ABSTRACT

This paper explores how Taiwanese women’s variety television shows mediate social expectations about women’s work, both waged and unwaged. In particular, I argue that the 2011 women’s variety programme Shoun€u Buman Zu《熟女不 滿 族》, lit. unsatisfied mature-women tribe) negotiates both the feminization of everyday domestic risk and expectations surrounding the embodied practices of women’s affective labour. I propose that the programme’s mediation of these issues takes place at three levels: thematic, performed and formal. First, offering ‘expert’ advice on managing the opportunities and risks associated with women’s everyday lives in late-modern consumer culture, the discussion themes on Unsatisfied Shoun€u readily lend themselves to analysis in terms of the feminization of risk and risk management. Second, the embodied performances of the programme’s presenters – including their speech, movement and on-screen interactions – model hegemonic formations of feminine habitus, especially the emotional work it involves. Third, the formal properties of this genre, especially the use of post-production effects, instantiate an amplification of the bodily-affective work of normative feminine social interaction. In representing the labours of femininity on these three levels, these programmes make readily visible some of the defining features of available formations of feminine subjecthood in Taiwan today, while highlighting commercial television’s role in the socialization of women’s affective capacities.