Media representations of the ‘little fresh meat’ phenomenon in China: A feminist critical discourse analysis of the masculine nonconformity discourse

Yating YU, Todd Lyle SANDEL*, Tayden Fung CHAN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

Little fresh meat’ (LFM or xiǎo xiān ròu), which describes a masculine aesthetic rooted in ‘soft masculinity’, is a phenomenon across Asia that challenges prevailing concepts of masculinity and patriarchal discourse. This study furthers previous research by using feminist critical discourse analysis to evaluate the construction of LFM masculine nonconformity, via data collected from 42 news articles from China’s English-language news media, including: China Daily, Global Times, People’s Daily Online, Shanghai Daily, and Xinhua News Agency. The analysis generated three key themes: (1) market driving a female consumer fan base, (2) challenging hegemonic masculinities when men wear makeup to imitate their ‘idols’, and (3) criticisms of gender stereotypes. These themes show how a masculine nonconformity discourse is developed by using a variety of discursive strategies in China. This study highlights the need for increased awareness and education regarding gender diversity and the harmful impacts of gender stereotypes on Chinese society.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2024

Keywords

  • Masculine nonconformity
  • media representations
  • metrosexuality
  • soft masculinity
  • the 'little fresh meat' phenomenon

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