By: Lauren Ali
ALL IMAGES BY: Pixy Yijun Liao
Pixy Yijun Liao, a Chinese artist, confronts the commonly socialized gender dynamics between men and women in her photo series, Experimental Relationships. Interested in observing what happens when men and women switch their given gender roles, Pixy places herself and Moro, a Japanese musician whom she is dating in different scenarios couples would be found in – yet changes their positions. She assumes the dominant, powerful role of the male, while he remains in the submissive and innocent female role.
This series speaks to China and its mentality as a country regarding the roles of men and women as she explains traditional gender roles are still highly valued there. Liao adds “growing up I was always told there is no need to work too hard, but more importantly to marry a man who can support me, have kids, be mother and a wife.” Generations have passed down this mindset that reinforces and influences the way people are viewed in Chinese society.
Additionally, these photos are a reflection of the relationship between Japan and China, which Moro and Pixy belong to. “Japan and China have a long and complicated story,” says Liao. “I see it as [a] love-hate relationship. It’s usually tense, but two countries influence each other so much.”