Baomu in China: The Portrayal of Female Domestic Workers in Newspapers and Social Media

Conference: The Asian Conference on Media, Communication & Film (MediAsia2021)
Title: Baomu in China: The Portrayal of Female Domestic Workers in Newspapers and Social Media
Stream: Critical and Cultural Studies, Gender and Communication
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Lu Wei, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China
Sun Jialu, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China
Yan Chenyu, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China
Yao Yueyan, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China
Zhou Yanyan, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China
Zou Jingyi, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China


This study investigates how female domestic workers, known as Baomu, are portrayed in Chinese news media. Extant studies have provided an enlightening insight that this group is increasingly framed as a non-negligible threat in newspapers with the growing social demand of domestic services and the heated discussion of several vicious crimes committed by some Baomu in recent years. Nevertheless, few studies have explored how the portrayal of this group varies across news media featuring different degrees of political control and commercialization. To fill the research void, this study combines the attribute agenda-setting and framing theory to examine how different agendas and frames of Baomu are privileged by the party-affiliated newspapers, non-party newspapers that are more market-oriented, and social media that are populated by diverse privately-owned news outlets. Therefore, 630 Baomu-themed pieces of news between July 2018 and July 2021 are sampled and collected for the quantitative content analysis, including 130 from party newspapers, 390 from non-party newspapers, and 110 from social media. This study is conducive to not only generating a more comprehensive understanding of the news media representation of Baomu but also testifying whether social media have the potential to offer an alternative portrayal that is distinct from newspapers.

Virtual Presentation

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