How are the public and political lives of Chinese women constrained by states and economies? And how have pockets of women's consciousness come to be produced in and disseminated from this traditionally masculine milieu? The essays in this volume examine the possibilities for a public sphere for Chinese women, one that would both emerge from concrete historical situations and local contexts and cut across the political boundaries separating the Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the West.
The challenges of this project are taken up in essays on the legacy of state feminism on the Mainland as contrasted with a grassroots women's movement challenging the state in Taiwan; on the role of the capitalist consumer economy in the emerging lesbian movement in Taiwan; and on the increased trafficking of women as brides, prostitutes, and mistresses between the Mainland and wealthy male patrons in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The writers' examples of masculine domination in the media include the reformulation of Chinese women,in Fifth Generation films for a transnational Western male film audience and the portrayal of Mainland women in Taiwanese and Hong Kong media. The contributors also consider male nationalism as it is revealed through both international sports coverage on television and in a Chinese television drama. Other works examine a women's museum, a telephone hotline in Beijing, the films of Hong Kong filmmaker Ann Hui, the transnational contacts of a Taiwanese feminist organization, the diaspora of Mainland women writers, and the differences between Chinese and Western feminist themes.