- Time: 18:00-19:00
- Date: Monday, 31 May 2021
- Venue: HS436
The visual imagery, textual discourses, and advertisements in bridal magazines are curated as a compilation of a guide to transitioning from single woman to bride, then wife. The narrative of Thai bridal magazines, in particular, presents a hegemonic discourse in disciplining and conforming ‘female’ bodies in order to maintain the ‘sanctity’ of Buddhist tradition in what is still a patriarchal society. The juxtaposition of images between the modern and traditional Thai brides illustrated over the last decade show the Thai’s self-orientalising tendency and romanticisation of traditional heritage. The hegemonic discourse in the magazines, therefore, illustrates a window into the social construction of ‘Thainess’ and Thai women within Thai society. While print media is fading away in the presence of digital technology and social media, the content once presented in these magazines is shifting into digital society, social media, and celebrity lifestyles, which all add to what have long been embedded in the fabric of the ‘good values of Thainess’. In recent years, various emancipation movements from younger generations have proliferated on online platforms and social media, where traditional Thai values are questioned and their relevance in modern society challenged. This seminar, then, examines femininity in Thailand and debates the role that women have as actors whose power and knowledge are conditioned by images in a setting where literacy skills are still themselves developing, a point and relationship this seminar explores and builds upon.
Merisa Skulsuthavong, PhD, joined XJTLU as an Assistant Professor at Department of Media and Communication in 2020. Previously, she was a lecturer in the Faculty of Mass Communication at Chiang Mai University, Thailand. She was awarded a PhD in Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies from Cardiff University, UK. Dr Skulsuthavong’s research explores intercultural communication, gender, and new media technologies. She has co-authored proceedings on the development of media literacy within Thailand and a forthcoming book chapter on social transformation and digital human rights.