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Beautiful and Bad Women: Media Feminism and The Politics of Its Construction in Taiwan
Unformatted Document Text:  11 is legitimized through constructing the ’60s and ‘70s Western feminism as “belonging to the past.” Western feminism is fabricated as “radical feminist groups who violate the harmonious relationships between men and women” (Non-no, 1986/6, 54), “overbearing” (Elle, 1995/5, 44), “too feminist” (“that is, they change all the laws to fit the needs of women and ignore the needs of the society as a whole”) (Non-no, 1989/8), “bra-burning” (Elle, 1996/1), or “flag-waving and screaming” (Non-no, 1994/9). These negative images of Western feminism are used to justify that: “Taiwanese women does not need to go through the stage that characterized Western feminism, but use a more gentle and tender way to improve themselves, adjust themselves, and express themselves.” (Non-no, 1994/9). From the mid-’80s to the present, we discover that women’s magazines always position themselves at the most “modern” point in time. That is, both beautiful-woman feminism and bad-woman feminism have both conceptualize time as linear and progressive. In assigning Western feminism to the past, women’s magazines justify their transcendence of the past and therefore, Western feminism. Fabian’s (1983) notion of allochronism refers to the allocation of a geographically distanced other onto a temporal order. However, Fabian is specifically talking about anthropologists who use allochronistic discourse to produce the need for “civilizing mission” and therefore, justify Western imperialism. However, the allochronistic discourse on Western feminism in Taiwanese popular media is invoked to justify the legitimacy of a man-loving feminism. Allochronism as a form of writing should be seen as a form of power. That is, in constructing identity, we tend to create a vile other to solidify a sense of who we are—and this should be seen as an expression of power. Ahmad (1992) points out that it is normal to create an other for identity construction, what matters is how these representations of the other are connected to the different stages of capitalism to produce/justify inequality and exploitation. In this sense, the use of allochronism in constructing a Western other should be seen as a form of negotiation—international women’s magazines in Taiwan are forced to negotiate with Western hegemony that Western feminism represents when they address to local readers. Women’s magazines use the conflicts between local culture and Western culture to define who and what Taiwanese women are; however, no matter what the definition is, the notion of the West has become such a powerful presence that one has to deal with it in defining one’s identity in Taiwan. If constructing a Western other is seen as a form of negotiation that women’s magazines have to deal with in addressing to local readers; more often, women’s magazines have played a significant role in the West’s “worlding” of the world. Spivak defines “worlding” as a form of imperialism because it refers to the imposition of one’s culture on other people to make it other’s culture. Women’s magazines,

Authors: Yang, Fangchih.
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is legitimized through constructing the ’60s and ‘70s Western feminism as “belonging
to the past.” Western feminism is fabricated as “radical feminist groups who violate
the harmonious relationships between men and women” (Non-no, 1986/6, 54),
“overbearing” (Elle, 1995/5, 44), “too feminist” (“that is, they change all the laws to
fit the needs of women and ignore the needs of the society as a whole”) (Non-no,
1989/8), “bra-burning” (Elle, 1996/1), or “flag-waving and screaming” (Non-no,
1994/9). These negative images of Western feminism are used to justify that:
“Taiwanese women does not need to go through the stage that characterized Western
feminism, but use a more gentle and tender way to improve themselves, adjust
themselves, and express themselves.” (Non-no, 1994/9).
From the mid-’80s to the present, we discover that women’s magazines always
position themselves at the most “modern” point in time. That is, both
beautiful-woman feminism and bad-woman feminism have both conceptualize time as
linear and progressive. In assigning Western feminism to the past, women’s
magazines justify their transcendence of the past and therefore, Western feminism.
Fabian’s (1983) notion of allochronism refers to the allocation of a geographically
distanced other onto a temporal order. However, Fabian is specifically talking about
anthropologists who use allochronistic discourse to produce the need for “civilizing
mission” and therefore, justify Western imperialism. However, the allochronistic
discourse on Western feminism in Taiwanese popular media is invoked to justify the
legitimacy of a man-loving feminism. Allochronism as a form of writing should be
seen as a form of power. That is, in constructing identity, we tend to create a vile
other to solidify a sense of who we are—and this should be seen as an expression of
power. Ahmad (1992) points out that it is normal to create an other for identity
construction, what matters is how these representations of the other are connected to
the different stages of capitalism to produce/justify inequality and exploitation. In this
sense, the use of allochronism in constructing a Western other should be seen as a
form of negotiation—international women’s magazines in Taiwan are forced to
negotiate with Western hegemony that Western feminism represents when they
address to local readers. Women’s magazines use the conflicts between local culture
and Western culture to define who and what Taiwanese women are; however, no
matter what the definition is, the notion of the West has become such a powerful
presence that one has to deal with it in defining one’s identity in Taiwan.
If constructing a Western other is seen as a form of negotiation that women’s
magazines have to deal with in addressing to local readers; more often, women’s
magazines have played a significant role in the West’s “worlding” of the world.
Spivak defines “worlding” as a form of imperialism because it refers to the imposition
of one’s culture on other people to make it other’s culture. Women’s magazines,


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