Title

An Activist's Blogging: "Hooligan Sparrow," Sexuality, and Prostitution in Post-Socialist China

Document Type

Presentation

Presentation Date

Summer 6-13-2015

Conference Name

Tenth International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences

Conference Location

University of Split, Split, Croatia

Peer Review

Yes

Abstract

This paper looks into the personal blogs of Ye Haiyan, who is publicly labeled as “Hooligan Sparrow” because of her unique activism on prostitution in post-socialist China. Ye herself becomes a controversy when she offers free sex services to lower-class male migrant workers and farmers and publicizes her deeds via her blogs, later on banned by the Chinese government. Appropriating the cyberspace within its strengths and constraints, Ye challenges not only the moral, economic, and political understanding of prostitution but also political activism itself in China. This textual analysis shows that Ye transgresses the boundaries of the role of the activist as an advocate for the marginalized when she positions her own body publicly in a brothel and takes on the physical and psychological burdens of the prostitute, embodying the role and then documenting her experience in her blogs through poems, testimonies, and photos. This paper argues that revealing the hidden world of sexuality and prostitution in economically marginalized brothels, Ye’s activism moves beyond public health and state regulatory discourses and becomes an embodied act of exposing intertwined class and gender inequalities. This study further posits that Ye uses both her own body and those of the sexual clients to project a new self, one that is productive rather than powerless in everyday life situated within China’s post-socialist market economy. Ye’s blogs provides a mediated representation of prostitution, which is more empathic than those of other media texts.

Keywords

“Hooligan Sparrow, ” activism, sexuality, prostitution, Internet texts and blogging

Disciplines

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

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