"I don’t take my existence as a modern woman who can speak freely for granted. I choose to share my life and work because I think it’s our obligation to inspire a fearless approach to modern womanhood."
#GirlTalk meets Hong Kong creative, Sinki Yau.
On modern womanhood
A huge challenge for Chinese women today is navigating the pressures placed on us by the older generations. Our mothers, fathers and grandparents still place a higher value on the security of family life rather than finding security in oneself. I find this is often at odds with the value I place on my independence.
I'm 25 which is considered a normal time to find a husband and 'settle down' but I need to know who I am, achieve my own personal life goals and be financially secure on my own terms before I embark on building a family. I don't want to 'lose' myself to anyone.
On body image
I experienced puberty at boarding school in England and my curvier body shape got me a lot of attention - of the wrong kind. Girls would tell me they were envious of my 'big boobs,' but I knew this was because my kind of body shape was hyper-sexualised under a male gaze.
Being sexualised in this way is not empowering and made me extremely uncomfortable. I wanted people to admire my body for its natural strength, rather than because men found it appealing.
After leaving school, my relationship with my body improved because I came to value its physical abilities above its appearance. Today, I work hard on my body, not because I want a small waist or six-pack, but because I am empowered by it's natural strength. I know my body is capable and that gives me confidence.
When I was 16, I was sent to school in the UK. I'd describe myself back than as innocent, optimistic and obedient. I had creative ideas but I was too scared to express them for fear of being seen as 'different.'
If I could go back, I'd tell myself to be more unconventional. To try new things and resist the need to ‘fit in.'
After I returned to Hong Kong at 18, my character changed a lot. I came to recognise how trapped I'd been by conservative society which had prevented me exploring and expressing who I really am.
I'd say i'm now the opposite to how I was at 16. I don’t feel the need to be interested in the same things as my friends, I can find my own inspiration and path in life.
Both during my younger years in Hong Kong and adolescence in England, information about my period was limited. I think there was maybe one seminar about it at school which was clearly not very memorable! As a result of this, I used to dismiss period pain as normal without using it as a sign to indicate my overall wellness. Still today, I see women around me feeling frustrated with their bodies during menstruation rather than caring for them properly.
Today, my relationship with my period is different and I use it as an important indication about my deeper wellbeing. If I’m really stressed, it's irregular and I experience a lot of pain - this reminds me to slow down.