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Cashing the pink RMB through docile bodies: queering paradox of erotic entrepreneurs on Chinese social media platforms

Chen, Z. T. ORCID: 0000-0003-2450-277X, Whyke, T. W., Lopez-Mugica, J. & Peng, A. Y. (2023). Cashing the pink RMB through docile bodies: queering paradox of erotic entrepreneurs on Chinese social media platforms. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 10(1), article number 491. doi: 10.1057/s41599-023-02006-0


This article investigates the emergence of "erotic entrepreneurs" in China, a new category of male influencers who engage in erotic activities and target followers of all genders on platforms such as TikTok/Douyin and Bilibili. Through ethnographic research, we examine how these young individuals strategically marketize their private and intimate experiences as a form of aspiration and commerce. We use Foucault’s concept, "docile bodies," to interrogate how these erotic entrepreneurs navigate the power and knowledge systems of the creative economy. We argue that the paradoxical position of these docile male, queer bodies helps to increase their visibility on one hand, whilst renders them vulnerable to exploitation, censorship, and commodification on the other. The findings suggest that this paradox disrupts traditional gender stereotypes and the underlying power structures, but also reinforces the neoliberal and patriarchal order specific to postreform China.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Media & Communications
SWORD Depositor:
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