The absence of fan activism in the queer fandom of Ho Denise Wan See (HOCC) in Hong Kong

Cheuk Yin Li

Abstract


The queer fandom of female Hong Kong pop singer Ho Denise Wan See (HOCC) from 2009 to mid-2011 is dealt with through the qualitative methodology of in-depth interviews and media ethnography. HOCC, an idiosyncratic cultural producer who dabbles in the politics of ambiguity, creates texts that invite queer interpretations from fans and from queer activists in Hong Kong. Via analyses informed by both queer studies and audience studies, the various creative practices of fans in reshaping their sexual identities via popular culture are explored. These practices are highly political and empowering to a queer audience. However, the intensive rewriting of meanings as queer symbolic creativity and tactics in cultural politics fail to transform into formal institutional politics and more confrontational queer activism. This is so for several reasons. Internally, the hierarchical structure of fan organization, fan proximity to the culture industry, and the top-down encouragement of social charity as the only channel of activism have all reduced the possibility of transforming fans' queer sensibilities into institutional queer politics. Furthermore, Hong Kong, under the influence of three major discourses that seek to discipline and regulate sexualities—traditional Chinese ethics, the British colonial legacy, and the postcolonial revival of rightist Christianity—has a long social history of heterosexist discrimination and a preference for normalizing when striving for queer citizenship. This empirical study examines relations between cultural specificity and fan agency in a non-Western context.

Keywords


East Asia; Identity; Popular culture; Popular music

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