Breaking stereotypes: HOTB, China’s first female rock-band

Not unlike India, the Chinese society has also primarily been male-dominated. Even with legal rights, women’s rights in the society are limited and there is a visible gender gap in the country.  According to the Noble Prize-winning economist, Amartya Sen, over 100 million women are missing globally, with 50 million women missing from China alone. Since the rise of the People’s Republic of China, however, the condition of women in the country has improved dramatically. And this change can be seen in different fields.


This changed wave is now giving birth to female artists across the country as well. Wang Yue, a.k.a Gia, a Chinese rock musician is one such woman. In his book, author Jonathan Campaign reports what Wang said about watching her first Chinese Rock show: “You didn’t know what made [the punks] special but you knew that, in comparison, you were a jackass. [ . . . ] I called Yilina and said, ‘Our entire life before was completely stupid. We need to become like them: our taste in music, our attitude, our lives,'” according to We News.


Picture By: Hang on the Box

Picture By: Hang on the Box

As the vocalist in the Chinese all-female rock band Hang on the Box (HOTB), Wang has seen many ups and downs. From criticism from her audience to problems with her band-mates; she survived it all. Within six months of their first gig, they were on the cover of the Chinese edition of Newsweek, and were also nominated for the Best Rock Band gong at the Chinese equivalent of the Grammy Music Awards, the Annual Pepsi Music Awards. They weren’t a sensation in China alone, they were equally famous in Japan and the U.S.A as well.


Like any other revolutionary body, they faced their share of controversy as well. Their initial song lyrics involved a lot of swear words and a photoshoot where the members of the band flaunted their underwear; raised many eyebrows. However, none of this has deterred the band members who continue to break the stereotypical image of the Chinese women that is deemed ‘desirable’ and ‘appropriate’ by the general public of the nation.


[Featured Picture Courtesy: Angel Fire]