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Beautiful and Bad Women: Media Feminism and The Politics of Its Construction in Taiwan
Unformatted Document Text:  21 this not only facilitates women to sharpen their consuming skills, but further paves the way for their career success as work in late capitalism is increasingly feminized. The feminization of the workplace in late capitalism and the increasing significance of consumption in contemporary culture have made it possible for women to improve gender relations (Adkins 2001). Many first-world feminists who are more sympathetic to postfeminism has pointed out it is significant for feminists to acknowledge the improving economic situation that the young generation grow up with and hence, the change in their attitudes in gender relations (Winship 2000). However, Adkins provides a convincing empirical analysis arguing that the feminization of the workplace does not bring about improvements in gender relations. On the contrary, it is men who can be more flexible in their fashion and therefore, are offered better opportunities in the workplace. The traditional meanings of femininity still put a ceiling on women in terms of her cultural performativity; consequently, she is still more constrained in the workplace (2001). In addition to the critique from within Western feminism, it is important to link this “money sex and power” feminism to the context of neocolonialism. This feminism, while foregrounding sexual difference as the only determining factor in oppression, ignores how race and class factor into the structuring of hierarchy among women. In particular, feminists have to be vigilant about consumption as empowerment, for consumption in the first world often times requires the exploitation of the third-world women. The shift to service economy in the developed countries—hence, the creation of more jobs for women in the feminized sector of the workplace—usually means the shift of factory and manufacturing work to women in the third world, and the employment of migrant domestic maids in the first world. The obtaining of gender equality (if there is such) celebrated by many first-world feminists means more exploitation for third-world women and men. The Armani feminism celebrated in Taiwanese international women’s magazines also has to be contextualized within the context of neocolonialism. This fascination with Western commodities as a tool to liberation, especially liberation from local/traditional patriarchy, has its roots in imperialism. According to Parameswaran’s analysis (2002) on global media’s representations of globalization, he points out that global media such as National Geographic (and women’s magazines such as Elle and Cosmoplitan) are constructed as participating in the modernization of the third world: Portraying corporate America as a benevolent participant in the development of the non-Western world, the Geographic’s story further replenishes neo-colonial ideologies of the progressive global transformation promised by Western style

Authors: Yang, Fangchih.
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21
this not only facilitates women to sharpen their consuming skills, but further paves the
way for their career success as work in late capitalism is increasingly feminized.
The feminization of the workplace in late capitalism and the increasing significance of
consumption in contemporary culture have made it possible for women to improve
gender relations (Adkins 2001).
Many first-world feminists who are more sympathetic to postfeminism has
pointed out it is significant for feminists to acknowledge the improving economic
situation that the young generation grow up with and hence, the change in their
attitudes in gender relations (Winship 2000). However, Adkins provides a
convincing empirical analysis arguing that the feminization of the workplace does not
bring about improvements in gender relations. On the contrary, it is men who can be
more flexible in their fashion and therefore, are offered better opportunities in the
workplace. The traditional meanings of femininity still put a ceiling on women in
terms of her cultural performativity; consequently, she is still more constrained in the
workplace (2001).
In addition to the critique from within Western feminism, it is important to link this
“money sex and power” feminism to the context of neocolonialism. This feminism,
while foregrounding sexual difference as the only determining factor in oppression,
ignores how race and class factor into the structuring of hierarchy among women. In
particular, feminists have to be vigilant about consumption as empowerment, for
consumption in the first world often times requires the exploitation of the third-world
women. The shift to service economy in the developed countries—hence, the creation
of more jobs for women in the feminized sector of the workplace—usually means the
shift of factory and manufacturing work to women in the third world, and the
employment of migrant domestic maids in the first world. The obtaining of gender
equality (if there is such) celebrated by many first-world feminists means more
exploitation for third-world women and men.
The Armani feminism celebrated in Taiwanese international women’s magazines
also has to be contextualized within the context of neocolonialism. This fascination
with Western commodities as a tool to liberation, especially liberation from
local/traditional patriarchy, has its roots in imperialism. According to Parameswaran’s
analysis (2002) on global media’s representations of globalization, he points out that
global media such as National Geographic (and women’s magazines such as Elle and
Cosmoplitan) are constructed as participating in the modernization of the third world:
Portraying corporate America as a benevolent participant in the development of
the non-Western world, the Geographic’s story further replenishes neo-colonial
ideologies of the progressive global transformation promised by Western style


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