Fortuna favet fortibus. Ever since I first heard of the Latin proverb, I've always felt drawn to it. It's funny because I don't actually see myself as a brave person, but it’s a phrase that nevertheless teaches me to step out and boldly face the world.
I live in Hong Kong, a place where British colonisation brought multifaceted worldviews and cultures to a quiet, traditionally Chinese fishing village. Today, the youth here are raised by a generation that lived through the handover to China from the British, but the influence of Western ideals remains even as Chinese traditions stay deeply rooted in our daily lives.
Such a tradition includes the notion of a subdued, demure and obedient woman. She doesn't make noise, and keeps her opinions to herself—but as stronger movements for feminism continue surging through the West, the cultural trend is impossible to ignore. There's a small scattering of female heroes throughout our four-thousand-year history, but we could always do with more. So I decided to create my own.
Conflicts of perspective don't only occur in opinions regarding gender differences, however—they have a huge impact on the political and social environment in Hong Kong. Despite promises of a true democracy, the Chinese government has continued to restrict freedoms of locals. Reports of local youth starting protests and advocating for freedom have increased in recent years, the largest incident being the Umbrella Movement of 2014. To some extent there is almost an identity crisis: as "Hong Kongers" we're officially a part of China, but many younger generations are adamant in identifying themselves as separate from China.
This photo series serves as my take on these common issues in our culture: issues of identity and the traditional Chinese ideas of femininity existing alongside modern feminist ideals of bravery, confidence in our own skin, and a refusal to apologize for our opinions or our existence.
Ting Ting Chen