Advertising Feminism: Using Propaganda as an Influence to Exploit Chinese Gender Roles During the 20th Century

Hannah Rademacher Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Zach Scarlett Butler University
Chinese feminism changed drastically throughout the 20th century. The extreme cultural change was due to China moving towards a more Western version of modernity, as the country’s national progress was thought as stalled by ancient and traditional customs, such as Confucianism and foot-binding. Mao Zedong made an announcement to China in 1964 that "the times are different. Now men and women are the same. Female comrades can do whatever male comrades can do," and encouraged women to display commonly masculine traits. With the takeover of the Communist Party’s and the rise Cultural Movement in the middle of the 20th century, women’s political and social freedoms significantly increased. Propaganda posters helped promote an education and literacy campaign, which empowered women to challenge cultural traditions. Advertising Feminism evaluates the success of the Chinese Government’s manufactured feminist campaign, showcased in propaganda posters. In the beginning of the post-libertarian period, propaganda posters circulated images of “new women” that helped encourage a transition in gender ideology and pushed women towards an elevated social position in society. They also redefined the female body as more masculine to justify women entering the workforce, further pushing China’s efforts to become one of the world’s most powerful influence. This project draws from primary sources, such as various propaganda posters and government documents from the Hoover Institution and an online archive of Chinese posters, to enlighten the positive impacts of the feminist propaganda campaign led by the Chinese government, and further establish the relationship between women and the state.
Oral Presentation

When & Where

01:45 PM
Jordan Hall 278