Women Under Authoritarianism: Precarious, Glamorous Women Politicians in Hong Kong Political News and Gossip

Natalie Ngai


This study combines content analysis and critical discourse analysis to examine how the media representation of politicians is shaped by their gender, political identities, political leanings of the press, and journalism genres, with a sample of 946 news articles during the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong. Results show that women legislators in Hong Kong are more visible in softer journalism than hard news. Under authoritarianism, women politicians with liberal, prodemocracy agendas are particularly vulnerable to what Gaye Tuchman terms the “symbolic annihilation” by the media. Although celebrity journalism tends to portray more women politicians over men regardless of their political leanings, it often stresses women’s gender over their profession. This study brings in an intersectional, cultural studies approach to research on gender and news.


feminist media studies, women in politics, media representation of women, celebrity culture, discourse analysis, cultural studies, Hong Kong

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