PLATFORM AS NEW “DADDY”: CHINA’S GENDERED WANGHONG ECONOMY AND PATRIARCHAL PLATFORMS BEHIND
AbstractThis paper provides an explorative analysis of gender as a critical dimension of the prospering wanghong economy in China with special attention devoted to the e-commerce wanghong value chains that are yet to be examined by scholars so far. Wanghong refers to a particular stream of vocational Chinese internet celebrities that have acquired their celebrity online and have acute incentives through various models to liquidate such online influence by transforming followers into consumers. While wanghong economy is often projected as a new platform economy that is by the women and for the women on diverse media outlets, my analysis highlights the structurally embedded gender hierarchy of this platform business ecosystem and the platform power increasingly associated with patriarchal order as exemplified by the updated meanings constructed around the Chinese term “baba” (daddy), which now is used to refer to platforms by wanghong and netizens. By combining the analysis of female participation at different levels of wanghong economy with the “platform-as-daddy” discourse prevalent on Douyin, one of the most popular social media platforms, this paper seeks to connect the industrial analysis of wanghong economy as one of the most prominent “platform economies” in contemporary China with its cultural dimensions. It accentuates the key roles of major Chinese platform companies as not only new critical intermediaries in perpetuating the ongoing patriarchal system between the state and users but also active participants that actively construct, and aggressively profit from, the gendered wanghong economy value chains.
How to Cite
Han, X. (2021). PLATFORM AS NEW “DADDY”: CHINA’S GENDERED WANGHONG ECONOMY AND PATRIARCHAL PLATFORMS BEHIND. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.11932