Digital Body Production of Underprivileged Women in Contemporary China
My research explores the role of gender in China’s sprawling digital economy. More specifically, it studies the production, consumption, and dissemination of digital female body images on the short video sharing platform Kuaishou, which is similar to TikTok and its Chinese version Douyin but used predominantly in rural communities. The project seeks to both understand the emerging digital media practices have given rise as well as the agency of rural women. Combining visual anthropology and network ethnography, this project seeks to move beyond the prevalent understanding of digital female labour as “empowering” to shed light on the complex and contradictory role digital platforms play within the lives of rural women in China. This study positions female users as active agents in digital practices in daily media production. It thereby seeks to understand how digital technologies are reshaping our understandings of notions such as bodily sovereignty, gender, labour and digital capitalism.
This project is funded by ESRC Studentship.
I graduated with a BA degree in Media Studies and Film Production and became a documentary filmmaker after completing my MFA degree in Film Studies and Visual Culture in East China Normal University. Later in my professional career, as an episode director, my documentary work Life Matters received Magnolia Award for Best Documentary Series in 2019 by the National Radio and Television Administration. My documentary short film I want to find you, telling the life stories of the children born with Type 1 Diabetes, won Silver Award and Viewers’ Choice Award of Shanghai Citizens Micro Film Festival.
Professor Shani Orgad and Professor Bingchun Meng