“Sex for Work, Fun and Revolution in Early Hong Kong Media” presented by Ching

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Panel 1: Sexually Explicit Imagery & Gender Politics in the Hong Kong Media Sphere

Presentation Title:

  • Sex for Work, Fun and Revolution in Early Hong Kong Media

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • In Flower of Joy (1944), Hendrik De Leeuw described a “Chinese dinner” in Hong Kong as follows: “Since the female relations of the host were not invited, we had to soothe our hurt feelings to make up for their absence with some sing-song girls, seated on either side of us and who entertained us while we ate with music, small talk and I must confess with occasional flirtation.” My paper will begin by comparing this narrative with another sexualized intercultural depiction in Follow Your Dream (1941), one of the few pre-WWII Hong Kong films extant, made by leftist filmmaker Lu Dun. The film traces the conversion of a young “lady from a respectable family” (da jia gui xiu) to sex worker in supporting her patriotic/revolutionary boyfriend and his family. These will be further studied in the context of Hong Kong laws regulating sex work alongside popular media representation of prostitutes in early 20th century Hong Kong, ranging from major newspapers such as Wah Kiu Yat Po to “small” newspapers (aka xiaobao or tabloids) such as Hu Chiao Po (supplement of South China Daily News) and Gu Zi. This study seeks to further understanding of the intersections among and between class, ethnicity and sexuality vis-à-vis colonial structures of power in forming an early modern Hong Kong Chinese sexual culture.

     

    Video: Panel 1: Sexually Explicit Imagery & Gender Politics in the Hong Kong Media Sphere

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