It has never been “normal” : queer pop in post-2000 China

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-478
Journal / PublicationFeminist Media Studies
Issue number4
Online published18 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


Since public access to the Internet in Mainland China increased in the early 2000s, pop-cultural (re)productions and imaginings that interrogate the rigid boundaries of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class, and other sociocultural registers have thrived and diversified. As an introductory piece to the special issue of Feminist Media Studies, “Queer Pop in Post-2000 China,” this paper explores this “queer pop” phenomenon as a proliferation of non-normatively gendered and/or sexualized narratives, performances, cultural productions, inventions, interpretations, artistic expressions, gestures, sociocultural relations, imaginations, and significations, especially in China’s mainstream media and public spaces. By mapping out various manifestations of this phenomenon in this digital, globalist age, as well as its potential and the challenges it faces, the case studies presented in this special issue, such as those that address queer fandom, livestreaming, online video and digital documentary making, cross-cultural translation, and the making and broadcasting of online TV programs, excavate its substantial norm-defying power. The essays reveal the negotiative spaces made possible by the development and transformation of media cultures and practices by and for gender, sexual, and sociocultural minorities in an authoritarian, heteropatriarchal society where media portrayals of LGBTQ groups and lives have been subject to ambiguous, yet persistent, censorship.

Research Area(s)

  • Censorship, contemporary China, gender, pop culture, queer