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Über dieses Buch

Chinese artists, activists, and netizens are pioneering a new order of pornographic representation that is in critical dialogue with global entertainment media. Jacobs examines the role of sex-positive feminists and queer communities to investigate pornography's "afterglow" (a state of crisis and decay within digital culture).




Wlomen’s sexually explicit media and art forms in mainland China and Hong Kong, which contribute to pubic cultures of art, social media, and media activism, comprise a wide range of media that stretch beyond the more narrowly applied genre of commercially produced pornography. They are sometimes steeped in cultural heritage genres such as ancient erotic ghost stories, or they are developed around digital technologies and online databases such as the products of Japanese manga culture. At times, they embody an angry-activist dimension and posit a significant difference from globalized “male-stream” pornography. They are proposed by young women whose aesthetics and goals also differ from the matured Euro-American video genres of female-friendly, feminist, or queer-produced pornography.
Katrien Jacobs

Chapter 1. Women’s Drifting Eyeballs and Porn Tastes

Within the context of a global turn toward feminine taste cultures, this study sets out to examine how Hong Kong women are sensing and rating hard-core and alternative pornographies. Since Hong Kong (like many other cultures) lacks a flourishing porn industry and a confident tradition of feminist and queer-produced erotica, how are Hong Kong women rating maleoriented porn traditions and the newer taste cultures? In order to do research about this topic, I received a Direct Grant from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2012-13) to organize workshops in Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States. In these workshops, several segments of culturally diverse hard-core, female-friendly, and queer pornography were screened in classrooms and community spaces and were commented on informally and through in-depth discussions. For this chapter, I will mostly focus on the reactions of Hong Kong Chinese women who attended these workshops at the Chinese University of Hong Kong or at the community centers of the lesbian organizations G-Spot and Women’s Coalition of Hong Kong.
Katrien Jacobs

Chapter 2. Wandering Scholars and the Teachings of Ghosts

This second chapter looks at female ghost figures in Ming and Early Qing dynasty (1580–1700) literature and their treatment in modern Hong Kong cinema. The selected movies can be categorized as art-house or soft-core erotic films with narratives of a scholar’s enlightenment through contact with ghosts. While the sexual ghost encounter is presented in these movies as a male fantasy, it is here redefined as a feminist response to this tale. The ghost will be analyzed as an example of “phantom feminism,” not in the negative sense as illusory or nonexisting presence but as a roaming force that triggers emotive responses and a melancholic critical reflection. Phantom feminism builds on Jack Halberstam’s notion of “shadow feminism” as silent and incoherent agency that guides women’s quest for sexual pleasure (Halberstam 2011: 130). The ghost is seen as an unintelligible and shady agent whose fall into destitution and death can be seen as an escape from procreation and servitude to the nuclear family.
Katrien Jacobs

Chapter 3. Message on the Body in the Chinese Netsphere

This chapter focuses on naked bodies and bodily writing as online activism in mainland China—how artists and activists stage nakedness as a sensual yet engaged medium to challenge conservative family planning and acts of sexual abuse. Leta Hong-Fincher in her study of “leftover women” tells of a new wave of state propaganda against sexual enjoyment and eroticism that has emerged alongside a compulsive call for women to get married and procreate before the age of 25. This rhetoric aims to attract a highly educated pool of urban women who are needed to upgrade the quality of the population and who would otherwise be inclined to focus on their careers (Hong-Fincher 2014).
Katrien Jacobs

Chapter 4. The Art of Failure as Seen in Chinese Women’s Boys’ Love Fantasies

In Chapter 1, I describe the feminine pornographic gaze as restless, craving different types of hard-core and soft-core sex scenes, as well as identifying with different sexual orientations. The “drifting eyeballs” of women announce a search for erotic stimulation and dissatisfaction with existing male-dominated aesthetics in pornography. This chapter extends this claim by looking at feminine pornography in online microfiction and fanzines (called doujinshi in Japanese, or tongrenzhi [同人志 in Chinese) based on the Japanese manga genre of Boys’ Love (in Chinese, called danmei, 耽美, “801,” or simply “BL”). This genre refers to female-authored narratives about homosexual love affairs that involve emotional hardship and include hard-core sex. These kinds of emotive sex scenes are currently highly popular in Hong Kong and mainland China. The stories comprise many different genres, but all depict heightened love affairs between a male “dominant” (优, seme) character and a male “bottom” (受, uke) character.
Katrien Jacobs

Chapter 5. The Master Class of Leftover Women

The era of neoliberal reform in China and postcolonial citizen movements in Hong Kong have allowed women to pursue erotic pleasures and sexually sophisticated lifestyles. At the same time, as will be shown in this chapter, there is increasing pressure from governments and relationship entrepreneurs to travel back in time to an ethos of conservative family planning, which in mainland China has coincided with a call for loyalty to the communist party-state. This rhetoric challenges women’s heterogeneous and media-inundated worldviews described in this book, which will be further examined through personal testimonies and an analysis of mature-aged sexuality in movies, artworks, websites, and porn industries.
Katrien Jacobs


In spring 2011, when I was writing the conclusion for my previous book, People’s Pornography: Sex and Surveillance on the Chinese Internet, Hong Kong was in a state of turmoil because mainland China’s dissident artist Ai Weiwei had been indefinitely detained by the police in Beijing. He was released after 81 days, but this crackdown signaled the beginning of a new phase of persecution and tightened censorship of the mainland Chinese media, which included network communications, film and arts festivals, and sexually explicit materials. I also showed that Chinese netizens were sitting tight and defending their right to a “pornosphere”: a network of websites, social media platforms, and traditional public spaces used for the sharing of sex products and related commentaries.
Katrien Jacobs


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