Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

“From Sparrow to Phoenix”: Imagining Gender Transformation through Taiwanese Women's Variety TV

“From Sparrow to Phoenix”: Imagining Gender Transformation through Taiwanese Women's Variety TV Through analysis of the fashion-and-beauty variety program 《女人我最大》 (English title Queen ), launched in 2003 by Taiwan cable channel TVBS-G and now spreading in syndicated adaptations in China, this paper examines the pop-cultural consolidation of a new category of feminine identity: the 輕熟女 ( qingshounü , lit. “young-mature woman”). Drawing on interviews with viewers conducted in Taipei in 2011, the article analyzes audience responses to the program to argue that Queen both reflects and (re)constructs a popular understanding of qingshounü as a new, transitional stage in the life cycle of femininity in urban, late-modern commodity culture. Positioned between “girl (student)” (女生) and “respectable (married) woman” (婦女) or “mama” (媽媽), the qingshounü is defined by her spending power, her relative independence from the burdens of reproductive and domestic labor, and her focus on personal pleasure and individual satisfaction. I propose that by demarcating a woman's freedom to “live for herself” and (re)make herself within a temporary life phase, the qingshounü concept is fundamentally structured by a central ambivalence: it at once imagines postfamilial feminine identity and underscores the utopian character of such imagining in light of the still-dominant social expectation that after her youth, a woman will dedicate her energies to her family as much as or more than to herself. The uneasy coexistence of these competing frameworks marks a point of tension and negotiation between historically distinct technologies of feminine selfhood in Taiwan today. gender Taiwan variety TV celebrity genealogy identity individualization http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

“From Sparrow to Phoenix”: Imagining Gender Transformation through Taiwanese Women's Variety TV

positions asia critique , Volume 24 (2) – May 1, 2016

“From Sparrow to Phoenix”: Imagining Gender Transformation through Taiwanese Women's Variety TV


Feminist analysis of gendered subject in modern Chinese cultures has illustrated that at different times in history, available categories of gendered personhood have been formed through a range of distinct though sometimes interlocking cultural systems, including the patrilineal family (, jia), feminism(s), sexology, nationalism and the state, elite literature, and commercial popular culture.1 In the spirit of this strand of genealogical analysis, this article presents an investigation of a novel feminine identity category invented in Taiwan in 2005: qingshounü (, lit. young-mature woman). Following such feminist genealogy, I understand the category qingshounü not simply as a novel linguistic packaging of a preexisting essential entity (such as "women"), but rather as a qualitatively new way of representing, understanding, and producing gendered subjecthood. It is 24:2 doi 10.1215/10679847-3458661 Copyright 2016 by Duke University Press 24:2 May 2016 less a concrete demographic category than a novel epistemology for imagining gendered identity. In that sense, as Tani E. Barlow has argued for the category "women" ( funü, nüxing), qingshounü operates as a catachresis: a concept-metaphor that lacks a proper referent but that functions as a "legible repository of social experience" whose investigation yields insight into the social norms of the present.2 Qingshounü is a category fashioned by the parallel systems of commodity culture and commercial entertainment media. It belongs in a discursive constellation with other terms currently circulating in Sinophone media cultures that have been produced by these same systems, including shounü (, mature woman), xingnan (, metrosexual), xiaozi (, yuppie), and like these terms, qingshounü designates a target market and a style as much as a subjectivity. Invented by Shiseido Taiwan as part of the campaign to launch its Maquillage line of cosmetics, the term...
Loading next page...
 
/lp/duke-university-press/from-sparrow-to-phoenix-imagining-gender-transformation-through-0z0CFbvfRa
Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Duke Univ Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1527-8271
DOI
10.1215/10679847-3458661
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Through analysis of the fashion-and-beauty variety program 《女人我最大》 (English title Queen ), launched in 2003 by Taiwan cable channel TVBS-G and now spreading in syndicated adaptations in China, this paper examines the pop-cultural consolidation of a new category of feminine identity: the 輕熟女 ( qingshounü , lit. “young-mature woman”). Drawing on interviews with viewers conducted in Taipei in 2011, the article analyzes audience responses to the program to argue that Queen both reflects and (re)constructs a popular understanding of qingshounü as a new, transitional stage in the life cycle of femininity in urban, late-modern commodity culture. Positioned between “girl (student)” (女生) and “respectable (married) woman” (婦女) or “mama” (媽媽), the qingshounü is defined by her spending power, her relative independence from the burdens of reproductive and domestic labor, and her focus on personal pleasure and individual satisfaction. I propose that by demarcating a woman's freedom to “live for herself” and (re)make herself within a temporary life phase, the qingshounü concept is fundamentally structured by a central ambivalence: it at once imagines postfamilial feminine identity and underscores the utopian character of such imagining in light of the still-dominant social expectation that after her youth, a woman will dedicate her energies to her family as much as or more than to herself. The uneasy coexistence of these competing frameworks marks a point of tension and negotiation between historically distinct technologies of feminine selfhood in Taiwan today. gender Taiwan variety TV celebrity genealogy identity individualization

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: May 1, 2016

There are no references for this article.