illegal activity Feminist activism and limiting NGOs. High-profile people are arrested. Accounts on social media are suspended.

Popular culture reinforces the traditional values that women are valued primarily for their looks and ability to have children.

Song considers herself a feminist and sees her documentary as an open-ended project that promotes women’s voices and challenges stereotypes.

She stated, “I want (women) to give people a greater platform to express themselves.”

The “1,000 Girls” videos all stick to a simple format — they start with an ice-breaker: “What is your zodiac sign?”

The following conversations are with interviewees about their thoughts on mental health, Gender, anxiety, growing older, and death.

The “Worst Form” of Sexism

Inside Song’s book-filled studio last month, 27-year-old Liao Jingyi was excited to become a part of the project — and receive her first-ever tattoo.

Liao sat down on the tattoo table with her jeans up one side. As the needle was moving across her skin, she braced herself. Her leg began to take shape slowly, with the outline of crashing waves, a boulder and an outline rock.

She spoke out An inspiration to her was a professor at university who said she was like “a rock with no edges”

While tattoos are not uncommon in China’s more cosmopolitan and wealthier areas, women in particular still face scrutiny over their appearance.

It is considered a sin in conservative circles to not conform to traditional designs or get inked.

The recent suicide of a young woman who became the target of misogynistic online abuse after posting a photo of herself with pink hair spotlighted the intense pressure women can face.

“When a woman is not in line with the norm, it is attacked and her morality is challenged.” It’s sexism, which is rooted in gender inequalities in their worst form,” Lijia Zhang (writer and social commentator) said.

Defying disapproval

One clientA woman in her 30s decided to get tattoos with rainbow-themed designs. She claimed that she wanted to ink like a younger woman and that her boyfriend threatened ending the relationship.

Another woman, a physician, requested a design based on the purple hydrangeas of her grandparents. She stated that many patients would feel that a tattooed doctor is not responsible enough.

Song stated that she was moved by a 40-year-old woman who came in to get her first tattoo.

Song recalled the woman asking Song, “I’ve been both a wife and a mother.” Can I be me now? “Get a tattoo that represents me.”

Broken chain

Song has a distinctive tattoo on her elbow.

As a tribute to Xiaohuamei, it features a broken link. Last year, a Chinese woman was locked in a shack in rural China with a lock & a key.

Assumed to have been a victim to human trafficking. The news of her condition shocked the nation. Many clients asked for the same tattoo.

Song said that any woman witnessing such a situation, even if she was forced to have eight children, would feel tremendous pain. Song stated, “I believe that we have struggled too much.” The fight for women’s rights is ongoing for far too long.

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