Creating Gendered Spaces: Women’s Choices, Strategies and Rationales in the Contemporary China

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Creating Gendered Spaces: Women’s Choices, Strategies and Rationales in the Contemporary China
Stream: Gender & Sexuality
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Yuchen Han, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, China (organizer, chair, presenter)
Hongfang Hao, University of Kyoto, Japan (presenter)
Xinrong Guo, The North Western University, China (presenter)
Li Zhang, Xiamen University, China (presenter)


China’s fast growth and social transformation over the past four decades owe greatly to its integration with Asia. Its women’s life arrangements such as becoming rural-urban migrant workers or transnational brides, are deeply embedded in the vibrant macro picture. The women's strategies and rationales in creating gendered spaces present a vivid episode of China’s story. Their femininities are constructed both by the intersectional state-capital-patriarchy power system, and by the intertwined effects of the Marxist Feminism’s heritage and the Market Feminism.

The panel presentations mainly focus on the women’s experiences when China eventually entered into the ‘New Normal’ Era. Paper one explores that against the backdrop of aftermath of financial crisis and the relocation of industries into the hinterland, how returned factory girls successfully bargain with the rural patriarchy by continuing engaging in industrial work and how they even utilize patriarchal resources to resist capitalist control. Paper two recounts the cross-boundary marital relationship patterns of Chinese wife-Japanese husband, Mainland wife-Taiwanese husband, and Vietnamese wife-Chinese husband, advocating for more social integration actions for the brides. Paper three examines Nv Boshi’s (women PhD) rationales of performing as ‘goddess’ (ideal femininity) to strategically bargain with the stigma towards the women intellectuals. Paper four delineates the reality in cyberspace that how rural women use short video app to speak bitterness in pursuing more social power and the constraints they face. By integrating studies that are cross-boundary, cross-class and cross-space in discussion, this panel hopes to address the common dilemma and common logic of bargaining for gendered spaces shared by the women in China and beyond.