Cars, Careers, and Care: Automobility and Women’s Dilemmas in Chinese Urban TV Dramas

One-yuan banknote engraved in 1960.
Lu Zeng untangles the complex interplay between automobility and professional women’s work-family balance in recent Chinese television drama.
[Ed. Note: This article is part of a dossier on Mediating Urban Automobility.]

In Chinese cities, owning a car is not a must. Don’t get me wrong – China has been the largest automobile market in the world since 2009 and produces more cars than any other country.1“The World’s 10 Largest Car Markets, Ranked,” CarLogos, February 19, 2023, https://www.carlogos.org/reviews/largest-car-markets.html. However, because of China’s commitment to public transportation and pedestrian planning, and traffic congestion that warrants road space rationing in many cities, driving is far from the default way of getting around for most Chinese urban residents. This is reflected in the low number of cars per capita figure. Contrary to the common perception (rooted in a capitalist consumerist discourse) that automobility offers freedom and convenience, you would easily find driving a car in Chinese cities to be burdensome: it often takes longer than riding the subway/metro, you may only be allowed to drive on certain days of the week per restrictions, and parking space is increasingly expensive and scarce. Still, the car is considered a status symbol and a desired household item for newlyweds alongside a house. This is where cars come into play in China’s gender and family dynamics: men are usually expected to own a house or apartment unit and a car before they can marry. However, it is also becoming common for women and their families to provide cars as dowries, especially for China’s one-child generation currently in the dating/marriage market. This neoliberal commercialization of marriage and family supposedly gives women more say in their marriages since they are nominally financial equals with their husbands. If the woman provides both the house and the car, it is considered that her husband is marrying into her family rather than the other way around. As such, the car is closely related to Chinese women’s bargaining power in marriage and society. Taking this observation as a starting point, this article analyzes the dynamic between automobility and urban professional women’s struggles with work-family balance in two recent Chinese urban TV dramas that are reasonably popular: Modern Marriage/《我们的婚姻》(2022) and Lady’s Character/《女士的品格》 (2023).2Their combined total views on official streaming platforms (Tencent Video and Mango TV) are over 3 billion.

In Maoist China, driving was not a private activity for personal convenience or comfort, but an act that was supposed to serve the collective good. The privately owned automobile was not the norm, but rather publicly owned buses, trucks, and tractors. The figure of women driving during this period was an expression of the ideal of gender equality – the one-yuan note in circulation from 1969 to 2000 featured the first woman tractor driver in China, manifesting the Maoist slogan “women hold up half the sky.” As China deepens its social and economic reforms in the twenty-first century, feminist concerns are no longer subsumed into class-coded struggles but complicated by new marital, reproductive, and economic relations in the market economy.3Angela Xiao Wu and Yige Dong, “What Is Made-in-China Feminism(s)? Gender Discontent and Class Friction in Post-Socialist China,” Critical Asian Studies 51, no. 4 (October 2, 2019): 471–492, https://doi.org/10.1080/14672715.2019.1656538. Today, women drive and own private cars instead of driving tractors to produce public goods. As Ye Liu notes in her research, women in China have experienced both tremendous opportunities and increasing challenges since the implementation of the one-child policy in 1979, which roughly coincided with (and could be considered a corollary of) China’s economic reforms.4Ye Liu, “As the Two-Child Policy Beckons: Work–Family Conflicts, Gender Strategies and Self-Worth among Women from the First One-Child Generation in Contemporary China,” Work, Employment and Society 37, no. 1 (2021): 20–38, https://doi.org/10.1177/09500170211016944. While educational opportunities expanded for women, gender equality in the workplace is no longer protected by socialist planning. Today, the persistent patriarchal culture, lack of adequate employment rights, weak legal protections for maternity rights, and limited childcare provisions exert considerable pressure on working women. Because of the one-child policy, many urban Chinese women currently in their reproductive years were raised with their families’ undivided expectations and support. While seeking to fulfill their potential in the workplace, they face challenges posed by a generally conservative patriarchal culture – even though they have received better education than women of past generations, their families may still expect them to get married and have children at a suitable age. If they don’t, they might be called “leftover women.”5Quispe López, “How the One-Child Policy Fueled a New Dating Industry in China, with Government-Backed Speed-Dating Events for Women over 27 Years Old,” Insider, February 15, 2020, https://www.insider.com/dating-in-china-after-one-child-policy-leftover-women-2020-2. If they do, their partners’ families may still expect them to produce male heirs. Put simply, women have gained exceptional prospects because of the one-child policy but still find themselves held back by the traditional values that persist in society.

The abandonment of the one-child policy in 2016 and the subsequent two-child and three-child policies only exacerbated women’s work–family dilemma (this shall be distinguished from the Western notion of work–life balance because having a ‘life’ hasn’t been an option for most Chinese women). While the government urges them to bear more children to help the country’s aging problem, the competitive and sexist job market is hostile to women burdened by family duties, especially reproductive and childrearing duties.6Jue Liu, Min Liu, Shikun Zhang, Qiuyue Ma, and Qiaomei Wang, “Intent to Have a Second Child among Chinese Women of Childbearing Age Following China’s New Universal Two-Child Policy: A Cross-Sectional Study,” BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health 46, no. 1 (January 1, 2020): 59, https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsrh-2018-200197. This was well reflected in working women’s outrage against the two-child policy – without true gender equality and employment rights protections in the workplace, the possibility that they might have a second child would make them “time-bombs” to employers and could lead to them being replaced or dismissed if they get pregnant.7Yaqiu Wang, “Take Maternity Leave and You’ll Be Replaced,” Human Rights Watch, June 1, 2021, https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/06/01/take-maternity-leave-and-youll-be-replaced/chinas-two-child-policy-and-workplace. Therefore, the relaxation of reproductive policies in China actually exacerbated gender discrimination. From interviews with working Chinese women, Ye Liu summarizes three main strategies that women take in response to their dilemma: 1) rejection of the fertility discourse; 2) acceptance of the fertility discourse; 3) delay fertility decisions.8Liu, “As the Two-Child Policy Beckons.” She finds that most of her respondents chose to delay fertility decisions at a crossroads between pursuing career advancement or abandoning their ambitions, which shows the prevalence of Chinese women’s work-family dilemma.9Liu, “As the Two-Child Policy Beckons.”

As women have played an increasingly important role in the production and consumption of TV dramas in China, their concerns about gender equality have given rise to a significant number of female-oriented TV dramas.10Yunyi Hu and Yuxuan Gu, “Television, Women, and Self-Objectification: Examining the Relationship between the Consumption of Female TV Dramas and Sexism, the Internalization of Beauty Ideals, and Body Surveillance in China,” Global Media and China 8, no. 2 (June 2023): 174–189, https://doi.org/10.1177/20594364231180327. Amongst female-oriented Chinese dramas, the “urban” genre (dushiju/都市剧) has become one in which women’s work-family dilemma is a popular theme. The urban drama as a genre has been a staple in the country’s TV industry. They are typically set in first- or second-tier cities and feature skyscrapers, modern offices, shiny apartments, and well-dressed characters who have white-collar jobs. And, very commonly, the characters are car owners. In many instances, the dramas do not name the real cities they are filmed in but rather use pseudonyms for the cities. This genre can intersect with others such as romance or mystery but it is marked in the dramas’ labels to project expectations about their settings. In Chinese media scholarship, these urban dramas have been criticized for staging “floating” stories whose circumstances are far from reality, including the sets.11 刘玲, “‘悬浮剧’——国产都市剧的伪现实主义倾向,” 美与时代(下), no. 838 (2020): 105–107, DOI:10.16129/j.cnki.mysdx.2020.03.032. While the two case studies discussed here do follow this pseudo-realistic tendency, I argue that they nevertheless successfully dramatize a very real dilemma faced by professional women of the one-child generation in Chinese cities. In the specific scenes I study, the precarities of automobility become indicators of women’s precarities at work and at home and force women to evaluate their real stakes.

Modern Marriage (2022): You can’t fit everything into a car
Huixing’s daughter is excited about picnicking while stranded in the mountains. Modern Marriage (2022)

Shen Huixing (played by Bai Baihe) graduated with a Master’s degree in Finance from a prestigious university six years ago. But upon receiving a competitive job offer, she learned that she was pregnant. Against her friends’ and family’s dissuasion, she decided to marry her boyfriend Sheng Jiangchuan (played by Tong Dawei), her classmate, and be a stay-at-home mom until their daughter turned six and went to primary school. The show begins when the agreed six-year period ends and Huixing wants to get a job in finance that matches her qualifications. To her dismay, she encounters unforeseen challenges from both her husband and the job market. In six years, Jiangchuan has already built a successful career in venture capital and moved the family into a new and bigger apartment (albeit with a mortgage) in a posh neighborhood. He has gotten used to Huixing being at home while he climbs the corporate ladder, chasing goal after goal. He is reluctant to honor the agreement he made with Huixing, and her decision to actually seek work comes as a surprise to him. Determined not to let her education and potential go to waste, Huixing fights her husband with passive-aggression, estrangement, and threats of divorce. She expels Jiangchuan from their bedroom to the study until the end of the show when they make up. According to Angela Xiao Wu and Yige Dong, Chinese feminism (C-fem)’s online explosiveness since the 2010s has given rise to an entrepreneurial feminist strand that both heightens women’s economic stakes and corrodes their intimate relationships, of which Huixing is an example.12Wu and Dong, “What Is Made-in-China Feminism(s)?,” 481.

Meanwhile, having a six-year gap on her resume puts her at a great disadvantage in the job market. To employers, her experience equals that of a fresh graduate but her knowledge is outdated, her physical endurance cannot compare with new graduates, and worst of all, there is no guarantee that she can prioritize work over her maternal duties. However, as the show proceeds, our protagonist lands an entry-level job at a VC company that happens to be the biggest competitor of Jiangchuan’s firm, which escalates the tension at home. Motivated by the thought that she could have been where her husband is if not for the past six years, she now treats her marriage less as a partnership than a competition. The home in turn becomes a place where she fights for the equality she is denied in the workplace. This attitude is also fueled by the frustration felt by many one-child generation women: growing up without male siblings but with access to all their family’s resources, they barely experienced any explicit gender bias. Unfortunately, their assumed entitlement to equal treatment crumbles when they move from the school system into the workplace, which explicitly favors men.13Wu and Dong, 478. As cars have historically been assumed to be masculine vehicles in terms of both their technology and use, they are also appropriate vehicles through which Huixing challenges gender discrimination.14Margaret Walsh, “Gendering Mobility: Women, Work and Automobility in the United States,” History 93, no. 3 (2008): 376–395.

Huixing’s misadventure with a car occurs in the second half of the show when she has raised the threat of divorce and is practically not speaking to Jiangchuan anymore. On this occasion, Jiangchuan tries to save their marriage by inviting her to join his father-daughter trip at a resort. By this time, he has taken on more responsibilities at home, hoping things will improve. Driving to the destination in an electric car that her firm is considering investing in, Huixing receives a call from her boss telling her that she has to be in for a meeting the next day. Her boss is someone she cannot afford to disappoint due to her precarious position at work, not to mention that the boss is a working mom who delegates all childcare duties to her husband and wouldn’t sympathize with women who are caregivers. Upon arriving, Huixing directly brings her daughter into the car, cutting short the resort holiday and disappointing both her daughter and husband. The car becomes a literal and metaphorical vehicle through which she takes assertive control over her life. Since the car is also a product she is testing for work, as she is trying to fit her daughter into the vehicle it seems as if work is literally swallowing up her family. As Mimi Sheller and John Urry note, cars embody a hybridization of public and private life that is increasingly prevalent in modern society – here, Huixing actively tries to fit her public and private life into one car that promises to let her move freely between the place of work, Shanghai, and the place of family duties, the vacation destination.15Mimi Sheller and John Urry, “Mobile Transformations of ‘Public’ and ‘Private’ Life,” Theory, Culture & Society 20, no. 3 (2003): 107–125, https://doi.org/10.1177/02632764030203007.

Just as she is explaining its features to her daughter, the electric car unexpectedly loses power in the mountains. Automobility doesn’t reconcile her work-family dilemma after all, and that is not its only disappointment – the car company’s advertised ‘fast-response rescue service’ doesn’t turn up until the next morning. As soon as he learns of this incident, Jiangchuan quickly rushes to them on a bike with food and a barbecue kit. Unwilling as she is, Huixing ends up spending the night camping and barbecuing with her daughter and husband. It is the first time that the family has spent quality time together since Huixing started working. Therefore, the malfunctioning of the car and its promise of automobility interrupts Huixing from doing her job and puts her back in the family role again. She begins to take notice of Jiangchuan’s efforts to please her and restore the family’s balance – having been on a trip with their daughter, he is more committed to being a present father and sharing childcare duties. He is also willing to put in the necessary emotional work to save the marriage: even though she still acts distant to him, he consoles her saying that it is not as bad a day as she thinks it is because their daughter has had a great time camping in nature.

The next morning, the car’s rescue service finally arrives. Interacting with the rescue team, Jiangchuan learns of their grievances about receiving too many rescue demands and always being scolded by clients. He then gives Huixing some unsolicited professional advice as a seasoned investor about how the true colors of a company are often found from their employees rather than their pitch deck. Thus, the electric car as a consumer product turns out to be disappointing – it is marketed as new, efficient, quiet, and having adequate rescue support, offering more freedom than the traditional car. But what’s new and exciting is also risky, just like Huixing’s career. This speaks of the central paradox of automobility: the more mobile we are, the more our safety is at risk.16Jörg Beckmann, “Mobility and Safety,” in Automobilities, eds. Mike Feathersone, Nigel Thrift, and John Urry (London: SAGE, 2005), 81–100. Returning to Shanghai, she is punished for missing work but begins to drop the idea of divorce. She has re-evaluated her career and family duties through her encounter with the promises and risks of automobility, which brings her attention to things she has ignored and falsely believed in. She understands she cannot keep her hands on the wheels of both work and family as they are essentially pulling her in different directions. Thus, the show offers Huixing an idealistic husband who is supportive and capable of improving her work-family dilemma.

Lady’s Character (2023): Automobility gives you some power, but not enough
Yao Wei falling backwards in a car accident in Lady’s Character (2023).

While automobility in Modern Marriage encapsulates women’s work-family dilemma after motherhood, it concerns women’s decisions before or without motherhood in Lady’s Character. Lady’s Character is a 2023 urban drama filmed mainly in Shenzhen. It follows Yao Wei (played by Wan Qian), a commercial director at a TV/streaming channel called Yugo, where her husband Cheng Liang (played by Bai Ke) is a reality show director. The couple is in their early thirties and depicted as having a mutually respectful and loving relationship. At the beginning of the show, Yao Wei finds out that she has an unplanned pregnancy, but her career-driven mindset makes her lean towards getting an abortion. Like Huixing, Yao Wei has a female boss, Xu Wen, who neglects her child for work. Being in middle management, Yao Wei has also witnessed firsthand how motherhood has diminished the professional performance of one of her most valued employees. She tries to keep it a secret at first, but Xu Wen learns of her pregnancy from the results of a recent employees’ health checkup in an utter violation of privacy. As in Modern Marriage, the female superiors who choose work over family become oppressors of women who still hesitate. Xu Wen questions Yao Wei’s ability to keep up with work regardless of her quandary, and recruits a new commercial director as her competition almost to have a replacement ready. The competitor, An Xin (played by Liu Mintao), is a childless and more experienced executive who is past her reproductive years.

Fearful of a career setback, Yao Wei insists on abortion. Although her husband Cheng Liang prefers to keep the baby and accepts the difficulties that may come with it, he respects Yao Wei’s decision and accompanies her to the hospital. However, just as the doctor lets Yao Wei listen to her baby’s heartbeat for one last time, she regrets her decision. Leaving the abortion room, she tells Cheng Liang that she can handle a pregnancy without losing her career, which excites them both. Her change in attitude is a unique one that hasn’t been elaborated in scholarship on Chinese contemporary feminism – she treats her pregnancy as an additional part of her work that she can equally excel in. This optimism is manifested in an idealistic montage sequence that features her saying goodbye to her supportive and loving husband and driving to work to meet with clients. Hands on the wheel, she feels in control of her life and notices a message left by her husband on the in-car display screen: “Dear wifey, you are the best!” Her voiceover goes on to affirm this optimism: “A new life is coming, and I’m starting to see myself as a mother. To welcome them, I have to work harder to become their pillar, and their existence seems to give me more courage to fight in the world.” Here again, automobility ostensibly symbolizes a smooth conduit between home and work, career and care.

An Xin witnesses the accident from her car. Lady’s Character (2023)

Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, reality rains on Yao Wei’s parade in the very next scene. She hurries to cross the street in a downpour while her competitor An Xin sees her from her car and sighs, “She’s really going all out.” We don’t know why Yao Wei is crossing the street. Perhaps to meet a client, judging from her impatience to wait for the rain to lighten up. We don’t know why she is not driving either. Is she walking, taking public transport, or getting a cab? Is the pregnancy preventing her from driving herself in extreme weather? All we know is that this takes place in the middle of a work day, and it is work that creates situations where she doesn’t have access to automobility. Just as she is about to cross, a car speeds past her, and she falls backwards on the sidewalk. She is immediately aware that she might lose her baby. Seeing this, An Xin gets out of the car and takes her to the hospital, reassuring her that it will be okay. The childless woman with a car becomes a savior to the pregnant woman in danger. Even though they hold the exact same positions as commercial directors at work, in this incident, pregnancy and the temporary loss of automobility ascribed by work put Yao Wei in a weaker position than An Xin.

This realization hits harder at the hospital. Yao Wei’s pregnancy is safe, so An Xin feels obligated to advise her against going all out at work: “Since you’ve decided to have it [the baby], there’s no need to be so dedicated. I came to Yugo just to do my part. I have no intention to compete with a pregnant woman.” Faced with this brutal and condescending truth that she has lost her edge as a competitor, Yao Wei tries to justify her dedication to work by reiterating the optimism she had before the incident: “I just didn’t want my pregnancy to affect my work, which should also build a good image for my child.” However, she already knows that this is not going to work, so she only responds with silence and disappointment when An Xin spells out the truth for her: “Even if you want to build a good image [for your child], you have to ensure their safety first. I can save you once, but not twice.” Still carless, she asks An Xin whether they could share a ride back to the office, but An Xin reminds Yao Wei of her loss of agency and status once again: “You’re fine now, do you still want me to drive you? Your work is done today but I’ve still got some [outside of the office].”

Even though An Xin manifests her power through automobility, she encounters its failure soon enough. Later in the day, Yao Wei decides to thank An Xin by revealing a difficult truth to her in her car: Yao Wei saw An Xin’s husband with a pregnant girl at an obstetrician’s appointment a while ago. After dropping Yao Wei off, An Xin anxiously tries to call her husband from her car using the Bluetooth function of the car to make the call. The smart assistant asks her, “Do you confirm you want to call ‘husband’”? She almost yells, “confirm” twice, but the call doesn’t go through. She accelerates her car, but her husband is socializing in another city with his pregnant girlfriend. Prior to Yao Wei’s revelation, An Xin had always been known to have a happy marriage and a successful career, but that illusion is shattered while she is driving. Her car offers both mobility and connectivity, but no amount of moving or calling actually enables her to reach her husband and address her distress. Therefore, both Yao Wei and An Xin put confidence in automobility and use it as a vehicle to express their agency and empowerment only to find themselves betrayed by its failed promises.

In An Xin’s instance, this betrayal takes the literal form of her husband’s infidelity, which hits hard because it’s an external factor that she has no control over. It seems that even though she has avoided the career risks related to motherhood, she is punished in her private life for not having a child. In Modern Marriage and Lady’s Character, we see women in three different marital and care circumstances: Huixing is married with a child, Yao Wei is married and about to have a child, and An Xin is married without a child. All of them attempt to express confidence in maintaining good work-family balance through automobility but come to be disappointed, so they look for alternatives elsewhere. However, their common experiences point to the practical impossibility of overcoming the work-family dilemma – whatever their circumstances, they will be scolded (Huixing), injured (Yao Wei), or heartbroken (An Xin) if they are confident. Automobility is thus a double-edged sword that both plants this confidence in them and tears it to pieces.

The car as a serendipitous vehicle for reality

Both Modern Marriage and Lady’s Character demonstrate urban professional women’s work-family dilemma by putting cars between careers and care. Cars are known to be a profound symbol of capitalism that is both liberating and dangerous, related to both leisure and work.17Jeremy Gilbert, Anticapitalism and Culture: Radical Theory and Popular Politics (London: Routledge, 2008), 121. In contemporary China, they also project socioeconomic status. They have thus become fitting signifiers of the neoliberal discourse of female empowerment complicated by women’s work-family dilemma in China’s urban TV dramas. Like one-child women’s false entitlement to gender equality, the car and its promises ultimately prove to be unreliable and lead to women’s disillusionment. In Modern Marriage, work lends Huixing automobility and subsequently suspends it, leaving her to face her work-family dilemma. In Lady’s Character, automobility gives both Yao Wei and An Xin an illusion of empowerment or even mutual empowerment between work and family. However, the realities of work and family situations brutally rip apart this illusion of automobility for them.

Despite these moments of disillusionment mediated by automobility, the two shows offer falsely optimistic endings where the main characters find a balance between work and family. This is no surprise due to Chinese media’s stipulated social responsibility to propagate the state’s policy to boost birth rates. Moreover, the main characters’ success in reconciling the work-family dilemma largely relies on having both cooperative husbands and viable career paths, which remains too good to be true for many Chinese women. Their brief encounters with the disappointments of automobility are thus rare and perhaps unintentional narrative nodal points where the reality of women’s dilemmas is laid bare. So, serendipitously, the car as a status symbol built on social imagination in China has become a vehicle for reality in pseudo-realistic TV narratives.

Notes

Notes
1 “The World’s 10 Largest Car Markets, Ranked,” CarLogos, February 19, 2023, https://www.carlogos.org/reviews/largest-car-markets.html.
2 Their combined total views on official streaming platforms (Tencent Video and Mango TV) are over 3 billion.
3 Angela Xiao Wu and Yige Dong, “What Is Made-in-China Feminism(s)? Gender Discontent and Class Friction in Post-Socialist China,” Critical Asian Studies 51, no. 4 (October 2, 2019): 471–492, https://doi.org/10.1080/14672715.2019.1656538.
4 Ye Liu, “As the Two-Child Policy Beckons: Work–Family Conflicts, Gender Strategies and Self-Worth among Women from the First One-Child Generation in Contemporary China,” Work, Employment and Society 37, no. 1 (2021): 20–38, https://doi.org/10.1177/09500170211016944.
5 Quispe López, “How the One-Child Policy Fueled a New Dating Industry in China, with Government-Backed Speed-Dating Events for Women over 27 Years Old,” Insider, February 15, 2020, https://www.insider.com/dating-in-china-after-one-child-policy-leftover-women-2020-2.
6 Jue Liu, Min Liu, Shikun Zhang, Qiuyue Ma, and Qiaomei Wang, “Intent to Have a Second Child among Chinese Women of Childbearing Age Following China’s New Universal Two-Child Policy: A Cross-Sectional Study,” BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health 46, no. 1 (January 1, 2020): 59, https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsrh-2018-200197.
7 Yaqiu Wang, “Take Maternity Leave and You’ll Be Replaced,” Human Rights Watch, June 1, 2021, https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/06/01/take-maternity-leave-and-youll-be-replaced/chinas-two-child-policy-and-workplace.
8, 9 Liu, “As the Two-Child Policy Beckons.”
10 Yunyi Hu and Yuxuan Gu, “Television, Women, and Self-Objectification: Examining the Relationship between the Consumption of Female TV Dramas and Sexism, the Internalization of Beauty Ideals, and Body Surveillance in China,” Global Media and China 8, no. 2 (June 2023): 174–189, https://doi.org/10.1177/20594364231180327.
11 刘玲, “‘悬浮剧’——国产都市剧的伪现实主义倾向,” 美与时代(下), no. 838 (2020): 105–107, DOI:10.16129/j.cnki.mysdx.2020.03.032.
12 Wu and Dong, “What Is Made-in-China Feminism(s)?,” 481.
13 Wu and Dong, 478.
14 Margaret Walsh, “Gendering Mobility: Women, Work and Automobility in the United States,” History 93, no. 3 (2008): 376–395.
15 Mimi Sheller and John Urry, “Mobile Transformations of ‘Public’ and ‘Private’ Life,” Theory, Culture & Society 20, no. 3 (2003): 107–125, https://doi.org/10.1177/02632764030203007.
16 Jörg Beckmann, “Mobility and Safety,” in Automobilities, eds. Mike Feathersone, Nigel Thrift, and John Urry (London: SAGE, 2005), 81–100.
17 Jeremy Gilbert, Anticapitalism and Culture: Radical Theory and Popular Politics (London: Routledge, 2008), 121.
Zeng, Lu. "Cars, Careers, and Care: Automobility and Women’s Dilemmas in Chinese Urban TV Dramas." Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture 8, no. 3 (September 2023).
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