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Sexed bodies, sexualised identities, and the limits of gender

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  • Social Sciences
  • Humanities And Languages
  • School Of
  • Linguistics


Sex is one of the dominant metaphors of China's postmillennial consumerist modernity. Public media and private discussions map endless pleasures and possibilities onto sexed bodies, foregrounding sexuality as an increasingly significant component of individual identity. Yet, as argued in this article, the diversity of sexual representations masks the discursive operation of the sexed body in consolidating individual accommodation with the consumer market and in "neutralizing" the exploratory and pluralist meanings of contemporary sexual culture. Inheriting a recent ideological history in which sexuality was not a significant component of public discussions about gender relationships, and in an ideological context bridging local and global interests that limit the interrogation of gender as a critical category of enquiry and organization, sex and the sexed body emerge in mainstream discourse as a collection of acts, responsibilities, and choices dissociated from the broad social issues of gender hierarchy and injustice.

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