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Beautiful and Bad Women: Media Feminism and The Politics of Its Construction in Taiwan
Unformatted Document Text:  7 and she is worth it. This feminism does not deal with structural inequality but personal preferences and the kind of subversion that fashion brings. This feminism is built upon the premise that women have achieved equality, or that women have surpassed men in holding power, as is claimed by United Daily News: “We have arrived at a new time when gender equality is the norm, there is no need to fight against male privilege”(1999/12/28). This kind of “New Times for Men and Women” mentality is echoed in the Corolla ad in Non-no magazine: “[In the New Times], we should stop the war between men and women and give up on torturing each other…. Men have freedom and women have independence, they now live happily hereafter” (Non-non, 1996/April). And the new times that these magazines claim are seen as the product of feminist movements. Hence, I would like to analyze how the history of feminist activism has been written by women’s magazines. Basically, my argument is, the fantastic history that women’s magazines construct about feminist activism follows two lines—beautiful and bad, which is to say that they follow the paths of a woman-centered difference feminism and a male-centered sameness feminism. Feminism and Bad Woman The bad-woman feminism that women’s magazines construct has its roots in liberal feminism. It advocates that women are human beings and uses this rhetoric to demand the rights that were previously denied to women. The badness refers to the fact that this new feminist subject “liberates herself from the burden of tradition,” claims that “women have the rights to autonomy,” and that “women need to be independent both mentally and economically” (Non-no, “How to Fight for Women’s Rights?” 1985/12, pp. 82-87). From magazines in the mid-‘80s to international women’s magazines in the present, the idea of gender equality and independence underwrites women’s magazines’ conception of feminism. The central concern in liberal feminism is women’s rights to participation in the public sphere; hence, feminists have paid much attention to legal reforms and equal rights in the workplace. In talking about feminism, women’s magazines also place a central focus on public issues such as reforms of civil law, sexual harassment in the workplace, equal rights amendment in the workplace, and women’s political participation. These issues are at the core concern of Taiwanese women’s movements. Women’s magazines also interview many feminist activists to address these issues; and equality in the workplace has been a particularly important one for women’s magazines. For example, in May 1994, Non-no included an excerpt from the book by a feminist lawyer Tu, Examining Women’s Rights in the Workplace, to talk about problems such as wage gap between men and women, sexual segregation of jobs, pregnancy treaty, and single women treaty. They also introduce feminists’ proposal of Equal Rights Amendment

Authors: Yang, Fangchih.
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7
and she is worth it. This feminism does not deal with structural inequality but
personal preferences and the kind of subversion that fashion brings. This feminism
is built upon the premise that women have achieved equality, or that women have
surpassed men in holding power, as is claimed by United Daily News: “We have
arrived at a new time when gender equality is the norm, there is no need to fight
against male privilege”(1999/12/28). This kind of “New Times for Men and Women”
mentality is echoed in the Corolla ad in Non-no magazine: “[In the New Times], we
should stop the war between men and women and give up on torturing each other….
Men have freedom and women have independence, they now live happily hereafter”
(Non-non, 1996/April). And the new times that these magazines claim are seen as
the product of feminist movements. Hence, I would like to analyze how the history of
feminist activism has been written by women’s magazines. Basically, my argument is,
the fantastic history that women’s magazines construct about feminist activism
follows two lines—beautiful and bad, which is to say that they follow the paths of a
woman-centered difference feminism and a male-centered sameness feminism.
Feminism and Bad Woman
The bad-woman feminism that women’s magazines construct has its roots in
liberal feminism. It advocates that women are human beings and uses this rhetoric to
demand the rights that were previously denied to women. The badness refers to the
fact that this new feminist subject “liberates herself from the burden of tradition,”
claims that “women have the rights to autonomy,” and that “women need to be
independent both mentally and economically” (Non-no, “How to Fight for Women’s
Rights?” 1985/12, pp. 82-87). From magazines in the mid-‘80s to international
women’s magazines in the present, the idea of gender equality and independence
underwrites women’s magazines’ conception of feminism. The central concern in
liberal feminism is women’s rights to participation in the public sphere; hence,
feminists have paid much attention to legal reforms and equal rights in the workplace.
In talking about feminism, women’s magazines also place a central focus on public
issues such as reforms of civil law, sexual harassment in the workplace, equal rights
amendment in the workplace, and women’s political participation. These issues are
at the core concern of Taiwanese women’s movements. Women’s magazines also
interview many feminist activists to address these issues; and equality in the
workplace has been a particularly important one for women’s magazines. For example,
in May 1994, Non-no included an excerpt from the book by a feminist lawyer Tu,
Examining Women’s Rights in the Workplace, to talk about problems such as wage
gap between men and women, sexual segregation of jobs, pregnancy treaty, and single
women treaty. They also introduce feminists’ proposal of Equal Rights Amendment


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