"New Man" and "New Lad" with Chinese Characteristics? Cosmopolitanism, Cultural Hybridity and Men's Lifestyle Magazines in China

Geng Song, Tracy K Lee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    In China, although "general interest" magazines can be said to have existed during the Maoist and early post-Maoist eras, Western-style magazines that promote a consumerist lifestyle came into being and gained widespread popularity only in the past two decades. Among them, an entire group of titles consists of localised Chinese editions of internationally popular lifestyle magazines. This paper explores the interaction of global trends and influences with local cultures and realities in men's lifestyle magazines published in China. In particular, it discusses the Chinese "variations" of the Western "new man" and "new lad" types of male image. Despite the superficial similarities with Western images, critical readings and quantitative studies of the verbal and visual content of these magazines reveal some distinctive "Chinese" features. As a form of popular culture, the men's lifestyle magazine lends expression to the fantasies, desires and needs of "new rich" men in China. With consumerism and aspirationalism at the centre of its ideological construction, it serves as an interesting site of negotiation between what Lisa Rofel calls the two aspects of "cosmopolitanism with Chinese characteristics" - namely, a self-conscious transcendence of locality and a domestication of cosmopolitanism by way of renegotiating China's place in the world.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)345-367
    JournalAsian Studies Review
    Volume36
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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