Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Munoz, Kristine L

First Committee Member

McLeod, Kembrew

Second Committee Member

West, Isaac

Third Committee Member

Kang, Jiyeon

Fourth Committee Member

Feeley, Jennifer


This dissertation connects the study of media discourses of gender in East Asia with how globalization influences consumption of popular culture. It explores the ways in which femininity is framed in different layers of discourse through a speech act called "sajiao," a native term in Mandarin for persuasive talk that generally means to talk or behave like a child for persuasive purposes. This ethnographic study of feminine persuasion includes data from everyday communication and from interactions among online communities. The media texts and fieldwork data are compared to reveal how the dominant ideology that all women have to express femininity in the form of babyish cuteness influences native speakers' understanding of the speech act among Mandarin speakers in Taiwan.

This dissertation introduces the issues of sajiao and the relation to gender, culture, and communication. I analyze the sajiao performance conducted by female entertainers in Taiwan, the sajiao discourse in the newspaper, and the discussion about sajiao on TV. These data are compared with the daily practice of sajiao. I describe who does sajiao, how people sajiao, when sajiao happens, and why people sajiao. By detailing the sequential procedure of sajiao, I explore the persuasive dimensions and its cultural implications in the Taiwanese context. In addition, a comparison of sajiao practices between Taipei and Shanghai is offered. In conclusion, I explain why this project is critical and how it contributes to both the interpretive and the cultural studies traditions. Some limitations of this research and its potential development for communication studies in general are discussed.


v, 252 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 241-252).


Copyright 2012 Hsin-I Yueh

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Communication Commons