Erotic Justice and Self-Realisation: The New Politics of Chinese Women

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 6:00 PM
Room: F206
Oral Presentation
Petula Sik-ying HO , Social Work & Social Administration, HKU, HK, China
This paper addresses Chinese women’s self conceptions through developing the concept of erotic justice to focus on access to life chances and opportunities for sexual expression, erotic exploration and realisation.

The erotic is conceptualized as more ambiguous, fluid, and diffused than sex-oriented sexuality in that as a process it does not focus on one part of the body or one object. It is about connection between currents inside and the world spinning outside, but not limited to the interpersonal (Ho & Tsang, 2013).

In its yearnings and anticipations, however, eros meets the “political economy of life chances” which are not equal. Indeed, people in their movements, emotions, and desires are themselves made in terms of the discourses and unequal differences, of the past, present and future political economy (Foucault 1980; Bourdieu 2001). In short, erotic explorations in everyday life occur within the fields of power where they play a game with others who strategize with equal self-interest, but often with more legitimacy (Bourdieu 2001).

In-depth case studies of online narratives of Chinese women have suggested ways in which these women create new identities for themselves through a politics of iconogenesis using new social media (Ho, 2006, 2011, 2013). We examined how they articulate the kinds of injustices they face in love, marriages, family and society due to their gender, age, social class, ethnicity, sexual preferences and other social variables. We also identified the strategies that they used to rectify these injustices including becoming everyday icons through their practices of self online and offline.

In creating these new identities, they envisage and locate themselves within new futures in which gender and sexual justice become possible. Their self narration includes a reflexive construction of self where the past is reshaped to fit the present and the imagined future.