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China's Accidental Feminist Icon

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

Feeling trapped amid the expectations of being a housewife and grandmother, Su Min set off, finding freedom and fame as she travelled around China.

Su Min roadtrip China
YouTube | Today Online

In late 2020 Su Min left her unhappy marriage behind and hit the road. The 58-year-old retiree had raised her family and done her duties, and her husband, she says, was treating her badly. So she studied online videos about road trips and set off across China alone in a VW hatchback with her pension and a rooftop tent.

As she travelled, Su filmed and posted videos and diaries of her journey, speaking candidly of her dissatisfying life of housework. She also marvelled at the beauty of the country she was finally exploring, and made new friends.

Su built a following of millions and regularly trended on social media; even featuring in a Net-A-Porter advertisement for International Women’s Day.

As Su travelled and her fame grew, many women saw her as an accidental feminist icon, for rejecting the traditional expectations of a housewife and grandmother and taking control of her life. She shyly dismisses the moniker and says she’s not that famous, but enjoys how often she is stopped on the street, and how older women in particular have related to her story.

Along her journey she upgraded the hatchback to a campervan. “I finally have my own home,” she told viewers in one post. “In the past, many things don’t belong to me in my family. There was not my name on those things. But my name is finally on this van now.”


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