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‘Sissy capital’ and the governance of non-normative genders in China’s platform economy

Wang, Shuaishuai; Bao, Hongwei

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Authors

Shuaishuai Wang



Abstract

This article examines Chinese government censorship in the intersection between queer and fan cultures and the government’s regulation of big tech companies and platform economies in the 2020s conjuncture. In the context of booming platform industries and proliferating queer representations, the government issued explicit directives to censor the representation of ‘sissy men’, or androgynous and effeminate male celebrities, on video streaming platforms in 2021. Accused of encouraging ‘sissy capital’ (娘炮资本), the digital platforms that produce or host these videos have also been closely scrutinized. Focusing on the discourse of sissy capital, this article traces how the term has been used in state policies and mainstream media to discern the power relations that produce such a discourse. It argues that in the context of China’s fast-developing digital platform economy in which the pink economy plays a part, the governance of non-normative sexualities and platform industries has converged in the government’s efforts to define and regulate culture in an era of digital capitalism. The term sissy capital points to the gendered dimension of capital as well as the political economy of queerness; it also contributes to a more nuanced understanding of contemporary governing rationalities and techniques in a digital, non-Western, and illiberal context.

Citation

Wang, S., & Bao, H. (2023). ‘Sissy capital’ and the governance of non-normative genders in China’s platform economy. China Information, 37(3), 342-362. https://doi.org/10.1177/0920203X221147481

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 7, 2022
Online Publication Date Jan 3, 2023
Publication Date Jan 3, 2023
Deposit Date Nov 15, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 11, 2023
Journal China Information
Print ISSN 0920-203X
Electronic ISSN 1741-590X
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 37
Issue 3
Article Number 0920203X2211474
Pages 342-362
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/0920203X221147481
Keywords General Economics, Econometrics and Finance, General Social Sciences, General Arts and Humanities
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/13743686
Publisher URL https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0920203X221147481

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