Dominant, passive, and recessive feminism: a postfeminist reading of Taiwanese cinema

Tingting Hu, Tianru Guan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper aims to add to the underrepresented scholarship on feminist critique in Taiwanese cinema by investigating the ways in which female power has been represented in the female-centred Taiwanese film, The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful (BCB). Through a postfeminist reading, this study attempts to challenge the dichotomy of Asian versus Western values in order to engage Taiwanese films into the global debate of feminism. By revealing the problematization of representations of the seemingly powerful female characters in BCB produced by male filmmakers, we unveil the hidden contradiction of feminism and anti-feminism in order to gain a profound understanding of women’s power relations and the socio-cultural perception of them in the Taiwanese context. We categorise the three leading female characters into significations of “dominant feminism”, “passive feminism”, and “recessive feminism”, and show how their power is exercised through scheming, seduc- tion and detainment, respectively. Therefore, we argue that these seemingly powerful female images in BCB are all represented as stigmatic which attempts to equalize female power to negativity thereby essentially disavowing feminism.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Taiwanese cinema
  • feminism
  • postfeminism
  • gender
  • women


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