Luo Yang’s GIRLS belong to a part of contemporary China that is rarely taken note of in the West. Her portraits depict an emerging Chinese youth culture that defies imposed expectations and stereotypes: GIRLS are badass and self-aware with a supreme sense of cool, yet also insecure, vulnerable and torn. Underlying tensions and ambivalent emotions lend friction to Luo’s images and deny a conclusive reading. Above all, her work is a testament to her subjects’ individuality. It explores themes of youth and femininity while challenging traditional beliefs about Chinese women. GIRLS thus also reflect a shifting mindset with regard to concepts of femininity and identity in modern China.