A recent controversy over an ad campaign has sparked debate about the objectification of women in Hong Kong culture, writes Charley Lanyon
….But as much as feminist activist Luk Kit-ling welcomes the debate, she laments that it has been a long time coming.
“I think the situation hasn’t got better in the past 30 years," says Luk, a lecturer on gender issues at Hong Kong Community College and chairwoman of the Association for the Advancement of Feminism.
“Younger women have less of a choice in their jobs because of the economic situation. Sometimes there is exploitation, normally targeted to their gender and their body, and all of this is supported by the media. Mass media is quite a big sector promoting the objectification of women."
Beyond any correlation between the objectification of women and men’s behaviour, Luk argues that the point is some businesses are “using people’s bodies as capital and using the body to sell products and make money".
She adds: “I think that kind of organisation should have a social responsibility and sensitivity towards gender."
That means for restaurants such as Hooters, “they can promote sexy women as their waitresses, but at the same time they should be responsible for educating their customers," Luk says. “It’s important for employers to take up their responsibility of ensuring that their environment is free from sexual harassment."