About Nühanzi

Nühanzi is empowering women and girls around the globe to embrace their feminine and masculine strength. Nühanzi, written in Chinese as 女汉子, literally means “masculine woman” or “manly woman.”

It originally described Chinese women who weren’t beautiful, demure, or otherwise “feminine” enough. But now women of all ethnicities are using the word proudly to empower themselves and other women who are independent, capable, outgoing and strong. #Nuhanzilife

What does Nühanzi (女汉子) mean?

Check out these articles from around the world on what defines a Nühanzi woman

How Muay Thai fighter and model Mia Kang fought to gain inner strength and confidence-100% Nühanzi

Andrea Lo Hong Kong Mia Kang is a triple threat. You might recognize the Hong Kong-born, half-Korean, half-British model from Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Issue—she landed a coveted spot in the magazine in 2017. But the 28-year-old is also a professional Muay Thai fighter, who has a master's degree in finance and financial law to boot. After making her professional debut in the sport in 2016, her Muay Thai career has been gaining major traction. And meanwhile, she continues to enjoy success in modeling. But things weren’t always so easy for Kang. “I never aspired to be a model,” she reminisces. “I grew up very overweight and bullied, so actually, it was never even on my radar.” So how did someone who struggled through “every eating disorder you could imagine” fight her way to becoming a wellness warrior—and an advocate for a body-positive movement? Growing pains After experiencing major weight...

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Pink Just Perfectly Embodied the Nühanzi Attitude During Her VMAs Speech

The direct translation of “nühanzi” is “manly woman,” which began as an insult to Chinese women who subverted their gender role. But in recent years, the nühanzi have been proving there’s nothing wrong with being a masculine woman — that in fact, “masculinity” and “femininity” are both made up anyway, so women (and men) should be free to embody both. Nühanzi may be a Chinese movement, but more and more, we’ve been noticing it all over the world. I saw it in Wonder Woman’s simultaneous compassion and strength. And this week, more than ever, I saw it in Pink’s VMAs speech. Pink’s six-year-old daughter Willow Sage Hart inspired her to reflect on gender norms when she told her, “I’m the ugliest girl I know.” When Pink asked Willow what she meant by that, it became clear that she essentially meant she was “masculine.” “I look like a boy,” she said....

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Nühanzi Featured in Glamour: For Women in China, There’s a Real-Life Warrior Focused on Female Empowerment That Rivals Wonder Woman

By Nina Huang Glamour As one of the many people who crowded into theaters to watch Wonder Woman this summer, I couldn’t help but notice parallels between the Amazon princess and another, less widely known character: the real-life Chinese Nühanzi woman. Wonder Woman seemed like a breath of cinematic fresh air. She’s simultaneously compassionate and shrewd, sensitive and fearless, loving and independent—both feminine and masculine. But in my culture, the Nühanzi has long been such a female role model. Nühanzi, written in Chinese as “女汉子,” literally means “masculine woman” or “manly woman.” It originally described Chinese women who weren’t beautiful, demure, or otherwise “feminine” enough. But over the past five years, women have begun using it proudly to empower themselves and other women who are independent, capable, outgoing, and mentally and physically strong. $5 from each “Mini” sold will go directly to the “More Than Me” organization which helps build...

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Nühanzi on Her Skin: How Tattoo Artist Zhuo Dan Ting’s Rebellion Became Her Art

By Wang Jiewen From a young age, Chinese children are schooled on the supposed differences between boys and girls, with girls learning their virtue lies in being gentle, delicate, sensitive, and “feminine.” Our most fundamental ways of thinking and being are rooted in this value system, from the clothes we wear to the careers we pursue. Yet despite these constraints, some women have defied the binds of convention and celebrated their toughness and strength. Chinese society’s response to these women has been to give them a label: “nühanzi (女汉子)”, or literally, “women who are men.” Originally, the term “nühanzi” was used as a weapon of derision against women who subverted hegemonic gender expectations. But as the fight for gender equality has gained momentum, with capable and smart women rejecting traditional norms and living by their own rules, “nühanzi” has evolved from a term of denigration to one of pride. “Nühanzi”...

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The rise of Nühanzi in China: Manly ladies who challenge China’s traditional female image

Offbeat China-Staff She is strong (psychologically and possibly physically, too). She is firm, decisive and open-minded. She is independent and responsible. She is nothing like the traditional “as soft and tender as water” image of a Chinese female. She hates high heels, dresses, make-up and the color pink. She’d rather spend the day play video games than shopping.  She spits out curses rather than shedding tears. She doesn’t know how to act like a cutie to win over men’s love. She is a Nühanzi (女汉子), literally meaning a manly woman or a tomboy – a woman who thinks and acts like a man and is yet more than just an unceremonious woman. Nühanzi is an extremely popular term that many Chinese young ladies now proudly label themselves. In contrary to the traditional Chinese female image of a cute, submissive and clinging lady,  a Nühanzi is tough enough to take care of herself without a man....

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These boots are made for walking

Shanghai Daily By Xu Wei Strong, independent women known as Nühanzi have become more common in China’s major cities and the entertainment industry has been quick to depict such characters on screens both big and small, writes Xu Wei. For hundreds of years, women, according to traditional Chinese criteria, have been expected to be soft, tender, fair and virtuous. But in modern society, more women in China are willing to call themselves Nühanzi (女汉子), literally “female man,” a popular term referring to members of the fairer sex who are independent, candid and strong. The term refers to how a woman thinks and acts, and is not just a reflection of her appearance and fashion sense. Some Nühanzi love to dress neutral style while others appear elegant and feminine. But all of them behave in ways seen as masculine. Nühanzi is rising in popularity among those in their 20s and 30s, many of whom think...

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How Masculine Women Craft New Ideals of Beauty

Sixth Tone By Nina Huang Chinese urban women are in a state of transformation. Traditionally treated like “princesses,” many of these females are becoming nu hanzi, a slang term that translates to “masculine woman.” The princesses are stereotypically egocentric, dependent, and selfish women with a false sense of entitlement. They expect their boyfriends to tie their shoelaces, carry their purses, and open bottles of water for them. Most of them are urbanites born after the implementation of the one-child policy in 1978. As China’s new market economy began picking up speed in the 1990s, disposable incomes grew and people became more materialistic. Being single children also meant they received all the financial and emotional attention from their parents, which would normally have been split among siblings, and came to famously be known as “little emperors” and “little princesses.” However, as more “princesses” have been exposed and mocked in the media in recent years,...

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China’s feminist school club: the Beijing students talking equality on their lunch break

The Guardian By Yuan Ren A year ago, Lauren Gao was watching the Chinese New Year Gala TV show when she felt perturbed by the portrayal of two types of women in one of the sketches. It depicted a  Nühanzi and a nushen – labels that had become popular in 2014. The former describes a “manly woman”, and was depicted on the show as a stubby woman approaching her 30s, unmarried and derided by peers around her; the latter a “goddess” – shown as young, slim, glamorous and worshipped. The representations of the two female characters made then 16-year-old Gao, a sixth-form student from Beijing, acutely aware of her own attitudes. But the truth is that the sketch did reflect some commonly held perceptions of “strong” women in China. The term Nühanzi is often used to refer to women exhibiting “manly” traits; such women are sometimes considered unattractive and even...

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SK-II empowers single women in powerful viral video

Chinese women are under immense pressure to marry before they turn 27. For those who remain single and labelled “Sheng Nu” (leftover women, 剩女), life can be cruel. To change this mentality, skin care brand SK-II has launched a video to empower single women and not let the pressures of the world dictate their future. Titled “Marriage market takeover”, the video covers the pressure the women face from both their parents and society to marry young and chronicles their road to acceptance. Audiences, it seems, aren’t immune to emotional selling, as the inspirational video has quickly garnered over 2.7 million views on Chinese social media just within three days. In the short film, the Procter & Gamble brand has invited three women to stand up and speak their mind against society’s labels and their parents’ pressures, in a bid to increase society’s understanding to finally change their destiny. The campaign aims to show that...

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