The #MeToo movement has gained some significant momentum on the Chinese internet in the last few weeks after a number of women shared their stories of sexual harassment and assault. But the online discourse often feels disconnected from the real world, where the reckoning has yet to reach average Chinese people who have little interest in women’s rights and few qualms about the backward values ingrained in their patriarchal society.
In an attempt to bring people’s attention to the matter, Henyou Xi’an 很有西安, a WeChat blog based in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, put up a giant poster in Zhongmao Square — a busy shopping district — on Thursday. The poster is mostly text: oft-heard remarks attacking and humiliating victims of sexual misconduct, excusing inappropriate conduct, and oppressing women’s voices. Examples include:
“Good girls don’t constantly change boyfriends.”
“Telling dirty jokes is a way of showing my sense of humor.”
“Speaking out will ruin your reputation.”
“It takes two hands to clap.”
“Women shouldn’t have rights.”
“Why are you wearing a short skirt if you aren’t trying to seduce me?”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“People go to music festivals for orgies.”
“She should be blamed for not knowing how to protect herself.”
At the center of the poster is an X, with the words “Say no to sexual harassment” in giant text. Below is a line that reads, “Break prejudice. Say goodbye to silence. Bravely speak out!”
The poster is meant to satirize and deride the victim-blaming and misogynist rhetoric that is pervasive on the Chinese social media.
According to a Henyou Xi’an post (in Chinese), the poster has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from passersby. “It’s necessary to have a wall like this,” one male passerby told the blog. “Children, especially boys, should receive education about how to respect women.”
Please take a moment to check out this gallery of photos. It is truly impressive.