Saving the "(Hong) Kong Girl" in social media discourse

Munkyung, Agnes KANG, Katherine CHEN

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsConference Paper (other)Researchpeer-review


The "(Hong) Kong Girl", as an other-attributed stereotype of some Hong Kong women, has been circulating in the media since the mid-2000s. Kong Girl can be seen as a form of resistance to
stereotypical gender norms that require women to be silent and submissive, but in other ways, this figure also reinforces normative femininity by her attention to physical attractiveness and the desire to marry a good provider. Using data from online discussion forums, the authors have previously analyzed the discursive construction of the stereotype as fuelled by anxieties in the local heterosexual marketplace, specifically the increase in cross-border marriages between Hong
Kong men and Mainland Chinese women (Kang and Chen 2014). Recently, however, media and social media have circulated more positive representations of the Kong Girl, raising questions as to whether the Kong Girl stereotype is undergoing an ideological shift in meaning. In this paper, we examine the relationship between gender stereotype and the macro social context to show how gender ideologies circulate alongside socioeconomic constraints and political economies. The power to represent and also oppress groups of women, what Holborow (2012) calls 'hegemonising articulation' (31), can be traced to the banal process of stereotype formation, where such stereotypes are fueled not only by ideologies of social structures that implicate gender, class, and society, but by the social relations created through discourses about social structures. Given this, we consider whether the initial rise of the "Kong Girl" stereotype provided a convenient target of neoliberal critique against women who embrace individualism, consumerism, class mobility, and a free (heterosexual) market and what may have influenced a change in the interpretation of Kong Girls in more recent years.


ConferenceThe Sociolinguistics of Globalization: (De)centring and (de)standardization
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
OtherThe University of Hong Kong
Internet address


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