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The Modern Girl in Motion: Women and Sports in Liangyou

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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins with a brief history of athletics in late Imperial and early-Republican China. It offers a close reading of issues of Liangyou from the magazine's launch in 1926 through 1932 to examine how the depiction of sportswomen in this publication changed over time. One of Liangyou's trademark features is that almost every issue of the magazine featured a cover photograph of a "beautiful girl" from Shanghai. While the beautiful girls of the magazine's covers and the debutantes of its society pages pose for the camera, the women who appear in Liangyou sports features are truly modern girls in motion. Early Chinese reformers might have hoped that participation in athletics would serve to emancipate women, but Tiyu huanghou and Liangyou both offer examples of how women's sports could be used to satisfy the male gaze and present a model of femininity for female viewers to reproduce.

Keywords: early Chinese reformers; early-Republican China; femininity; Liangyou; Shanghai; sportswomen; Tiyu huanghou



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