“Softcore Hentai” Poster Lands Chengdu Punk Music Festival in Hot Water

Not very punk

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12:36 PM HKT, Fri June 25, 2021 1 mins read

A dismantling of social norms has always been at the core of punk culture. Now though, one punk event has found itself in hot water after producing a hyper-sexualized promotional poster, drawing blowback from both men and women, punk music fans and haters alike.

The poster for the Chengdu Punk Music Festival featured an anime-style girl in a skimpy outfit, holding a microphone between her breasts. Presumably, the artist was hoping to push the envelope — instead, the result was softcore hentai. Not boundary-pushing, not punk, not anything.


The Chengdu Midi Center, which hosts the festival, was quick to apologize. The center said it “regretted” the mistake, which it blames on a hiccup in its “review process.”

According to the center, staff had asked for changes to be made to the poster, but accidentally released the unmodified version to the public. Netizens weren’t buying it, and the hashtag “Chengdu Punk Music Festival” shot up to 400,000 impressions on Weibo.

“Is the designer of this poster sick,” asks one typical comment.

“Punk really is a vulgar thing,” reads another, demonstrating the damage of this visual misrepresentation of punk.


The poster’s design drew near-universal criticism from audiences

Besides the shock factor, social media discussion fell largely on the culture of misogyny that could have allowed the poster’s design to go unchallenged.

“This work isn’t just obscene, it’s misogynistic,” writes one commenter. “It suggests that men come for the music, and women just come to be eye candy.”

Knowing that these sorts of missteps can draw major action from official state channels, the Chengdu Midi Center wasted no time in apologizing. Part of their official statement reads, “No matter what platform or channel, we should avoid repeating these incidents and strive for a positive environment.”


Cover image: Chengdu Punk Music Festival, Weibo

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