Queer, yet never lesbian : a ten-year look back at the reality TV singing competition show Super Voice Girl

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-486
Journal / PublicationCelebrity Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


In the past decade, mainland China has witnessed a proliferation of nonnormatively gendered images on reality TV shows. This research presents a case study of queer female stardom in the most profitable and influential Chinese reality singing competition show Super Voice Girl (SVG). Through a careful reading of the cultural-televisual techniques and hybridised formats SVG has employed in the construction of its queer celebrities over the last ten years, I argue that the show has exemplified a mainland Chinese-specific queer sensationalism, in which queer female images on reality TV do not necessarily signify lesbianism. Instead, through complex negotiations with diverse commercial, political, and sociocultural factors and forces, SVG presents a highly commercialised, de-lesbianised queer pop culture, which is compatible with contemporary Chinese ideological, economic, and political reforms on the one hand but discursively voices queer agency on the other.

Research Area(s)

  • authenticity, Lesbianism, queer stardom, reality TV, Super Voice Girl

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