Electronic media usage has been influential in Chinese society. My research focuses on the impact of television, film, and Internet usage in the representation of lesbians in Mainland China. This study utilized various published works, from Michel Foucault, Joan Scott, and Mei-hui Yang to Lisa Rofel, Tze-lan Sang, and Elisabeth Engebretson, to examine and interpret discourses on lesbian and homosexual history in modern China, and the formation and maintenance of queer spaces within patrilineal Confucian society. I also viewed the films of Alice Wu, Xie Jin, Yan Yan Mak, and Li Yu to analyze Chinese cinematic portrayals of lesbianism and their commentaries on and challenges to the larger discourse of China’s cultural identity. Finally, I conducted interviews as part of personal research. This study found that the use of electronic media – specifically, the Internet – has allowed for the creation of an unregulated space. The impact of this unregulated space, as well as films featuring lesbian protagonists, creates visibility for lesbians in China and allows for previously unheard voices to be established. In addition, a question arose regarding how homosexuality and familial relationships impact and complicate each other. The study allows for a glimpse into the evolving lived experience of an otherwise largely invisible group within Chinese society, and how they are carving a space for themselves through the use of electronic media.


Zhang, Yue

Second Advisor

Wang, Rujie


Chinese Studies


Chinese Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Film and Media Studies


China, lesbian, electronic media, space, Chinese

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Kathleen Arnold