This book offers the first ethnographic account of the experiences of highly educated young professional women, hailed by the Chinese media as 'white-collar beauties'. It exposes the organizational mechanisms - naturalization, objectification and commodification of women - that wield gendered and sexual control in post-Mao workplaces. Whilst men benefit from symbolic and bureaucratic power, women professionals skilfully enact indirect power in a game of domination and resistance. The sources of women's subversion are grounded in their only-child upbringing which breaks the patrilineal base of familial patriarchy fostering an unprecedented ambition in personal development, gender as inherently relational and a role-oriented system, and inner-outer cultural boundaries as signifiers of moral agency. This raises a new feminist inquiry about the agents for social change. Through a nuanced analysis grounded in the socio-cultural locality, this book throws fresh light upon the ways in which gender, sexuality and power could be theorized beyond a Euro-American reality.
Jieyu Liu is Deputy Director of the SOAS China Institute, SOAS University of London, UK. In 2015, she was awarded a five-year European Research Council grant to examine family and sexual relations in East Asia.
Chapter 1 Becoming White Collar Beauties in Urban China 14
Chapter 2 Toward A Local Feminist Understanding of Gender and Sexuality 36<
Chapter 3 The Weaker Sex 59 <
Chapter 4 Sex in Work 83
Chapter 5 Sex as Work 103
Chapter 6 Sisterhood 126
Chapter 7 Marriage, Family and Divorce 146