WAGIC is a dedicated space for discussing gender, sexuality and feminism(s) in China past and present

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June 2, 2018

On May 7th, my friends and I felt outraged when we saw a banner on the school square that read “Your children can have 26 or 27 Gan die(干爹)”. Gan die (干爹) is a Chinese word used on social media that might be translated as ‘sugar daddy’. Without any hesitation, we protested with a placard saying “This is sexual harassment” in front of the banner and posted a photo online.

This is not the first time that banners like this have be...

June 2, 2018

Two earthquakes devastated areas in Sichuan, Wenchuan in 2008 and Lushan in 2013, but elicited very different public responses to the Red Cross Society of China (CRC) efforts to fundraise. This post explores the significance and role of celebrity, gender and politics in a petition involving a Chinese celebrity. The petition called for Peng Liyuan, China’s folk-singing diva, major general, CPPCC member, WHO ambassador and guomu...

May 30, 2018

The first story is that of a lonely male diaosi (literally “dick hair”, a neologism to describe mediocre losers) who vents his frustrations of his hopeless working life and temporarily escapes his isolation by watching nüzhubo (female casters on livestreams) bantering, singing, and most of all being alluring on a livestream platform like Douyu or YY; the second story is that of a filthy rich tuhao (nouveau riche, a derogatory...

May 28, 2018

It is well known that, in men’s cinema, visibility and celebrity often come at a price for women actresses: “spectacular visibility”, notes Parkins (2014:15), involves an objectification of women’s bodies which, far from empowering them, further alienates them by displaying a “transparent, accessible and possessable feminity” (ibid 58). Women’s objectification is not a concern so far for Tibetan cinema in the People’s Republic...

May 21, 2018

While China’s first entertainment star Shen Danping’s marriage to Kraeuter, a German man, in the mid-1980s is today celebrated as an exemplary fairy tale in the Chinese media, back then she faced strong rejection from both her family and work unit when she attempted to register her marriage. Her parents allegedly felt shamed by her desire to marry a ‘foreigner’ (laowai) and declined to attend their wedding celebration. Her wor...

May 14, 2018

Once the favourite of Chinese television industry, reality talent show has found a new life in the digital transformation from linear television entertainment to personalised and interactive Internet entertainment. Since 2017, leading video streaming sites like iQiyi, Tencent Video, and Mango TV have each launched their own hit reality talent shows that help popularise new music genres and enhance the name recognition of new a...

May 7, 2018

Thanks to Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, a Parisian illusionist, stage magic attained its status as a performing art and became a key cultural expression of modernity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (During, 2004). In grand theatres, magicians wore elegant black suits and combined scientific discoveries, craft and design with showmanship to amaze their audiences. This style of presenting magic in the persona o...

May 5, 2018

In our eighth issue of WAGIC, we explore questions of gender and sexuality in China’s celebrity industry. We are interested in how stars and idols across music, film, literature, sports, online and all other arenas of fame and public performance in China reflect, enact, conform to and/or transgress social norms and state-promoted ideals relating to gender and sexuality.

We asked out contributors to share their insights on these...

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