This blog series showcases the student winners of the Yuan Changying Prize, sponsored by genderED. The prize recognises outstanding ‘gender observations’ written by students (and nominated by tutors) in the pre-Honours course Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World, convened by Dr. Meryl Kenny and Dr. Sarah Liu. Gender observations require students to link material from the course to their own day-to-day experiences and observations of ‘doing gender’. The prize is named after Yuan Changying in consultation with students, in recognition of the first female Chinese graduate in the University of Edinburgh’s history. In the second of two winning essays, Sasha Halfon-Delay reflects on feminist arguments about what constitutes empowerment in popular culture.