Author: Olivotti, Francesca
Title: Chinese feminists and advertisements : identity construction through media consumption
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2016
Subject: Women in mass media.
Feminism.
Feminism -- China.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: 196 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: This dissertation offers an ethnographic account of how a group of young Chinese women who identify themselves as feminists perceive the portrayal of females in advertisements. While previous studies privileged advertisements' content, by counting, dissecting, and analyzing the images in all possible ways, my original contribution to knowledge lies in an approach that aims at giving voice directly to a specific community of audiences who self-defines its own identity, and by doing so constantly negotiates the meaning of this membership. The goal of this dissertation is to explore the meaning that advertisements have for young, urban, Chinese feminists, and how they utilize these meanings to create spaces of resistance to gendered expectations of life course from the people around them: family members, teachers or Professors, and friends. The topics discussed in the thesis have all emerged from the discussions with my informants, and include: the portrayal of family roles in ads, and the ambivalent attitude towards traditional familial ties and feminist activism; the links between feminist activism and advertising strategies; and the analysis of female images as they emerged from the dialogic exchanges amongst us. The findings show that advertisements are instrumental in shaping their identity as feminists, which is constantly negotiated with the mediated effects of ads on the one hand and of traditional culture on the other hand. Their identity as feminists is thus in a constant process of becoming, and the role of advertisements in this process is crucial, because it offers images to which they can resist and learn from at the same time.
Access: open access

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