Date of Award


Degree Type

UG Dissertation (Restricted)



First Advisor

Prof. HO Hung Lam, Elizabeth


The aim of this project is to explore female agency through examining female consciousness. I think women’s consciousness is the most important element in deciding what constitutes female oppression. One of the many kinds of female oppression is sex, according to radical feminist Andrea Dworkin (1946-2005) (Dworkin, 1987:159) who spent her career censoring pornography and promoting female rights (, Andrea Dworkin, But sex itself is not enough to constitute oppression, I argue, but one's conscious reluctance to sex. Although there are women exploited and hurt, there are women who are open and happy to engage in sexual intercourse, or use sex as mediums to express themselves, sex to them is not an oppression, but a release away from social conformation.

The idea against sex was promoted by radical feminists to fight against pornography in the Golden Age of Porno (1969-1984) (Paasonen and Saarenmaa, 23). The sex culture that Andrea Dworkin brought to the West since the 1970s is more or less similar to the culture I grew up with. I was brought in a strict Chinese-value Hong Kong family, in which sex is a taboo subject; I was taught not to socialize with bous because "they did not play nice". I was also scripted with very feminine gender foms but it was not how I perceived the world. The world I was living in, I am living in, is a world that embraces many kinds of sex and love forms. I read a book called 十六歳だったー私の援助交際記(2007) when I was 16 and I understood the sexual struggle of a Japanese prostitute girl same age as me. I re-read it before I decided on which topic to focus on for this project. In the very end of the book, the protagonist thinks no one really cares about what she thinks, but condemns her behavior as immoral and wrong. The power she gains from prostituting herself, however, is worthless to the society she lives in. And I think this is the most interesting thing about popular culture 一 it expresses the most contemporary world view that no other genres can. It explores the sexual struggles, alternatives, diversity and variations that ^ traditional norms deny. Out of all the sexual complications, I was most interested in the dominant and submissive relationships the popular culture is fermenting now so I decided to focus on this area with the help of gender and feminism theory.

Recommended Citation

Yau, H. L. W. (2017). Exploring Female Agency and Female Consciousness in Popular Culture (UG dissertation, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from