SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

Gender, Sexuality and Power in Chinese Companies: Beauties at Work

IMG - 20170607 - Jieyu Liu
Dr Jieyu Liu (SOAS University of London)

Date: 9 October 2017Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 9 October 2017Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Suite

Type of Event: Book Launch


All welcome but registration is required. Please register here by Sunday, 8 October 2017. 


  • 6pm-6:30pm: Talk from the author Jieyu Liu
  • 6:30pm-7pm: Discussants: Barbara Einhorn (Sussex), Derek Hird (Westminster)
  • 7pm-8pm: Reception 


Jieyu Liu will talk about her book which offers the first ethnographic account of the experiences of highly educated young professional women, hailed by the Chinese media as ‘white-collar beauties’. It exposes the organizational mechanisms – naturalization, objectification and commodification of women – that wield gendered and sexual control in post-Mao workplaces. Whilst men benefit from symbolic and bureaucratic power, women professionals skilfully enact indirect power in a game of domination and resistance. The sources of women’s subversion are grounded in their only-child upbringing which breaks the patrilineal base of familial patriarchy fostering an unprecedented ambition in personal development, gender as inherently relational and a role-oriented system, and inner-outer cultural boundaries as signifiers of moral agency. This raises a new feminist inquiry about the agents for social change. Through a nuanced analysis grounded in the socio-cultural locality, this book throws fresh light upon the ways in which gender, sexuality and power could be theorized beyond a Euro-American reality.

Speaker Biography

Dr Jieyu Liu is Deputy Director at the SOAS China Institute. Her research interests include gender, sexuality, family and generation in China. She is the author of Gender and Work in Urban China: Women Workers of the Unlucky Generation (Routledge) and co-editor of East Asian Sexualities: Modernity, Gender and New Sexual Cultures (Zed Books). In 2015, she was awarded a five-year European Research Council grant to examine changing family relations in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

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Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4823