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Beautiful and Bad Women: Media Feminism and The Politics of Its Construction in Taiwan
Unformatted Document Text:  8 to their readers and emphasize that, “we believe that the laws that violate gender equality will become history…. The only access for women to gain independence and hence, to equality between men and women is to fight for their rights in the workplace (Non-no, 1994/5, women’s rights in the workplace, pp. 226-228). However, the liberal rhetoric that women’s magazines adopt is not confined to the public sphere, but is extended to issues of sexuality. In the United States, while concerns about workplace equality “belong” to the second-wave feminists’ territory, issues of sexuality and pleasure are constructed as a third-wave agenda (Heywood and Drake). However, in Taiwan, there is not much distinction between the second wave and the third wave. It is the co-existence of these different issues that mark the specificity of feminist activism (and also, popular feminism) in Taiwan. Here, I use “Who Decides How to Eat A Cake” from Marie Claire to talk about this liberal rhetoric of gender equality: Westerners use ‘the different ways to eat a cake’ to refer to the various positions people take when having sex. Most men believe that they should control the way to eat a cake, but feminists since the 1960s have thrown away this ‘tradition’. If women take over the decision-making power when having sex, the process of eating a cake would be more exciting and gratifying (1993/7, 102). In this article, patriarchy is constructed through sexual positions-- “men on top, women at the bottom”— which are meant to facilitate the continuance of the patrilineage. In a patriarchal society in which women’s sexuality is repressed, Taiwanese women are “most inadequate about their sexual organs and the ways to eat a cake.” And since “women’s body is the site of feminist practice,” women should practice “women on top” in order to achieve gender equality: “Simply said, seeking sexual pleasure is no longer men’s privilege only”(103). The discourse about sexuality follows the rhetoric about gender equality—like men, women are also human beings; hence, they have the right to enjoy sexual pleasure. In particular, in the anti-sexual harassment rally organized by Taiwanese feminists in 1994, feminist Ho proclaimed “no harassment, only orgasms,” arguing for a kind of feminism that enables men and women to share power together through the strategy of sexual liberation. Because of the shocking effect this slogan brings to the public, it has become the metonymic figure for feminism in popular media. Ho even writes in women’s magazines, explaining/advocating the necessity of sexual liberation, emphasizing that women’s sexual liberation does not allow men to take advantage of women. Instead, it means, “men get satisfaction and women get pleasure, they are on equal terms” (Cosmopolitan, “Women’s Sexual Liberation Benefit men only?’ (1995/1, 36).

Authors: Yang, Fangchih.
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8
to their readers and emphasize that, “we believe that the laws that violate gender
equality will become history…. The only access for women to gain independence
and hence, to equality between men and women is to fight for their rights in the
workplace (Non-no, 1994/5, women’s rights in the workplace, pp. 226-228).
However, the liberal rhetoric that women’s magazines adopt is not confined to
the public sphere, but is extended to issues of sexuality. In the United States, while
concerns about workplace equality “belong” to the second-wave feminists’ territory,
issues of sexuality and pleasure are constructed as a third-wave agenda (Heywood and
Drake). However, in Taiwan, there is not much distinction between the second wave
and the third wave. It is the co-existence of these different issues that mark the
specificity of feminist activism (and also, popular feminism) in Taiwan. Here, I use
“Who Decides How to Eat A Cake” from Marie Claire to talk about this liberal
rhetoric of gender equality:
Westerners use ‘the different ways to eat a cake’ to refer to the various
positions people take when having sex. Most men believe that they should
control the way to eat a cake, but feminists since the 1960s have thrown away
this ‘tradition’. If women take over the decision-making power when having
sex, the process of eating a cake would be more exciting and gratifying
(1993/7, 102).
In this article, patriarchy is constructed through sexual positions-- “men on top,
women at the bottom”— which are meant to facilitate the continuance of the
patrilineage. In a patriarchal society in which women’s sexuality is repressed,
Taiwanese women are “most inadequate about their sexual organs and the ways to eat
a cake.” And since “women’s body is the site of feminist practice,” women should
practice “women on top” in order to achieve gender equality: “Simply said, seeking
sexual pleasure is no longer men’s privilege only”(103). The discourse about
sexuality follows the rhetoric about gender equality—like men, women are also
human beings; hence, they have the right to enjoy sexual pleasure. In particular, in
the anti-sexual harassment rally organized by Taiwanese feminists in 1994, feminist
Ho proclaimed “no harassment, only orgasms,” arguing for a kind of feminism that
enables men and women to share power together through the strategy of sexual
liberation. Because of the shocking effect this slogan brings to the public, it has
become the metonymic figure for feminism in popular media. Ho even writes in
women’s magazines, explaining/advocating the necessity of sexual liberation,
emphasizing that women’s sexual liberation does not allow men to take advantage of
women. Instead, it means, “men get satisfaction and women get pleasure, they are on
equal terms” (Cosmopolitan, “Women’s Sexual Liberation Benefit men only?’
(1995/1, 36).


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