Exploiting Femininity in a Patriarchal Postfeminist Way: A Visual Content Analysis of Macau’s Tourism Ads

Zhen Sun


This study uses visual content analysis to examine gender images in the tourism print ads of Macau’s casino complexes. It introduces an important tourism destination neglected before by tourism research, which will expand understanding of gender roles and relations involved in the Asian tourism industry, especially that of the Greater China Region. Results show that Macau’s casino complexes are constructed like a multifunctional minicity celebrating consumerism’s desires. The gender representations in tourism ads are confined to the ideological mix of patriarchy and postfeminism. The mixing patterns vary according to contexts. In the context of tourism service, the gender division of labor within the patriarchal structure is usually a reliable predictor of the different working roles of men and women. In the context of tourism consumption, the postfeminist discourse defines the relationships between women and consumption. Femininity is exploited and manipulated to cater to potential tourists, which implies that the patriarchal discourse is persistently entrenched in the advertising production process.


gender, femininity, tourism advertising, postfeminism, casino complex

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