What happened to those fans several years later? : empowerment from Super Girls’ Voice for girls in China (2007–2015)

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-414
Journal / PublicationCritical Studies in Media Communication
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


This longitudinal study explored the popularity and social significance of the 2005 season of the prominent Chinese television show Super Girls’ Voice (a talent show similar to Pop Idol in the UK) regarding gender issues. Based on three focus group studies of the show’s young female audience conducted in 2007, 2010, and 2015, we contend that tomboyish contestants, specifically Li Yuchun, were designated androgynous by most participants. Androgyny was largely perceived as a flexible gender identity that integrated the favorable appearance and personality traits of femininity and masculinity, a view that challenges normative femininity. Most participants also applied this meaning of the term to their own social lives, while some of the participants who were of school age in 2005 applied it to both their social lives and their construction of gender identity by copying the androgynous style. From a time-related perspective, however, we suggest that those participants who had copied the androgynous style were more willing to conform their appearance to the standards of normative femininity several years later, and renegotiated their gender identity in alignment with traditional patriarchal norms. © 2017 National Communication Association.

Research Area(s)

  • adolescence, androgyny, Empowerment, female audience, femininity, reality shows

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