AJC  Vol.10 No.2 , June 2022
Becoming “Bad Women”: The Transnational Women’s Magazine Cosmo and the Re-Shaping of Female Sexual Subjectivity in Post-Reform China
Abstract: After years of scholarly critique on postfeminism in western societies, it has been increasingly noted that the postfeminist sensibility is a transnational culture because it is “a fundamentally mediated and commodified discourse and set of material practices” (Dosekun, 2015: p. 961). This paper joins the conversation by examining the sexuality discourse in the transnational women magazine Cosmo China. I traced the historical entry of the magazine into China and analysed the sexuality discourse in it in juxtaposition with the local sexual discourse. I argue that, despite that the postfeminist sexuality discourse in fact re-traditionalizes women—often in the vocabularies of autonomy, choice, empowerment and consumerism—it garners a sense of modernity relative to the local gender culture. This is embedded in the geopolitics at that time that repudiated the local socialist past which is criticized to repress femininity and sexuality. Class disintegration between Chinese women is important to build up this geopolitical dichotomy, as the magazine functions to deliver the urban, middle- and upper-class women in post-reform China to global capital. In the end, I argue for the need to adopt a truly transnational feminist perspective to combat neoliberal, individualist, and consumerist nature of postfeminism.
Cite this paper: Ling, Q. (2022) Becoming “Bad Women”: The Transnational Women’s Magazine Cosmo and the Re-Shaping of Female Sexual Subjectivity in Post-Reform China. Advances in Journalism and Communication, 10, 278-295. doi: 10.4236/ajc.2022.102017.

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