18 One-Page Books with PET FIlm Covers
29.7 cm x 21 cm x 0.5 cm each

Covers is a collaborative project that examines the internalized social discipline that young women face when they put on makeup.

It seems that wearing makeup has become a social norm exclusively for women. Young women wear makeup almost every day, in order to “look decent” or “show respect for others;” otherwise they are likely to feel inferior or insecure. Sexual objectification theory and Michel Foucault’s disciplinary power theory both imply the similar disciplining process: recognizing the gaze, women start to scrutinize their images and thus begin self-disciplining. Therefore, often when a woman looks at herself, she is employing the third-person narrative, rather than the first.

In this project, I took makeup-free portraits for young women and invited them to draw two looks on the photos. One is from the third-person narrative, the way they think others will appreciate; the other is from the first-person narrative, which celebrates their personal traits with admiration and pride. Each person’s images form a book. The two looks she painted are printed on transparent PET films as the covers, showing the traces of labor of her self-transformation. Inside the book is a page that contains the makeup-free portrait, as well as the intended makeup effect and the story behind the first-person narrative look. As the audience flips back and forth to see their natural faces and read the texts, they make an effort to get to know the person, instead of judging them by the covers. The project visualizes these young women’s self-discipline and encourages more diverse and more positive perspectives to admire the natural beauty of ourselves and that of one another.
29.7 cm x 21 cm x 0.5 cm




A BIG thank you to every girl who participated in COVERS: Wu Luxi, Cao Shuning, Li Ziwei, Xu Jialu, Li Jing, Zheng Shuning, Chen Yulu, Gao Yaping, Li Yufei, Li Xingting, Zhang Youning, Sun Yicun, Liu Yixuan, Liu Xinyi, Guan Chengqing, Xu Chenyu, Yu Duoer, Li Xiang, Liu Siteng, Manyi Chen, etc.