Vietnamese female returnees from forced migration in China: An explorative study on media impact and intersectionality | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online


The once-implemented Chinese one-child policy has reinforced the imbalanced gender ratio and created a significant surplus of bachelors in China. (Involuntary) female migration from Vietnam to China to ease this demographic pressure is a topic that has gained relative media attention in Vietnam. The Vietnamese female migrants (VFMs) who had migrated to China and returned to Vietnam often encounter several problems during their reintegration, including social stigmatisation and negative reactions from local communities, but this receives little academic and media attention. Using this migration route as a case study, this paper employs in-depth interviews with the VFMs who had migrated to China but returned to Vietnam to understand the issues that they often face with and their tactics in dealing with such issues. This paper’s aims are to comprehend the VFMs’ (re-)migratory experiences, their strategies in dealing with media representation and local attitudes, and their reactions to the media and social encounters. Anchoring in the intersectional framework, cultivation theory and learned helplessness, it argues that social structure, local norms, gendered hierarchy and the media portrayal of these women contribute to the VFMs’ struggles to reintegrate. Further analysis shows that female migration is often equated to prostitution in the locals’ perception. The VFMs, under intersectional and psychological constraints, have limited access to social media to use it as a platform to challenge the media and local discourse about themselves. Future research should pay special attention to the intersectional identities of VFMs to better understand their social media use and reintegration process.


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