Transgression as a Postfeminist Masquerade: The Representation of Female Perpetrators in Hong Kong Crime Films

Tingting Hu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing on McRobbie’s (2009) notion of the “postfeminist masquerade”, this article examines the representation of the female perpetrators in the award-winning Hong Kong crime films The Stool Pigeon (Xian Ren, 2010) and Accident (Yi Wai, 2009). It investigates the cinematic representation of female figures in relation to gender issues by articulating a Western postfeminist critique of Chinese sociocultural discourses. Through an in-depth narrative analysis of the female perpetrators in these films, the article demonstrates how female-perpetrated violence is depicted as a form to construct women’s images under the dual umbrellas of postfeminism and Chinese traditional values. Furthermore, the article seeks to show how Hong Kong crime films use the postfeminist masquerade as a cultural strategy to reproduce intelligent and strong female characters to disguise their championing of masculine gender norms. In this way, the article argues that the representation of (violent) female transgression is strategically adopted as a postfeminist masquerade in order to present the ostensible impression of female empowerment. However, the graphic depiction of female victimisation, the abbreviated depiction of female violence, and female perpetrators’ problematic desires and inevitable punishment reinforce traditional gender hierarchies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)710-727
Number of pages18
JournalAsian Studies Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • female perpetrator
  • female violence
  • Hong Kong crime films
  • Postfeminist masquerade


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