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Media, culture, and young women's body image practices in Taizhou, China : An exploratory study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Clifton EversORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Contemporary China has witnessed a growing prevalence of female body dissatisfaction. Previous research on Chinese women in this regard has primarily used quantitative methods to identify correlations between media, culture, and body image concern. This study qualitatively investigates how media and culture play a role in young women’s body dissatisfaction, and body image practice in China through an exploratory study with twelve young women (six high school students and six undergraduates) from Taizhou (a small city in southeast China). Through semi-structured in-depth interviews it’s possible to move beyond correlation toward examining some of the ambiguities and complexities of lived everyday experiences at the nexus of media, culture, body image dissatisfaction and body image practice. Further, this approach enables the young women’s to articulate in their own way their experiences. The results confirm that media exposure of "thin-deal" images contributes to body dissatisfaction. It was also found that when media influences opinion leaders in the young women’s lives this leads to a key indirect influence on their body dissatisfaction and body image practices. That is, there is a broad mediated learning web. This web connects young Chinese women's body image concern and practice with repeated confrontation with shape/gender stereotypes, patriarchal ideology, and ongoing self-body-surveillance and self-objectification.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Zhang Y, Evers C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Altitude: An e-journal of emerging humanities work

Year: 2014

Volume: 12

Online publication date: 04/08/2014

Acceptance date: 01/07/2014

Date deposited: 23/06/2021

ISSN (print): 1444-1160

Publisher: University of Nottingham Ningbo, China