Gender, Sexuality and Power in Chinese Companies

Beauties at Work

  • Liu Jieyu

Part of the Gender, Development and Social Change book series (GDSC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Liu Jieyu
    Pages 1-10
  3. Liu Jieyu
    Pages 55-71
  4. Liu Jieyu
    Pages 73-87
  5. Liu Jieyu
    Pages 89-106
  6. Liu Jieyu
    Pages 107-121
  7. Liu Jieyu
    Pages 123-141
  8. Liu Jieyu
    Pages 143-153
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 155-158

About this book


This book offers the first ethnographic account of the experiences of highly educated young professional women, hailed by the Chinese media as ‘white-collar beauties’. It exposes the organizational mechanisms – naturalization, objectification and commodification of women – that wield gendered and sexual control in post-Mao workplaces. Whilst men benefit from symbolic and bureaucratic power, women professionals skilfully enact indirect power in a game of domination and resistance. The sources of women’s subversion are grounded in their only-child upbringing which breaks the patrilineal base of familial patriarchy fostering an unprecedented ambition in personal development, gender as inherently relational and a role-oriented system, and inner-outer cultural boundaries as signifiers of moral agency. This raises a new feminist inquiry about the agents for social change. Through a nuanced analysis grounded in the socio-cultural locality, this book throws fresh light upon the ways in which gender, sexuality and power could be theorized beyond a Euro-American reality.


Gender Sexuality Work Organization China Power Naturalization Commodification Objectification Neoliberalism Subversion

Authors and affiliations

  • Liu Jieyu
    • 1
  1. 1.SOAS University of LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information