Date of Award

December 2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Media Studies

Advisor(s)

Carol M. Liebler

Keywords

Chinese femininity, Female empowerment, Hegemony, Identity Creation, Sina Weibo, Social media

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

This qualitative textual analysis study focuses on two Chinese women who were previously sexually involved with the corrupted officers and later reported these officers to authorities. As a Chinese version of Twitter, Sina Weibo is a powerful social networking and communication tool for their reports. The study analyzes the posts and comments available on Sina Weibo about the identity of these women and how hegemonic Chinese femininity is performed, maintained, and challenged. These discussions may reflect the potential cultural, ideological, and socioeconomic factors that can influence the construction of contemporary Chinese femininity, providing the picture of how social media and mainstream journalists may influence the construction of the femininity and female empowerment. The results of the study suggest that the journalists and the mainstream public tend to marginalize and blame the woman in the sex-video case more than the woman in self-report case. In these discourses, the woman is given more agency in the self-report case partially because of her high socioeconomic status. The influence of traditional Chinese culture as well as the Western sex objectification of women is still obvious. The hegemonic femininity has been maintained by the mainstream groups on Weibo; however, social media do provide opportunities for the women to inspire social engagement and speak up for individual construction of diverse femininity, challenging social hegemony and empowering the women being studied.

Access

Open Access

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