Panel: Sexually Explicit Imagery & Gender Politics in the Hong Kong Media Sphere
Since 2009, photobooks featuring teenage models in sexy poses have become standard provisions in the annual Hong Kong Book Fair. The images of scantily-dressed women sparked controversies in both mainstream news media and social media. An analysis of such pictures found that the production of erotica was a careful calculation of a host of factors, including the consideration of traditional Chinese attitudes toward sex, legal constraints on sexual representation and expectations of the target audiences (Chu, 2013).
In 2015, a six-year old girl participated in the production of a photobook which was to be sold in the Hong Kong Book Fair. The photobook soon caught the attention of critics who questioned about the sexual connotations of a few pictures. It eventually led to the recall of all available copies. Despite the decision, the incident has provoked debates on sexual representation and child pornography, as well as issues related to sexual agency, sexual expression and repression. This study has identified and studied competing discourses in mainstream news media and social media. They reflect unspoken assumptions about various kinds of consent and resent in sexualities in today Hong Kong. With these revelations, how this predominantly Chinese society responds to sex matters are further discussed.
- Prof. Donna Chu is associate professor in the School of Journalism and Communication in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, works on research about youth media culture, gender and media literacy.