The lackluster Women’s Day doodles found today on the homepages of Youku and Baidu have become objects of ridicule for reinforcing gender stereotypes of women after a post by a Chinese illustrator went viral on Weibo.
In a Weibo post that has been shared more than 15,000 times in eight hours, 23-year-old artist Huang Leilei said she was commissioned by a prestigious Chinese technology company to create a doodle that would go on its homepage on Women’s Day. The campaign would encourage women to “be the person you’d like to be”, so Huang came up with the following illustration which featured happy women from all walks of life participating in various professions:
The team that she worked with was mostly women, and the work was progressing smoothly, until at the last moment, the boss decided to scrap everything. Found on the homepage of the portal today was a little girl sitting among flowers drinking tea.
While the Edinburgh-based Huang, a graduate from Peking University, does not name the company explicitly, netizens were quick to point out that the description matches the doodle displayed atop video sharing website Youku. Seen on the right is the full version of the illustration as seen on a mobile phone, containing text which reads: “May the world be gentle to you.”
Netizens were quick to pile on the criticism, with one user @lannel_珊 remarking: “The boss probably doesn’t know, today is International Women’s Day, not international mistress day.” Another user @香伯伯 lamented: “Our country doesn’t need creative women, it just needs pretty dolls to put in cages.”
Equally painful in its choice of doodle was Baidu which had a figurine girl revolving on top of a music box surrounded by jewelry and other precious items:
Huang concludes her post by saying that after looking at the illustrations used by Google Hong Kong, which appear to be in the same spirit as her original work, she felt only grief.