Rising from the Margins
: Women Superstars in Superpower China

Item Type Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Abstract This paper sets out to analyse the rise of women from the cultural margins as China’s new superstars, celebrities and women cultural entrepreneurs (wenhua qiyejia) in China’s new mediasphere. Mediasphere includes the cybersphere, literary and non-literary texts, emphasizing their interconnectedness. This study analyses changes in popular culture, gender roles and social dynamics in a globalising post-socialist China (1997-present). It examines how the new women superstars and cultural entrepreneurs—including Internet author Anni Baobei (b. 1974), actress Xu Jinglei (b. 1974) and video artist Cao Fei (b. 1978)—invent themselves as ‘consumption celebrities’ in Guy Debord’s (1992) sense of the word—whose personae epitomise the many facets of China’s new popular culture. Working within the current political system, they use the new digital and social media for marketing, self-fashioning, activism and communicating with their target audiences. China’s Internet population reached 854 million netizens in June 2019 with a 61% penetration rate (CNNIC 2019), providing Chinese citizens with new avenues to communicate through non-official channels. This study analyses first, how China’s new women stars fashion themselves as a new type of celebrity; and second, how their works create a media spectacle. This media spectacle exists on three levels: first, as the public spectacle of female self- fashioning, casting the new woman author and artist as a media celebrity; second, as a literary or artistic reflection on China’s economic reforms and globalisation; and third, as the epitome of the social rise of women as China’s new cultural entrepreneurs. This paper aims to contribute to our understanding of the cultural and social negotiations surrounding the rise of the women as superstars and cultural entrepreneurs in China’s mediasphere. This research will shed new light on China’s new urban culture and changing gender dynamics in the era of globalisation.
Authors Berg, Daria & Strafella, Giorgio
Language English
Subjects social sciences
cultural studies
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
Date 16 April 2021
Event Location Held in Suzhou, China; virtual participation
Event Dates 16-17.04.2021
Depositing User Dr. Giorgio Strafella
Date Deposited 20 Apr 2021 13:45
Last Modified 20 Jul 2022 17:45
URI: https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/publications/263051


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Berg, Daria & Strafella, Giorgio: Rising from the Margins
: Women Superstars in Superpower China. 2021. - CHINA FROM THE MARGINS: NEW NARRATIVES OF THE PAST AND PRESENT. - Held in Suzhou, China; virtual participation.


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