Using News Narratives to Learn About Gender Ideologies in Contemporary China
This chapter examines the ideological construction of gender identities in news narratives in China with a view to highlight the need for enhancing media literacy in this field. Through an exploration of the intersection of journalistic and gender ideologies, the chapter seeks to illuminate the role of media framing in defining, establishing and reinforcing gender norms and roles in Chinese society. Gendered frames, for instance, of motherhood or the primacy of breadwinner role, allow journalists to simplify the complexities of the stories of men and women in their private and public spheres. A detailed qualitative study of a corpus of 12 news articles from China Daily using a textual analysis approach revealed that the news texts primarily construct ideals of manhood and womanhood. Within a patriarchal and hierarchical media, state and social structure, representations of hegemonic masculinities persist in news narratives. With regard to women, it was found that, on the one hand, voices of rural, migrant women were marginalised and, on the other, urban or modern women were commodified as objects of men’s desire in this age of consumerism. These results call for critically minded, media-literate Chinese to pay attention to the forms of transitional, as opposed to traditional, gender roles and ideologies that are emerging slowly but steadily through the news media.
KeywordsMedia literacy Gender ideologies News narratives Chinese society
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