This is a case study that examines desire and its regulation in the Shanghai magazine publication Linglong of the 1930s. It highlights representational tensions in the construction of heteronormative marriage, a regulatory measure that contained the prospects of female autonomy during a period of flux. The study uses an integrated, or “horizontal,” method of reading, which regards journal issues as collectively authored texts and emphasizes the spatial relation and interplay of printed content. Writings and images are referred to as integral aspects of representation to illustrate the ways in which heteronormativity is covertly challenged at the same time that same-sex love and the rejection of marriage are forcefully stigmatized. A special focus of the analysis is an examination of how the valorization of heterosexual love is matched by vociferous attacks on men and idealizations of female bonds, which are at times valued over relations with men. Insinuations of alternative sensibilities and desires are also highlighted, especially the magazine's celebration of masculine women in images.
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