http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09502380902858018">
 

Document Type

Journal Article

Authors

Kwai-Cheung Lo

Department/Unit

Department of Humanities and Creative Writing

Title

The web marriage game, the gendered self, and Chinese modernity

Language

English

Abstract

This paper examines the web-based virtual marriage game craze that emerged in the 1990s. These online interactive games may have opened up moments of liberation and formulated new ideologies of sexual relations. However, web-based marriages only ensure a male-dominated system and conform to dominant patriarchal standards - regardless of the number of females involved. Re-enacting the rules of marriage, the cyber game is ideologically directed against free unions, mobility, promiscuity, and parafamilial fluidity - all in order to stabilize individuals for reasons of social and political control; at the same time, it promotes the acquisition of skills needed by individual players in a free market, as if paralleling the drastic re-articulation of the economy. I understand the virtual game to be a safe haven for both China and the Chinese people to imagine that they can re-strengthen and re-virilize themselves in a rapidly changing world. They co-fabricate a depthless interface or a pure semblance of a looming powerful China ruled by a male-oriented system. Just as China dreams of achieving modernity through a consistent, dependable, controlled, and 'clean' path, the virtual reality of the marriage game reveals a social imaginary in which contemporary Chinese people picture their social existence in an unstable transitional moment.

Keywords

Foucault, Masculinity, Modernity, Online computer game, Self, Web marriage

Publication Date

2009

Source Publication Title

Cultural Studies

Volume

23

Issue

3

Start Page

381

End Page

403

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

ISSN (print)

09502386

ISSN (electronic)

14664348

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