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Working like a “Man”: Body, Masculinity and a Photojournalist’s Work in Taiwan

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Abstract:

In this study, by using the photojournalists’ work in Taiwan as a case study, I seek to contribute to the feminist knowledge of how gender and sexuality are constituted and evaluated at work. Furthermore, I maintain that the gendering of male workers’ bodies should receive as much attention as feminist scholars have paid to female workers’. First, in line with other researchers of gender and work, I argue that the cultural meaning of gender and sexuality should be explored and navigated in the concrete institutional context. Therefore, I highlight how the organization of photojournalists’ work in Taiwan achieves efficiency at the expense of workers’ burnout. By examining the labor process and working conditions of photojournalists in Taiwan, I have discovered that three structural forces, including market competition, the organization of photojournalist’s work and the introduction of information technology, are key to understanding why physical exhaustion and emotional burnout become becomes the main occupational characteristic of Taiwan’s photojournalist’s work.
Given this context, by analyzing the narratives of male photojournalists about work and occupations, I demonstrate how cultural assumptions and symbols about masculinity are employed to sculpt an ideal male body image at work. In doing so, I argue that the archetype of photojournalists’ work in Taiwan is masculinized and functions to marginalize female workers’ status and exclude women’s participation in this field simultaneously.
Hence, I document how female photojournalists in Taiwan need to develop a set of strategies to cultivate “manly” images to handle all kinds of biases against women’s bodies. However, even though female photojournalists in Taiwan intend to manipulate body image and “do” masculinity to deflect the suspicion and distrust directed at them, the notions of femininity still haunt them and make their bodies constantly under surveillance and scrutiny. Furthermore, when female photojournalists attempt to perform masculinity to win recognition at work, they improve their situation on the individual level but reproduce the male image associated with photojournalists’ work on the structural level.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

photojournalist (237), work (149), femal (80), news (78), bodi (76), male (73), women (73), taiwan (67), newspap (59), gender (53), mani (46), agenc (41), men (41), physic (38), one (37), inform (36), worker (35), organ (33), masculin (32), also (31), time (30),

Author's Keywords:

gender and work, masculinity, body
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Name: American Sociological Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.asanet.org


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MLA Citation:

Sun, Ken. "Working like a “Man”: Body, Masculinity and a Photojournalist’s Work in Taiwan" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Sheraton Boston and the Boston Marriott Copley Place, Boston, MA, Jul 31, 2008 <Not Available>. 2014-12-01 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p242535_index.html>

APA Citation:

Sun, K. , 2008-07-31 "Working like a “Man”: Body, Masculinity and a Photojournalist’s Work in Taiwan" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Sheraton Boston and the Boston Marriott Copley Place, Boston, MA Online <PDF>. 2014-12-01 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p242535_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: In this study, by using the photojournalists’ work in Taiwan as a case study, I seek to contribute to the feminist knowledge of how gender and sexuality are constituted and evaluated at work. Furthermore, I maintain that the gendering of male workers’ bodies should receive as much attention as feminist scholars have paid to female workers’. First, in line with other researchers of gender and work, I argue that the cultural meaning of gender and sexuality should be explored and navigated in the concrete institutional context. Therefore, I highlight how the organization of photojournalists’ work in Taiwan achieves efficiency at the expense of workers’ burnout. By examining the labor process and working conditions of photojournalists in Taiwan, I have discovered that three structural forces, including market competition, the organization of photojournalist’s work and the introduction of information technology, are key to understanding why physical exhaustion and emotional burnout become becomes the main occupational characteristic of Taiwan’s photojournalist’s work.
Given this context, by analyzing the narratives of male photojournalists about work and occupations, I demonstrate how cultural assumptions and symbols about masculinity are employed to sculpt an ideal male body image at work. In doing so, I argue that the archetype of photojournalists’ work in Taiwan is masculinized and functions to marginalize female workers’ status and exclude women’s participation in this field simultaneously.
Hence, I document how female photojournalists in Taiwan need to develop a set of strategies to cultivate “manly” images to handle all kinds of biases against women’s bodies. However, even though female photojournalists in Taiwan intend to manipulate body image and “do” masculinity to deflect the suspicion and distrust directed at them, the notions of femininity still haunt them and make their bodies constantly under surveillance and scrutiny. Furthermore, when female photojournalists attempt to perform masculinity to win recognition at work, they improve their situation on the individual level but reproduce the male image associated with photojournalists’ work on the structural level.


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