Beyond Silence: The #MeToo Movement’s Confrontation with Chinese Patriarchal Hegemony



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The #MeToo movement has emerged as a defining moment in feminist digital activism, yet the majority of literature has primarily examined its impact within North American and European contexts. With the increasing prominence of international digital activism and discussions surrounding censorship and social movements, understanding the arrival of the #MeToo movement in mainland China offers a valuable and distinct opportunity to explore how these dynamics operate in a non-Western context. This project presents four in-depth case studies of allegations that epitomize the Chinese #MeToo movement, considering variations in media exposure, state surveillance, and public reaction. It interprets the #MeToo discourse in China as a battleground for the emergence of a feminist counter-hegemony against the state’s patriarchal authority. Drawing from Gramscian notions of cultural hegemony, common sense, and good sense, this thesis examines feminist public discourse and resistance to state repression as hegemonic struggles, highlighting how the general understanding of sexual assaults has been shifted by the #MeToo movement and how the movement exposes the vulnerability of the state’s hegemonic position. Despite evolving state interventions and heightened surveillance of #MeToo conversations, the movement also unveils opportunities for future feminist activism in China.



feminism, gender, social movement, activism, digital activism, hegemony, Marxism, #MeToo movement, China, social media, transnational feminism, censorship, resistance, sexual assault, patriarchy