What is made-in-China feminism(s)? Gender discontent and class friction in post-socialist China

Angela Xiao Wu, Yige Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contemporary Chinese feminism has drawn much attention in academe and popular media, yet its ontological roots and the politics of naming has largely escaped scrutiny. This paper first demonstrates that China’s post-socialist transition has given rise to a new gendered structure of power, in response to which urban young women have assembled various discursive and material practices in their struggles. Second, the social rupture and shock caused by these practices have led to the popular perception that an undifferentiated “feminism” has been proliferating in contemporary China. Combining historiographical and ethnographic research, this paper maps out the overall landscape of women’s agitations and identifies two latent strands of “made-in-China feminism”–with varied sociopolitical significance–that engage with cultural norms at the grassroots level. In grasping China’s ongoing gender antagonism with its full complexity, this paper discusses the limitations of existing scholarly approaches to contemporary Chinese feminism. This analysis contributes to the ongoing conversation on imagining a feminist politics in non-Western societies that disrupts the political, economic, and cultural orders all at once.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-492
Number of pages22
JournalCritical Asian Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2019


  • China
  • Feminism
  • class
  • gender
  • neoliberalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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