Between the traditional and the modern : image representations of women in Hong Kong and mainland China TV commercials

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Between the traditional and the modern : image representations of women in Hong Kong and mainland China TV commercials

 

Author: Chung, Man Kwan
Title: Between the traditional and the modern : image representations of women in Hong Kong and mainland China TV commercials
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 2012
Subject: Women in advertising -- China -- Hong Kong.
Women in advertising -- China.
Television advertising -- China -- Hong Kong.
Television advertising -- China.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Chinese and Bilingual Studies
Pages: viii, 209 leaves : col. ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2551255
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6775
Abstract: This study attempts to compare the image representations of women in TV commercials between Hong Kong and mainland China and to explore the competition and/or intertwinement between the traditional/local and modern/global forces in the construction of new images of Chinese women. A total of 1199 TV commercials from Hong Kong and mainland China in 2010 were collected, examined and analyzed for their image representations of Chinese woman by using both content analysis and multimodal analysis. While the content analysis examined the dimensions related to both voice/verbal characteristics and visual representations of women, the multimodal analysis further studied the textual and semiotic modes such as gesture, gaze, posture, head movement, facial expression, interaction, dress, grooming, and the use of space in order to better understand the ideological representations of women in contemporary Cultural China. Results of this cross-cultural/regional study show that the representations of Chinese women in both Hong Kong and mainland China TV commercials can neither be simply qualified as "traditional" nor as "modern", but rather, they can be more appropriately described as a delicate hybridization of both. While more traditional images are projected in the aspects of "product type" and "credibility", more modern images are portrayed via non-domestic settings and in recreational roles. Maintaining the traditional characteristics of being "in-group/ sameness", the more modern images are also "non-dependent" to others. While adhering to traditional expectations of being modest and frugal, they can also be assertive and act as providers of solutions and suggestions. In general, woman figures in Hong Kong commercials exhibited more modern but less traditional traits than its mainland China counterparts. In the dimension of voice and female verbal characteristics, Hong Kong commercials feature more female voices and more English-mixing than its mainland China counterparts. Furthermore, the results of this study validate the significance and dominance of hedonism in Hong Kong society, as manifested in the extensive association of hedonistic values with woman images and in the emphasis of self-enjoyment, independence, individuality and sociability. In mainland China commercials, in contrast, woman images are often associated with masculinity, as manifested in their portrayals in conventional masculine occupations and workplace and in promoting technology products. Finally, the study concludes with a discussion on the transformations of woman images in Chinese society in the globalizing age and on the "Chinese style of modern women" who retain Chinese feminine inner qualities such as being kind and caring but seek individual difference and good life for themselves at the same time. A non-dichotomized approach towards international advertising as well as to cultural studies of Chinese women is thus proposed which calls for further and more rigorous research into the interplay between the traditional and the modern dynamics in Chinese women today.

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