Youth Feminist Activism in China: An Ethnographic Analysis of an Innovative Action-oriented Feminism

University essay from Lunds universitet/Genusvetenskapliga institutionen; Lunds universitet/Master of Science in Social Studies of Gender; Lunds universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: In the spring of 2015, five young feminist activists were arrested by the Chinese police for allegedly ‘causing trouble’, which resulted in global attention aimed at this new wave of feminist movement. Youth feminist activism have made their voice heard in China through numerous actions for gender equality since 2012. Not much is known about the new feminist movements and the limited work that exists uses few specific feminist theories and limited historical context to interpret this movement. I decided to try to expand the knowledge of the youth feminist activism through the use of engaged ethnography. I conducted an engaged fieldwork with a group of young feminist activists, all under the age of 30, over the course of 4 months in 2014. I try to understand this new wave through the use of an historical overview of the Chinese feminist movement and feminist academic works, especially focusing on the theories about subjectivity and body. Topics such as conditions for new activism, different forms of activism, subjectivity building process, generational differences between feminists, bodily resistance against gender discrimination and violence are addressed. The autonomous, civil-society styled and action-oriented feature of young feminists’ struggle is illustrated.

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