Literally. I also think that’s the most clever title for a blog post ever – so proud of myself. I just really want to put that photo out there. Living on the 61st floor has its perks, especially with crazy weather.
Anyway, so what I really wanted to think through was the lack of discussion surrounding the truly massive gender issues in Hong Kong. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Hong Kong needs a serious injection of feminism. I’ve had several conversations in the mere six days that I have been here where women and men have displayed a seriously disturbing understanding of “equality” and “gender rights.” I would love to pinpoint where, how and why this originated, with debates regarding China’s communist principles (read: one child policy), and discuss the portrayal of women on Chinese TV shows and movies (still heavily stereotypical) and the normalization of these stereotypes under the belief that it is all biological. I won’t even mention this assumed knowledge within (what seems to be) the majority of youth in Hong Kong that it is indecent for women to be outspoken, loud and opinionated (read: me) and that it’s possibly the most anti-feminine thing one could do.
Okay, I digress. so, yes, this is obviously quite serious. And it’s such a shame because universities and other organizations have been pouring a great amount of effort into gender issues, however, it is simply not as apparent here. In London, I will see a feminist poster at almost every street corner, or every other tweet will be highlighting the need to address gender issues in London’s schools, workplaces and so forth. But it’s just not the same. I just don’t see it.
Instead, I see extremely regressive advertisements that are somehow deemed appropriate all over Hong Kong’s train stations – scantily clad women as a method of advertising plastic surgery and “natural” boob-job advertisements for women and muscular men as a representation of fitness, and good health. Anti-smoking campaigns dictating with a picture of a smiling woman that she will be “prettier” if she quit smoking. The binaries of masculine vs. feminine are very much alive, and are being perceived equally by the tiny, young and old. Once you point out these issues, everyone suddenly jumps at their feet in criticism of these advertisements, and yet we are just letting it happen.
All because it is still at a grassroots level. It’s taking too long for this to become a bigger deal, as it rightly should. We have succumbed to being a happy level of superficiality, and it’s time to change. It’s one of those things where I have no idea where I could even begin helping. There are some truly great individuals helping to change this disappointing status quo, some excellent feminist research being produced right here in Hong Kong, but we really need to up the scale of attention these are given. I’d honestly love nothing more than seeing these individuals become academic celebrities for their (in some cases, truly innovative) work.
I figure I’m going to let these thoughts tumble around in my head for a couple of days, but I’ll get to a conclusion, eventually.