Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Chinese Discourses on Happiness$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Gerda Wielander and Derek Hird

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455720

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455720.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2022. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 20 May 2022

“Happy Housewives”

“Happy Housewives”

Gender, Class, and Psychological Self-Help in China

(p.129) 6 “Happy Housewives”
Chinese Discourses on Happiness

Jie Yang

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter analyzes representations of “happy housewives” in popular psychological self-help media in order to examine the relationship between gender, psychology and privatization in China. Through analysis of media and ethnographic data, I demonstrate that while both gender and psychology are represented as sites of regulation and value extraction, the heart of the housewife is the true space of commodification, where emotions, value, and virtue are all generated. This felt space of possibility and potentiality, constructed by media in concert with state interests, intensifies women’s attachment to commodities and to the world, and enhances consumption and entrepreneurship. Happiness promotion, of which the figure of the happy housewife is a key part, not only objectifies women and renders invisible their complex subjectivities, but downplays the intensified gendered exploitation and class stratification since the mid-1990s when privatization began. In this context, I argue that unhappiness or anger can constitute a repoliticizing process that reinvigorates discussions of class as both an analytical and political category in China.

Keywords:   China, Happiness, Housewife, Heart, Privatization, psychological self-help

Hong Kong Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .