Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Feminism Under Firewall: A Media-Based Analysis of Policy Power and Regime Response in China
Authors: Morrison, Amanda
Advisors: Truex, Rory
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2019
Abstract: Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, women’s liberation and media manipulation have been central to the stable reign of Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Today, independent feminism and pervasive media pose new challenges to the party-state’s monopoly on social control. In 2012, a group of young independent feminists emerged calling for transformative and structural changes. They attracted positive media attention, swayed public opinion, and incited policy change. When five feminist activists were detained in 2015, a chill fell over the nascent feminist movement. Why is the feminist movement losing ground in China? And more specifically, what role has mass media played in the rise and current decline of independent feminists? Through quantitative text analysis and substantive readings of state-published women’s news, this thesis found that after 2015, the state media erased feminist activism, replaced women’s movement achievements with state-sanctioned gender equality campaigns and paternalistic rhetoric, and isolated feminists through nationalism and antagonization. I characterize the media as the primary determinant of relative policy power of feminist activists vis-à-vis the state. Based on original media analysis and firsthand conversations with feminist activists, I argue that the CCP escalated its repression against feminists between 2015 and 2018 in an effort to preempt their influence on public opinion and the policy that stems from it. As China launches unprecedented media control and global propaganda schemes, the way the regime chooses to depict and target women will not only shape domestic political outcomes but may set the tone for women’s movements and gender progress worldwide.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 1929-2020

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
MORRISON-AMANDA-THESIS.pdf1.55 MBAdobe PDF    Request a copy

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.