Fashioning the feminine self in “prosumer capitalism”: Women's work and the transnational reselling of Western luxury online

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Through ethnography and interviews, this article examines the social media–based transnational reselling of Western luxury by Chinese women through the lens of gendered transnational prosumption. Linking prosumption to debates on the feminization of labor, it analyzes the paradoxical implications that neoliberal global capitalism's demand for more agentive and participatory prosuming female subjects have for international feminist politics. Disrupting the boundaries between the commercial or public and personal, virtual and physical, and work and consumption, transnational mobile middle-class Chinese women have “reinvented” prosumption as a cultural, technological, and economic solution to the contradictions that inhere in competing demands of different gender regimes. In their hands, prosumption becomes a gendered response to the tensions inherent to China's Post-Socialist modernity, allowing some women more choices, autonomy, flexibility, and mobility through the strategic performance of gendered identities and networks. But such freedom is often already contained by the biopolitical governmentality of both advanced capitalism and the patriarchal Chinese state, which divide women based on class, race, and nationality; render employment precarious and atomized; encourage consumer global citizenship; and foster a self-promotional, commoditized, and “always-on” interactive subjectivity. As such, this article seeks to complicate the current discussion of prosumption by highlighting the structuring imperatives of gender, class, race, and nation.
  • Authors

    Status

    Publication Date

  • July 2017
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 184
  • End Page

  • 204
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 2