The Sexualization of Females on Weibo and Its Interactive Influences on Chinese Young Females


  • Haoyan Liu วิทยาลัยนิเทศศาสตร์ มหาวิทยาลัยรังสิต
  • Doungtip Chareonrook วิทยาลัยนิเทศศาสตร์ มหาวิทยาลัยรังสิต


Sexualization, Females, Weibo


        Discussion under the topic of sexualization is mainly focused on western society while nearly no academic exploration has extended the concept of sexualization into the Chinese context. Thus, this research aims to explore the sexualization of females in Chinese social media platform Weibo and its interactive (mutually reinforcing) effects on Chinese young females.               


        A qualitative approach was applied in this research, using content analysis to examine and interpret the photos posted by Chinese young females on Weibo in association with sexualization based on framing theory, and semi-structured interviews to gain an in-depth insight into the effects of sexualization on these young female Weibo users in the framework of cultivation theory and the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy, meanwhile understand their personal experience and feelings towards sexualization. The results indicated that sexualization among young females exists in Weibo, and the evaluation approach used to examine media sexualization in the western context can be applied in the Chinese context. Similar to that in the western countries, when presenting themselves through photos/images on Weibo, sexualization is commonly manifested in a variety of ways among the Chinese young female Weibo users, they mostly are exposed to and create self-presentation to somewhat less overt but sexually suggestive manners by cropping, editing, selecting certain scenes or angles, augmented by the outfits and poses to create the sexualized frames in the photos. In addition, it is found that the cumulative exposure to sexualized peer self-presentation on Weibo had cultivating and mutually reinforcing effects on these young Chinese females’ perception and behavior in terms of beauty standard, peer norms, self-concept (self-esteem, self-image, and self-evaluation), and desire to engage in self-sexualization, both strengthening and undermining their self-identity.


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