The ‘niangpao’ phenomenon has recently elicited heated discussion in China. However, existing studies related to it mainly focus on the field of showbiz or personal care (cosmetics and beauty) rather than news discourse. To address this niche, a specialised corpus of 174 Chinese English-language news stories (156,774 words) from the years 2012 to 2022 was created to examine this phenomenon by employing corpus-assisted critical discourse analysis. The findings show that the semantic preferences of ‘neologism’, ‘attributes of social actor’, and ‘social action’ with seven different semantic prosodies surrounding the node ‘niangpao’ are prominent, which indicate anti-niangpao and pro-niangpao discourses with ideological implications for nationalism and gender nonconformity. These results provide insights into the linguistic representations of the ‘niangpao’ phenomenon in Chinese English-language newspapers, the contentious ideologies that emerge from these representations, and how changing gender politics shape and are influenced by the State media in a consumption-based economy.
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We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their very useful comments on an earlier version of this paper.
- Chinese English-language news media
- Gender nonconformity
- soft masculinity
- The ‘niangpao’ phenomenon
- Soft masculinity