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Beautiful and Bad Women: Media Feminism and The Politics of Its Construction in Taiwan
Unformatted Document Text:  18 feminism places a central focus on promoting the ideology that woman power can be obtained through sexually satisfying men and women, which can be acquired through consumption. (Yang 2003). In the ‘90s, many feminist groups emerged, with objectives and politics very different from the Awakening group. The diversification of Taiwan’s women’s movements forces feminist groups to confront the issue of difference, especially with the separation of lesbian groups from Awakening in 1993 (which was termed “The Im/Ex-plosion of Feminism”). However, the most well-known feminist activism in popular media was the anti-sexual harassment rally in 1993. During the rally, Josephine He trumpeted forth: “No sexual harassment, only sexual orgasms!” Zhang (1994) and Lin (1997) both point out that popular media’s obsession with this slogan had constructed this rally as a rally for women’s orgasms. Other issues such as women’s rights to education that the rally intended to address were erased from the media. Women’s magazines also enthusiastically engaged with this “feminist orgasm” because, without a detailed critique of sexual politics, it was easily appropriated to match the needs of consumerism that women’s magazines advocate—“women love men, women love to look beautiful, and women desire independence and autonomy.” Within the ideology of woman power and consumerism, women’s magazines keep on telling women that to practice beautiful-woman feminism means to dress beautifully for men and to practice bad-woman feminism means holding the attitude that “as long as I enjoy it, nothing can prevent me from it” (a popular slogan from Kimonzi soft drink commercial). The need for consumerism directs women’s magazines to focus on individual images when talking about feminism (especially on whether this image is likable to men) without getting into feminist politics or practices. For example, in interviewing Yi-yun Chang, a feminist on legal studies, women’s magazines frame this interview as “Will Smart Women Scare Men Away?” (Marie Claire, 1996/2). In a special issue on feminist activism, women’s magazines first interviewed male celebrities to talk about their ideas of what feminists look like and caricatured them into different types. In the following article, women’s magazines used the title: “Who Say They Are All Bitches?” to frame the discussion on feminism within the confines of appearance and images. Of course, they also featured beautiful pictures of these feminists such as Yuan-chen Lee and Xiao-hung Chang to prove that feminists do not look like “bitches” (Marie Claire, 1995/3). The imperative for consumption in women’s magazines only allows for actions that conform to the beautiful-and-bad-woman feminism; consequently, many feminist events are erased from view. For example, when a murder case—a woman, Deng ru-wen, killed her husband as a result of her husband’s abuse—was made known to

Authors: Yang, Fangchih.
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18
feminism places a central focus on promoting the ideology that woman power can be
obtained through sexually satisfying men and women, which can be acquired through
consumption. (Yang 2003).
In the ‘90s, many feminist groups emerged, with objectives and politics very
different from the Awakening group. The diversification of Taiwan’s women’s
movements forces feminist groups to confront the issue of difference, especially with
the separation of lesbian groups from Awakening in 1993 (which was termed “The
Im/Ex-plosion of Feminism”). However, the most well-known feminist activism in
popular media was the anti-sexual harassment rally in 1993. During the rally,
Josephine He trumpeted forth: “No sexual harassment, only sexual orgasms!” Zhang
(1994) and Lin (1997) both point out that popular media’s obsession with this slogan
had constructed this rally as a rally for women’s orgasms. Other issues such as
women’s rights to education that the rally intended to address were erased from the
media. Women’s magazines also enthusiastically engaged with this “feminist
orgasm” because, without a detailed critique of sexual politics, it was easily
appropriated to match the needs of consumerism that women’s magazines
advocate—“women love men, women love to look beautiful, and women desire
independence and autonomy.” Within the ideology of woman power and
consumerism, women’s magazines keep on telling women that to practice
beautiful-woman feminism means to dress beautifully for men and to practice
bad-woman feminism means holding the attitude that “as long as I enjoy it, nothing
can prevent me from it” (a popular slogan from Kimonzi soft drink commercial).
The need for consumerism directs women’s magazines to focus on individual
images when talking about feminism (especially on whether this image is likable to
men) without getting into feminist politics or practices. For example, in interviewing
Yi-yun Chang, a feminist on legal studies, women’s magazines frame this interview as
“Will Smart Women Scare Men Away?” (Marie Claire, 1996/2). In a special issue on
feminist activism, women’s magazines first interviewed male celebrities to talk about
their ideas of what feminists look like and caricatured them into different types. In
the following article, women’s magazines used the title: “Who Say They Are All
Bitches?” to frame the discussion on feminism within the confines of appearance and
images. Of course, they also featured beautiful pictures of these feminists such as
Yuan-chen Lee and Xiao-hung Chang to prove that feminists do not look like
“bitches” (Marie Claire, 1995/3).
The imperative for consumption in women’s magazines only allows for actions
that conform to the beautiful-and-bad-woman feminism; consequently, many feminist
events are erased from view. For example, when a murder case—a woman, Deng
ru-wen, killed her husband as a result of her husband’s abuse—was made known to


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