Advances in Social Behavior Research

Advances in Social Behavior Research

ASBR ICEIPI 2022, 02 February 2023

Open Access | Article

Within Chinese Social Media, Do the Gendered Gaze Impact the Female Appearance Anxiety of Chinese Z Generation?

Mufan Yu * 1 , Tianjiao Zhang 2 , Yuzhi Xun 3 , Zuyan Sun 4
1 School of Humanities and Arts, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau
2 College of Letters and Science, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, the United States
3 School of Arts, Communication University of Zhejiang, Zhejiang, China
4 Jining Confucius International School, Jining, Shandong,China

* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Advances in Social Behavior Research, ASBR ICEIPI 2022, 174-183
Published 02 February 2023. © 2023 The Author(s). Published by EWA Publishing
This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Citation Mufan Yu, Tianjiao Zhang, Yuzhi Xun, Zuyan Sun. Within Chinese Social Media, Do the Gendered Gaze Impact the Female Appearance Anxiety of Chinese Z Generation?. ASBR (2023) ASBR ICEIPI 2022: 174-183.


Based on the observation of social media, the male gaze and female gaze have become two essential factors that trigger the appearance anxiety of young Chinese women. Considering the conventional patriarchal ideologies in China, the male gaze is primarily deemed the root of female appearance anxiety. However, with social media development, the female gaze has also become the origin of female appearance anxiety. Hence, the study utilized a mixed-method and took the Tik Tok as an example to lunch the research to determine whether the gendered gaze impacts their appearance anxiety while using social media for the Chinese female Z generation. Therefore, the study sent out 206 questionnaires and collected 175 effective responses; further, it did 19 in-depth female interviews aged 18 to 24 from different backgrounds. These data analyses pointed out that the female gaze is generally and gradually more influential than the male gaze, but the male gaze still invisibly and stiffly affects females in social media. In conclusion, the paper argued that the male gaze does not disappear but becomes unseen; global media promotes female empowerment so that the gaze and evaluation in the female community are increasing. In the future, for audiences, it is crucial to think of how to escape the "shackles" of media on females within the era of digital feminism.


female gaze, appearance anxiety, digital feminism, social media, male gaze


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Data Availability

The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study will be available from the authors upon reasonable request.

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