Global Media and China Special Issue: Feminist Media Production and Beyond

Special Issue: Feminist Media Production and Beyond

Guest Editors:

Dr. Tracy Ying Zhang (Communication and Media Studies, York University)

Dr. Alison Harvey (Communications, Glendon College, York University)


The underrepresentation of women in media-making, as well as their marginalization and discriminatory practices faced within the working environment have been well-documented across history in traditionally-studied industries ranging from broadcast television (Meehan, 2002, Ball & Bell, 2013) to film (Banks, 2009, Hill, 2016, Reynolds, 1998) to video game development (Consalvo, 2008, Prescott & Bogg, 2011). The obfuscation of women’s participation in cultural, creative, and technical fields, including in assembly and other forms of work typically overlooked in the literature (Nakamura 2011, 2014, Mayer, 2011) cannot be disentangled from the historical association of femininity with consumption and the private, domestic sphere (Kearney, 1998), and the devaluation of women’s production activities (White, 2015). Feminist scholarship of media production activities, both within professional industrial contexts and in spaces beyond this such as new digital economies (Duffy, 2015), have highlighted the role of women in media work as well as the social, technical, economic, and political structures that contribute to the ongoing devaluation of women’s work.

This special issue seeks to extend this conversation and open up new horizons for research on feminist media production. At a time where the few high profile women in media making are held up as examples of change when the #MeToo movement and its ripple effects have highlighted ongoing pervasive issues, the moment is ripe for critical, intersectional, and transnational discussions of feminism and media-making. This is all the more pressing given the global fight against workplace-based sexism has waned in light of the exigencies of the Covid-19 pandemic. Paradoxically, within this context and an ever-expanding digital cultural economy, gendered inequality and employment precarity have become even more acute. At a virtual conference hosted by Women in Television and Film Canada in 2021, speakers noted the disproportionate impact of crises like COVID-19 on women and people of color in the media. Evidence shows that women are struggling with not only a shortage of employment opportunities but also challenges related to care responsibilities, mental health, and/or domestic violence (Boserup, McKenney, & Elkbuli, 2020, Bradbury-Jones & Isham, 2020, Power, 2020, Seedat & Rondon, 2021). In tandem with this, scholars have noted how the proliferation of digital platforms offer content creators, including women, new avenues and tools to disseminate their works and connect with new audiences (Lauzen, 2021). This special issue seeks to explore women’s production cultures and practices, the subject-positions they entail, and the labour relations and policies they are entangled with.

We seek submissions from scholars in diverse fields to advance interdisciplinary dialogues on feminist media production. We are interested in empirical, theoretical, and historical contributions that address long-standing and emerging questions regarding the relationship between media production, gender, race, labor, embodiment, nationalism, surveillance capitalism, platform politics, neoliberalism, and reactionary politics.

Submissions that deploy intersectional feminist, decolonial, and anti-colonial approaches are especially welcome. We are also very interested in papers that explore approaches and methods for examining feminist media production in emerging and digital media. We encourage those considering submission to take a broad view of media production and a local perspective on these practices, as we are interested in case studies from different parts of the world. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:

-Feminized and feminist media production activities

-Aspirational, affective and immaterial labor and precarity in media production

-Care, intimacy, and social reproduction in the context of media-making

-Racialization of women’s cultural work

-Inclusions and exclusions in media production training

-Internships, mentorship, and professionalization activities in media production

-Global mobility, migration, and women’s media production

-Craft, handmade, amateurism, and vernacular practices of media production

-Independent production, do-what-you-love, and passion discourse

-Female entrepreneurialism and the hustle in media-making

-Algorithmic shaping and data feminism approaches

Note: No payment from authors will be required.


1 May 2022: abstract proposals (title, 500 words outlining argument, theoretical framework, and methods with short bibliography)

Please submit to Dr Tracy Ying Zhang ((tracyyzh /at/ and Dr Alison Harvey ((alison.harvey /at/

June 2022: notification of acceptance of accepted abstracts

30 November 2022: full paper submission

December 2022 – March 2023: double-blind peer review

April – June 2023: revision

July – August 2023: second round of double-blind peer review

August 2023: revision

September – December 2023: editorial final review


Ball, Vicky & Bell, Melanie (2013.) “Working Women: Women’s Work: Production, History, Gender.” The Journal of British Cinema and Television, 10(3), pp. 547-562.

Banks, Miranda J. (2009.) “Gender Below-the-Line: Defining Feminist Production Studies.” In Production Studies: Cultural Studies of Media, edited by Vicki Mayer, Miranda J. Banks & John Thornton Caldwell. Routledge, pp. 87-98.

Boserup, Brad., McKenney, Mark, & Elkbuli, Adel. (2020). “Alarming Trends in US Domestic Violence during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 38(12), pp. 2753-2755.

Bradbury-Jones, Caroline., & Isham, Louise. (2020). “The Pandemic Paradox: The Consequences of COVID-19 on Domestic Violence.” Journal of Clinical Nursing, 29(13-14), pp. 2047–2049.

Consalvo, Mia. (2008). “Crunched by Passion: Women Game Developers and Workplace Challenges.” In Beyond Barbie & Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming. Edited by Yasmin B. Kafai, Carrie Heeter, Jill Denner and Jennifer Y. Sun. Cambridge and London: MIT Press, pp 177-191.

Duffy, Brooke Erin. (2015). “The romance of work: Gender and aspirational labour in the digital culture industries.” International Journal of Cultural Studies, pp. 1-17.

Hill, Erin. (2016.) Never Done: A History of Women’s Work in Media Production. Rutgers University Press.

Kearney, Mary Celeste. (1998). “Producing Girls: Rethinking the Study of Female Youth Culture.” In Delinquents and Debutants: Twentieth Century American Girls’ Culture, ed. Sherrie Inniss, New York: New York University Press, pp. 285-310.

Lauzen, Martha M. (2021). “Indie Women in a Pandemic Year: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women in U.S. Independent Film, 2020-21.” A report published by the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film, San Diego State University.

Mayer, Vicky. (2011). Below the Line: Producers and Production Studies in the New Television Economy. Duke University Press.

Nakamura, Lisa. (2011). “Economies of Digital Production in East Asia: iPhone Girls and the Transnational Circuits of Cool.” Media Fields Journal, 2.

Nakamura, Lisa. (2014). “Indigenous Circuits: Navajo Women and the Racialization of Early Electronic Manufacture.” American Quarterly, 66(4), pp. 919-941.

Power, Kate. (2020). “The COVID-19 Pandemic has Increased the Care Burden of Women and Families.” Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, 16(1), pp. 67-73.

Prescott, Julie & Bogg, Jan. (2011). “Segregation in a Male-Dominated Industry: Women Working in the Computer Games Industry.” International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, 3, pp. 206-227.

Reynolds, Siân. (1998). “The Face on the Cutting-Room Floor: Women Editors in the French Cinema of the 1930s.” Labour History Review, 63(1), pp. 66–82.

Riordan, Ellen. (2002). “Intersections and New Directions: On Feminism and Political Economy.” In Sex & Money: Feminism and Political Economy in the Media, edited by Eileen R. Meehan & Ellen Riordan. University of Minnesota Press, pp. 3-15.

Seedat, Soraya & Rondon, Marta. (2021). “Women’s Wellbeing and the Burden of Unpaid Work.” BMJ, 374:n1972.

White, Michele. (2015). Producing Women: The Internet, Traditional Femininity, Queerness, and Creativity. New York and London: Routledge.