Pink and yellow ribbons : iconographies of resistance and the construction of sexual and gender identity in dating apps

Streaming Media


Centre for Cultural Research and Development, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Centre for Inter-Asian Research, Ahmedabad University, India

Event Title

Digital Intimacy: Young Women and Social Transformation in Asia

Document Type





8:30 p.m.


Online Session via Zoom


Cao discusses how women and gay men use iconographies of resistance in how they construct their sexual identities on dating apps. Recently, political ideologies and partisan politics have become embedded in how people construct their identities in search of romance, intimacy, and sex. This is especially pronounced among the members of the political opposition. In the Philippines, it is the pink ribbon, the campaign emblem of Vice President Leni Robredo, the opposition figurehead against President Rodrigo Duterte’s macho public image and against the former Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., the son and namesake of the late dictator Marcos Sr. In Hong Kong, the yellow ribbon became the symbol of the political opposition that represent pro-democracy, and to some extent, anti-Mainland Chinese sentiments. This talk will discuss how dating app users incorporate their political stance in the construction of sexual identities among women and gay men with Manila and Hong Kong as case studies. It will compare the experiences and rationale of women and gay men in Manila and Hong Kong behind their inclusion of their politics in their construction of gender and sexual identity. Traditionally situated within the public sphere, the political discourse is increasingly becoming invasive and has manifested within the traditionally private realms of sexual, romantic, and intimate desires. Not only has the personal become political, but the political has become personal as well. This talk aims to shed light on the construction of political resistance in the realm of the intimate desires and what it means to the discourse of media, identity, and politics.



Additional Information


Ruepert Jiel Dionisio Cao is a Filipino Ph. D. Candidate at the School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University, and a recipient of the Hong Kong Ph. D. Fellowship Scheme. His current research investigates how digital media enables and constrains the production and consumption of sexually explicit media in Asia. His published works are some of the first systematic studies on sexually explicit media production and consumption among gay men in the Philippines. Before coming to Hong Kong, Cao initially worked as a lecturer and researcher in Manila, working on digital media and expressions of dissent, as well as media literacy in depressed areas.

Recommended Citation

Cao, R. J. D. (2022, June 22). Pink and yellow ribbons: Iconographies of resistance and the construction of sexual and gender identity in dating apps [Video podcast]. Retrieved from https://commons.ln.edu.hk/videos/954