The magazine Meiyu 眉語 (Eyebrow Talk), published from 1914 to 1916 and edited by Gao Jianhua 高劍華, was China's first literary magazine edited by a woman and targeted at a female audience. It was also the first modern magazine to pay extensive attention to nudity and to physical and romantic intimacy through at times carefully considered juxtapositions of texts and images. In addition, it was the first Chinese magazine to be banned on the basis of obscenity legislation introduced during the early Republic. The committee that banned Meiyu was led by Zhou Shuren 周樹人, who later became known as the author Lu Xun 魯迅, and his disparaging reminiscence about Meiyu caused the magazine to be all but forgotten for nearly a century. In this article, the authors use a wide variety of archival material to reconstruct the complex publishing history of the magazine, as well as the processes and cultural standards involved in its banning. This is followed by a close analysis of aspects of the contents of Meiyu, especially the interaction between texts and images in the representation of nudity, intimacy, and coupledom.

You do not currently have access to this content.