Gender Studies Programme - Wednesday Gender Seminars

Spring 2018
Co-presented by: Gender Studies Programme,
Gender Research Centre & Sexualities Research Programme, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Spring 2018 Term Poster



18 April 2018
Yvo and Chrissy - Film Screening and Q&A with Director

Film Director:  Xiaopei He 

Chair: Cheng Sealing (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology)

Time: 12.30pm – 2.00pm

Venue: Room 109, Chen Kou Bun Bldg., The Chinese University of Hong Kong


About the Film:

Yvo and Chrissy (2016) depicts the stories of two British searching for their happiness. Yvo gave up million pounds inheritance and became a poet, writer, performer and sea diver. She frequently writes and performs at festivals, TED talks and galleries to show her perspective on sexual identities, mental illness, animal sex and money...etc. Chrissy, the transgender traveller, film maker and musician who currently lives in the wilderness, shows her preference on nomadic lifestyle rather than settled or stable life. 

2017, China, 64 minutes, English & Chinese subtitles

About Xiaopei He:

He Xiaopei 何小培 is the executive director of the Pink Space Sexuality Research Center (粉色空間性文化發展中心) in Beijing, an NGO founded in 2007 which aims at providing support to
the LGBT community. Xiaopei has made several short films on the LGBT issues.




 poster screening 20180418s



11 April 2018
Gendering Cohabitation in China: Perception and Transition of Intimacy

Speaker: Weiwen Lai  

Chair: SONG Jing (Assistant Professor, Gender Studies Programme)

Time: 12.30pm – 2.00pm

Venue: Room 109, Chen Kou Bun Bldg., The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Language: English

Abstract:The rise of non-marital cohabitation is one of marked characteristics of the second demographic transition and the deinstitutionalization of marriage institution in Europe and North America. China also has also witnessed an increasing number of non-martial cohabitation in the post-socialist era. Sociologists and family demographers have long debated whether cohabitation signals the changing nature of intimate relationship and changing meaning of marriage. The pattern of cohabitation union formation and transition in China may differ from those in Western nations because of the distinctive sociocultural context and legal regulation. Another important debate in the scholarship of cohabitation is the relationship between gender equalities and cohabiting relationship: whether cohabitating relationship is more egalitarian than conventional marriage. Following these two debates, this study is investigating cohabitation phenomenon in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong as field site. In addition to participation observation, the study has conducted 20 in-depth semi-structured interviews to address three following research questions: a) how do cohabitation unions come into formation; b) how do cohabitors view their relationship change; c) what is the role of gender in cohabiting relationship. Research findings as well as theoretical implications will be discussed.

Speaker Bio: Weiwen LAI is a M.Phil student in Gender Studies Programme and Department of Sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include intimate relationship. His thesis aims for a deeper and clearer understanding of non-martial cohabitation as a newly prevailing form of intimate relationship relative to marriage. His works are presented several times at professional conferences.






28 Mar 2018
Life and Death of the Mad-Youth: A Literary Perspective

Speaker: Judy Lok Ying WU (MPhil student in Gender Studies & Literary Studies, CUHK)

Chairperson: Eli Park SORENSEN (Assistant Professor, Dept. of English, CUHK)

Language: English

Time: 12:30-14:00

Venue: Room 109, Chen Kuo Bun Bldg., The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Abstract: While society is encountering multiple cases of student suicide, and statistical number of mental patients is continually on the rise, “youthfulness”, “madness”, and “suicide” have become popular, self-explanatory terms in recent years. However, in Foucauldian terms, such perceptions are but a social construct to control mindset and behaviour of individuals. Through the lens of the Foucauldian portrayal of madness and Franco Moretti’s framework of modern youthfulness, the idea of “mad-youth” – the yet-to-be-socialized ‘other’ with infinite possibilities in life – is a fluid social construction without a solid essence. This seminar approaches the concept with a different perspective: rather than oversimplifying the idea “mad-youth” into “teenagers with mental illnesses”, “madness” and “youthfulness” could be both a state of being, and a strategy for an individual to struggle through social constraints and gradually achieve a desirable social position. Foucault claims that madness is a category power creates for the unconforming, unproductive ‘other’; while the ‘other’ is deprived of discursive power, true voices from madness can only be channelled through art and literature. The seminar hence opens a discussion on the notion of “mad-youth” using Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel A Pale View of Hills as a case study, as an attempt to elaborate on how the label of “mad-youth” can be a tool of empowerment for the oppressed individuals, while it remains at the same time tool for power to oppress the unconforming.

Speaker’s Biography: After graduating from the English B.A. programme in The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Judy continue with her academic studies with an MPhil. degree in Gender Studies (Literary Studies). Her current project is a dissertation concerning portrayal of gender, youth, and madness in Anglophone literature from both Western and Asian cultures, including translated works. She has recently presented parts of her project in international conferences hosted by University of Gdańsk and University College London.




20180328 poster s




21 Mar 2018
Food, Masculinity and Sexuality in Ang Lee’s “Father Knows Best” Trilogy

Speaker: Shuk Shun CHAN (MPhil student in Gender Studies and English Literary Studies, CUHK)

Chairperson: Prof. Michael O'SULLIVAN (Associate Professor, Department of English, CUHK)

Language: English

Abstract: Building on Wenying Xu’s book Eating Identities: Reading Food in Asian American Literature (2008) as its fundamental framework, this thesis studies in two parts the contemporary works of three East-Asian diasporic authors, including Ang Lee, Helen Tse and Timothy Mo. The first part looks at three of Ang Lee’s movies, which are often known as the “Father Knows Best” trilogy. These cinematic narratives include Pushing Hands (1992), The Wedding Banquet (1993) and Eat Drink Man Woman (1994). By analyzing his contribution to Asian American cinema, it explores how culinary tropes underscore the intersection of family, gender and sexuality. The second part, consisting of two chapters, extends the thesis’s geographical destination from America to Britain, and thus forms an Asia-to-Britain route by turning to the literary works of Helen Tse and Timothy Mo.
In doing so, I hope to contribute to the ongoing discussion on the relationships of food to gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and diaspora in East-Asian diasporic literature and film. On the basis of Xu’s work, I first provide a comparative medium to look at the Asian American context from an East-Asian diasporic perspective. Moving beyond her limitations, I then also address Asian Anglophone literature—the subset focusing on the locations of China, Hong Kong, and Britain---as an understudied literary tradition.
In the first chapter to be presented at this talk, I argue that in order to subvert patriarchal ideas of power inscribed in gender relations, Lee purposefully emasculates the authoritative Chinese father via family foodways, who is ironically remasculinized (not with the help of the heir as his replica) but only at the mercy of the uncanny heiress.

Speaker's Biography: Nicholas CHAN Shuk Shun is currently reading for an MPhil in Gender Studies and English Literary Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include literature and film, diasporic studies, gender and sexuality, and medical humanities.

Time: 12:30-14:00

Venue: Room 109, Chen Kou Bun Bldg., The Chinese University of Hong Kong




20180321 poster s


14 Mar 2018

A Study on the Relationship between Hegemonic Masculinity and Male Makeup Practice in Hong Kong

Speaker: Tsz Chun CHAN (MPhil student in Gender Studies, CUHK)

Chairperson: Yiu Tung SUEN (Assistant Professor, Gender Studies Programme, CUHK)

Date: 14 Mar 2018(Wed)

Time: 12:30-14:00

Venue: Room 109, Chen Kuo Bun Bldg., The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Register at:

Language: English

Abstract: Makeup has become more and more prevailing among men in developed countries including Hong Kong. It could be related to rising concern on self-presentation, the manifestation of “Metrosexual” lifestyle, or the emphasis of aesthetic labour in the service sector. On the other hand, the general public is still influenced by the patriarchal and heteronormative ideology, in which hegemonic masculinity is valued. Makeup as a signifier of effeminacy violated far from the standard of hegemonic masculinity. West and Zimmerman’s articulation of doing gender could be used to theorizing the current study, since the practice of male makeup is supposed to be unaccountable to the rigid norm of hegemonic masculinity. Yet, the prevalence of male makeup practices may suggest for change in hegemonic masculinity or adherence of other masculinities in certain social fields. Current study will scrutinize Hong Kong men’s makeup practices and the accounts of gender held by the male makeup users in different social fields, so as to locate the possibility of realizing a diversity-inclusive society. In order to engage with the lived experience of male makeup users, research methods employed in current study would be 1) in-depth interviews with the male makeup users; and 2) participant observations in the male makeup classes.


Speaker’s Biography: Tsz Chun CHAN is a Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) M. Phil. student in the Gender Studies, with the academic background of Sociology discipline. He had been participating various qualitative and quantitative studies as student helper and research assistant in the past few years. His research interests included Gendered Behaviors and Masculinity(ies) in Hong Kong. Last year, he conducted a study on the impact of Homosociality on the grouped behaviors among male fitness room users (GYM Buddies). He is currently conducting a research on the relationship between Hegemonic Masculinity and Male Makeup Practice in Hong Kong.


20180314 posterv2


7 Mar 2018

Blurring the public-private boundary? Urbanization paths and gender ideology in post-reform China

20180307wed sSpeaker: Xiangmei LI (Ph.D candidate in Gender Studies Programme and Social Work Department, CUHK)

Chairperson: Jing SONG (Assistant Professor, Gender Studies Programme, CUHK)

Date: 7 March 2018 (Wed)
Time: 12:30-14:00
Venue: Room 109, Chen Kou Bun Bldg., The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Language: English

Abstract: China remained a predominantly agrarian society as late as the 1970s, but it has embarked on a track of exponential economic growth and rapid urbanization since the economic reform. How gender ideology is shaped by urbanization remains less explored in the context where state capitalism is in collaboration with patriarchy, prioritizing economic development as a way to realize “socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics.” Drawing on data from the third Wave Survey on the Social Status of Women in China (SSWC 2010), I examine the impact of urbanization paths on gender-role attitudes for women and men in separate spheres. Two dimensional measures were constructed on the SSWC gender ideology scale using factor analysis. Results from multiple regression models show that urbanization paths, including migration (return migration, temporary migration and permanent migration) as well as in situ urbanization, have transformed individuals’ attitudes towards the entry of women into the workforce; however views remain unchanged pertaining to supports for women’s equality in the public domain and men’s involvement in the private sphere. Findings indicate that urbanization in post-reform China has eroded the public/private distinction in an asymmetric way, which is a reflection of pragmatic egalitarianism that only highlights women’s role as an economic provider for family.

Speaker Biography: LI Xiangmei is a Ph.D candidate in Gender Studies Programme and Social Work Department at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include gender and discourse, gender roles in family and family policy.




28 Feb 2018



The Lexicon of BL Fan Culture: A Chinese Case

Speaker: Kaixuan ZHANG (PhD student in Gender and Cultural Studies, CUHK)
Chair: Professor Peichi CHUNG (Associate Professor, Department of Cultural and Reiligious Studies, CUHK)
Venue: Room 109, Chen Kuo Bun Bldg., The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Language: English


Abstract: Boys’ Love (BL) fan culture is an emerging phenomenon in the Chinese cyberspace, yet it has not been widely examined in the field of semiotics. The present paper attempts to understand the semiotic lexicon of BL fan culture through the case of WiFi fandom on Weibo, the Chinese counterpart of Twitter. Based on methodologies of Paris school semiotics and social semiotics, Section 1 introduces the research approach adopted by the present paper. Section 2 provides 4 examples of fan discourses, and then discusses the formation of typical signs in the lexicon. Section 3 sketches the basic formats of discourses in this multimodal fandom, and their relationship with different forms of typical signs.


7 Feb 2018

Poster of Wednesday seminar 20180207

How Filipina migrant women in Hong Kong understand their same-sex relationships?


Time: 12:30 - 14:00

Venue: Room 109, Chen Kou Bun Building, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Speaker: Zoe Yimin DUAN (MPhil student of Gender Studies, home department: Anthropolgoy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Moderator: Sealing CHENG (Associate Professor, Department of Anthorpology, The Chinese University of Hogn Kong)
Light refreshments will be provided.

Abstract: Every Sunday in the Central, Hong Kong Island, a large number of foreign domestic helpers would present themselves in almost every street corner, eating, drinking, shopping, laughing and dressing up alone or with their friends. It is easy enough to identify that among the huge crowd, there exists a certain number of migrant women featured by their loose t-shirt, baseball hat and jellied short hair. Neither is it hard to find out that these masculinity-marked women often stay with another more feminine migrant women and they constantly show an intimate interaction which include flirting, hugging and lip-kissing sometimes. Upon acknowledging that they are from various nations, should we understand those women as the “non-western ‘lesbian’” (which is the prevailing term used in a western context)? Regarding a seemingly high visibility of them, is there any structural elements that have contributed to this phenomenon? Following this inquiry, how the migration process may interact with the same-sex relationship of those migrant women? How can the seemingly sharp boundary between heterosexual/homosexual ever be challenged? All these questions sound fascinating for anyone who is interested in how sexuality can be interacting actively with our social and cultural surroundings. To narrow down the subject of concern, my research is designed to only focus on the Filipina migrant women in HK. I ask the question “how Filipina migrant women in HK understand their same-sex relationships” in order to explore more possibilities of human sexuality/gendering as well as to advocate for public attention to SOGI-related equality in whatever form it may take.

Please register at:

Free Admission







Zoe Yimin DUAN (MPhil student of Gender

Studies Programme, Home Department: Anthropology