Chinese beauty artist known for erotica sparks debate on marriage with feminist remarks

December 16, 2010Jing Gao6 Comments, , , , , , , , ,

From Wenxuecity and QQ :

Yi Yang, member of International Artists Association and a Chinese artist, has gained wide fame on the Internet for her paintings focusing on erotica. Her works on display in the streets of Beijing have come under fire. She came up with a catchy slogan “Leftover women, do not get married! Let’s enjoy ruining men!” Yi Yang said, “ruin” is from men’s point of view, from a perspective of a patriarchal society. “Women are the greatest creation of human culture, but they have been ignored or even suppressed and plundered as goods, which is a loss of society, a misfortune of all mankind. ”

(Jing’s note: Leftover women is a social phenomenon in China where women entering the age of 30 have great difficulty in finding mates, despite or because many of them are professionally or financially very successful, and the rest of them are simply slighted due to their “old age” relative to women under 30. They are thought of as “being left over by men.”)

Not long ago, the post-1980 artist brought several of her controversial works to the streets of Beijing, calling on “leftover women”  to “enjoy ruining men.” All nudes in her paintings are her self-portraits.


Yi Yang wrote on her blog:

“I think we, as human beings, should respect for life and be more ‘human.’ We come from consummation of our fathers and mothers. It is because they have love that they had ‘sex’ and brought us to the world. So we can say love leads to sex; sex leads to birth of life. ‘Sex gave birth to everything.’ But life is mortal. That’s why I eulogize sex and extol love.

“In my opinion, ‘sex’ is like eating food, wearing clothes and going to bed, something very natural. No one can avoid! Regardless of what a gentleman or a salaryman you are during the day, when the night comes, everything returns to the original state. This is a normal human physiological need, because we are all life on earth. Especially we women’s menstrual cycle, our blood, coincide with the 28-day cycle of the moon orbiting the Earth and the ebb and flow of the ocean tides. This is a miracle of mother nature! We Chinese have been suppressed by conservatism for thousands of years. Now is the digital information age. If we keep turning pale at the mere mention of ‘sex’, and avoiding subjects of ‘sex’, it is anti-human, and non-human thinking.

“I think that all arts must be exaggerated, including film, dance, painting, music, architecture and so forth. As is Beijing’s contemporary architecture: the lineal structure of Bird’s Nest (Jing’s note: Beijing National Stadium); National Centre for the Performing Arts’  surfaces; the structural challenge of CCTV’s big boxer shorts – they are all innovations of traditional architecture.

“But when it comes to painting, I have my own painting language and aesthetic to express and praise sex and love, life and death, and the female body is more in line with the theme ‘Sex gave birth to everything.’ Not that I am gay – what a nonsense! I sing praises of love and sex. Those who do not understand me say I am risque; I certainly don’t care – because you don’t know me, so ‘the benevolent see benevolence and the wise see wisdom’ (Jing’s note: Chinese proverb meaning different people have different views). Art will never yield to the backward!! ”

Yi Yang said that the reason why she brought the six erotic, surreal paintings to Beijing’s central business district where white-collar women abound is to wake them up, call on them to treat themselves well and realize the enslavement nature of marriage.

“I simply wanted to hold a performance art show. I didn’t expect that there would be such a big reaction on the Internet.” Yang Yi said she mostly wanted to promote her own works. In real life she is not the way she is on the Internet. The revealing photos posted on her blog are artistic photos, “Art is exaggerative,” Yi Yang said that she herself is a leftover woman, but she still wanted to find true love, and then get married and have children. She also hopes that every woman can be like this. This is her real purpose.


The slogan reads, “Leftover women do not get married. Let’s enjoy ruining men!”


Selected netizens’ comment from

腾讯四川省网友 刘大伯:
Marriage in China has become a burden for many people and is no longer happiness. Why would we need it!
腾讯佛山市网友 山乡似水:
What does the word leftover woman mean? It means a woman that no man wants to marry. Once they can’t get married, these women become psychologically abnormal, and turn desperate in the end.

腾讯淄博市网友 聆听竹雨/xin:

What this article said is great! Men don’t get married either! Now one night stand is catching on. It would be advantageous to men anyway. Haha (evil smile!) If men don’t get married, they will be spared from expenses on housing, cars, cosmetics for their women and home furnishing. They can find any hotel and stay for a night! How comfortable!
腾讯北京市网友 L:
This gal is too bad. She herself can’t get married, and wants others to be the same as her! Come on, ruin us machos to your heart’s content! We would at worst have to buy more tonics.
腾讯温州市网友 〃ㄨin 酸°:
If women don’t get married, they would still be at a disadvantage. Men can still find a young gal at the age of 70 or 80, but women can’t.
腾讯上海市网友 青茶:
Not all women can fend for themselves. Two people together can share the responsibilities. Now there are many Chinese men…Basically they have supported all women. Cooking and doing laundry, many chores are done by men. What else do you want? Since you demand others to this and that, what good position you are in?
腾讯网友 停留20:
I agree so much. Marriage is in fact an act of enslavement for women. As a woman born in a new era, why marry? Especially for those who have the ability to fend for themselves, it is not worthwhile to ask for trouble.
腾讯杭州市网友 1313:
Don’t get married. Even if one is ruined, (no matter if it is a woman ruined by a man or the other way around) one still has a chance to back out. Once you are married, you think of the trouble of divorce, and will give in and resign yourself to fate, and thus will be ruined for a lifetime. Recently news said an old couple are still affectionate to each other after staying married for 72 years. Right, it is enviable. But statistically speaking, what are the odds? Don’t force yourself. Let’s look at what we have had and not count on eternity.
腾讯广东省网友NEW BOY:
Simple a publicity stunt.
腾讯网友 黍楡の寂寞:
I agree. I think so too. Don’t get married. Being by oneself and free, what is not good about single life? We should celebrate for being single. Because, if we remain single, there will also be more bachelors because of ourselves. We should be proud of that
腾讯东莞市网友 相信缘分:
Because you have psychological shadow towards men, you ask other women not to get married. If you don’t have any meal, you will also talk others out of eating? Idiot.
腾讯网友 知足:
She has gone crazy about courting fame.
腾讯网友 つ紦噯喚醒♀:
It seems you must have been dumped many times. If women are reliable, the cattle on my ranch can be blown by you into the sky.
腾讯杭州市网友 笑鏊:
Haha, I am speechless. What can I say? I feel she is also a tragedy. A typical example of an extremist. How can she be so disappointed in humanity and love?

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6 comments to “Chinese beauty artist known for erotica sparks debate on marriage with feminist remarks”

  1. [...] Yi Yang on Ministry of Tofu [...]

  2. wutrudoin | June 15, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    she sounds dumb as hell

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  5. Hello Yi Yang,

    My Chinese is almost non-existent so I hope you can understand my English. I have visited Beijing several times and have grown to be fascinated with both it’s culture and the evidence of rapid social change. Your images and your writing were fascinating to me because I have found Chinese women AND Chinese contemporary art to be a little socially conservative.

    I look forward to hearing from you.


  6. dj | November 8, 2015 | Permalink Reply

    Yang Yi, I appreciate anyone standing tall in social and cultural winds. Right or wrong is not the concern. Defining yourself transparently is a gift to others and helps them find his or her way. Thank you. Dj

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