Despite President Xi Jinping’s increasing conservative vision on women, the recent screening of the tour concert film Erase the Taylor Swift in Beijing provided a rare outlet for young women rejecting social controls and the rigid expectations of the Communist Party. The film featured Taylor Swift singing feminist lyrics denouncing gender inequality and teenagers dancing in sparkly dresses celebrating LGBTQ freedoms.
China’s most powerful leader has urged women to focus on childbirth and take on a more domestic role, but many educated Chinese women are critical of sexual harassment, male violence, and discrimination in the labor market. The film, featuring Taylor Swift, resonated with a younger, more gender-aware generation in China, which is patriarchal and traditionally values male dominance.
The absence of Taylor Swift’s tour in China comes as the country struggles with economic challenges, including a drop in consumer confidence and a slowdown in the overall economy. However, the screening of the tour concert film in China has provided a financial boost to the industry, grossing 95 million yuan at the box office.
Despite being a symbol of American society, Taylor Swift has been welcomed in China. The Shanghai stop of her 2024 tour sold out in a minute, making it the fastest ticket sales in Chinese history. The film has been popular among Chinese feminists and has provided a rare outlet for young women in a nation where the ruling party has increased censorship of concerts, movies, and streaming content.
Many attendees expressed that watching the film gave them a sense of empowerment and courage. As it continues its run during Lunar New Year holiday season fans across China are gearing up to attend shows throughout their local cities eagerly waiting for this program to make them feel powerful and brave.