Danmei(耽美) is a genre of work that is often produced by females and consumed by the females that illustrates an ideal romantic relationship between physically attractive male figures. This subculture is often seen as bad or without cultural value as it contains a lot of mature content. As a longtime Danmei reader and writer, my work aims to contextualize the complicated role women play in Danmei and to highlight the inherent female empowerment in this often-criticized sub-culture. Through scholar interviews, online observations, and literature research, my end product is a system of works: an essay, a short video artwork, and a podcast. Each work complements the other, and together they explore the relationship between Danmei culture and the rise of feminism in Contemporary China.
"Sorry, but I cook Danmei"(2021) is a short performance recorded in a video format. The artist uses symbolic movements and language to convey an alternative narrative that exists parallel to our current reality. The kitchen, a woman's place in a traditionally patriarchal society, always carries the obligation that women must cook for the family or others. But in this narrative the artist's body, a representative of the female body, cooks for herself. She has the right to produce, consume, and even freely express sexual desires about the male body. The artist is on screen. She is alienated from the viewer. She seems to know she is performing.This uncanny performance seems to ask a question: when will it be that women can be truly free in our society?