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Masculinities in Cyberspace

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the differences between otaku and zhainan as well as the relationship between zhainan and the discourse of scholar masculinity in traditional Chinese culture. The zhainan type exemplifies the hybridity of masculinity in contemporary China because, on the one hand, it shows the obvious influence of a foreign culture, while on the other hand its roots can be traced back to the discourse on obsession and moral purity in pre-modern Chinese literature. Apart from zhainan, the chapter also describes an array of new identities constructed in cyberspace and discusses how new possibilities of gender construction were opened up by consumerism and globalization. Performance of masculinity in Chinese cyberspace has become increasingly heterogeneous and multifaceted. New identities and new gender roles are being produced and circulated at amazing speed, characterized by dialogue and negotiation among a variety of competing discourses such as nationalism, feminism, consumerism, and even Confucianism.

Keywords: Chinese cyberspace; Confucianism; consumerism; feminism; masculinity; nationalism; otaku; zhainan



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