Social media are influential sociocultural forces that construct and transmit information about gender, health and bodies to young people in the digital age. In health and physical activity, Chinese people are often represented and positioned differently to other (minority) ethnic groups. For example, Black young people are often understood as having low academic motivations and aspirations but as ‘natural’ athletes; in contrast, Chinese young people, seen as the ‘model minority’ who excel in STEM subjects, are fragile, reserved and disinterested in physical movements. These public forms of representation may sit in opposition to the young people’s embodied identity. When these misrepresentations are internalised, issues such as micro-aggression and racism may have an impact on Chinese young people’s health and wellbeing. This paper aims to examine how Chinese bodies are gendered and racialised in contemporary social media sites (e.g. Google News, LiveJournal, Medium, Wordpress). Drawing on critical discourse analysis and Foucault’s concepts of normalisation and discursive practice, the paper will problematise the often taken-for-granted gendered and racialised stereotypes related to Chinese physicality and health on social media sites. Implications for developing future research and teaching resources in critical media health literacy for young people on issues related to gender and equity will be provided. The results affect how we understand, represent, and discuss Chinese (young) people on social media sites, thereby how Chinese young people engage, construct, and perform their embodied identities in Western, English speaking societies.
- Chinese bodies
- critical discourse analysis
- critical media health literacy
- social media
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation