Gendering National Sacrifices: The Making of New Heroines in China’s Counter-COVID-19 TV Series

  • Zhou Y
  • Xie K
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Abstract

From February 2020 to the end of 2021, China’s state-controlled media focused on creating its “victorious” narrative of combating the COVID-19 pandemic. This article focuses on two high-profile and COVID-19-themed TV series that aim to rewrite the collective memories of the Wuhan lockdown as part of state’s affective governance strategies. Using a feminist textual analysis, the article examines the gendered nature of state narratives by dissecting the representation of national heroines of the pandemic. It demonstrates the centrality of heterosexual families and gender performances in romanticizing individual sacrifices and mass suffering. Unlike the socialist-era role models, the personal weakness and emotional flaws of China’s new heroines are tactically displayed to enhance emotional authenticity and resonate with contemporary audiences. Yet these state narratives reflect only stereotypical depictions of femininity within a hierarchical gender order in post-reform China, where moralized womanhood is imbued with a sacrificial attitude that serves to discipline China’s female citizens.

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APA

Zhou, Y., & Xie, K. (2022). Gendering National Sacrifices: The Making of New Heroines in China’s Counter-COVID-19 TV Series. Communication, Culture and Critique, 15(3), 372–392. https://doi.org/10.1093/ccc/tcac014

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