Man Meets Woman

Exploring Gender Stereotypes Through Pictograms

The differences between men and women: a topic of interest as old as humanity itself. In Yang Liu’s latest book, a series of eight pictograms are used to tackle issues concerning the stereotypes of the sexes. She sees it as an ‘east-meets-west’ type documentation, with aims of handling differences with humour, whilst initiating more understanding and tolerance.

Yang Liu: Man Meets Woman; Luggage
Yang Liu: Man Meets Woman; Self Image

The age-old subject has been well complemented by the visual style, which has been developed to serve the content. Pictograms, Yang told us, are ‘the oldest and most functional communication tools in all cultures of the world. It is in this way a universal language.’
Yang Liu: Man Meets Woman; Mysterious Objects
Yang Liu: Man Meets Woman; Competition

We spoke to Yang a little about the issues raised by the book:

The Plus: What did you learn about men and women through writing this book that you hadn’t considered before?
Yang Liu:
I have learned a lot of different things. Through the working process it was very interesting to see how universal gender clichés are, and how many of them are still valid to our current life. We sometimes need more tolerance between men and women than between the cultures.
Yang Liu: Man Meets Woman;  	Modern Man/Housewife

TP: What are some of the most difficult issues that you feel are tackled in the book?
There are many aspects that I think are important to be tackled. It is important for me to present the subject from different angles.
I personally enjoyed the reversion of the gender situations, i.e. if a woman is very commanding to a man, she is always seen as a strong person. But if a man behaves in the same way towards a woman, he would be seen as too macho. Also, if a woman wears men’s clothing in everyday life, it can be normal. But if a man wears women’s clothes, he would still be seen as a strange person. It shows that the ‘equality’ we have is still far from what equality actually means.
Yang Liu: Man Meets Woman; Single Focus/Multitasking

TP: Do you have any opinions on the current state of feminism in the world today?
Many things have improved and my generation are very thankful for the hard-earned rights we have today. Each generation and also each cultural environment will constantly redefine their gender rolls and the directions of the movement themselves. Especially in our time of globalization and the digital revolution, we need to orientate ourselves in multiple aspects and under much more complex requirements. I am curious to see where we will move to in the future.
Yang Liu: Man Meets Woman; Best Weapon

Men Meets Woman is available on TASCHEN in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian.