A Semiotic Analysis of the Objectification and Sexualization of Women in East Asia: Exploring the Role of Fashion Magazine


Mianchen Wang * 1

1 Emory University

Corresponding Author

Mianchen Wang


semiotics, sexualization, male gaze, fashion magazine, objectification


The media has, for decades, been a tool through which the objectification and sexualization of women have been perpetuated. The research question pertains to whether East Asian magazines also encourage the perception of women as sexual objects. This research investigated four East Asian magazines, namely, VIVI, Korean Allure, Chinese Beauty, and Chinese ELLE, using the semiotic analysis to determine the extent to which the cover models’ clothing style and make-ups were used to sexualize and objectify East Asian women. Although some countries like Korea have tried to eliminate women's fetishization, others still insist on promoting sexualized images of women to protect their magazine sales and because of the power of the male gaze. The author argued that fashion magazine should be used more efficiently as a platform where women are empowered to express themselves outside the stereotypical sexualization and objectification of women perpetrated by the male gaze.


Mianchen Wang. A Semiotic Analysis of the Objectification and Sexualization of Women in East Asia: Exploring the Role of Fashion Magazine. CHR (2021) CHR ICEIPI 2021: 1-9. DOI: 10.54254/chr.iceipi.2021151.


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