Porn star in strange case of the public polic­ing of EasyCards

The China Post - - COMMENTARY -

This is a para­dox­i­cal mo­ment for sex in Taipei. In a city where women pose half-clothed to sell cars at shows and be­tel nuts on the street, the Taipei EasyCard Corp. ( ) was able to in­flame the public by print­ing new lim­ited-edi­tion smart­card sleeves fea­tur­ing Yui Hatano, a Ja­panese ac­tress in the adult film in­dus­try.

The Hatano sleeves, sold in a set of two, took heat on Wed­nes­day from ne­ti­zens who said one had been lifted off the front cover of one of Hatano’s porno­graphic ti­tles.

Lin Pei-jung ( ), a pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Taipei’s depart­ment of early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion, said that the use of Hatano’s im­age on the public transit cards per­pet­u­ates the ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion of women. Pun­dits and par­ents alike have crit­i­cized Taipei EasyCard Corp., say­ing a porn ac­tress should not be the face of public transit.

Through a spokes­woman in Taipei, Hatano re­sponded to the ob­jec­tions to her ap­pear­ance on the cards yesterday.

“When I learned of this job op­por­tu­nity, I just thought that I could have the op­por­tu­nity to re­pay my Tai­wanese friends. I looked for­ward to it and felt very happy at the same time.

“I can truly un­der­stand that per­haps be­cause my pro­fes­sion in Ja­pan is act­ing in the adult film in­dus­try, my par­tic­i­pa­tion has cre­ated the op­po­site of my in­tended ef­fect. Due to my ca­reer as a porno­graphic ac­tress, there are friends who are op­posed to my par­tic­i­pa­tion.”

Porno­graphic ac­tresses ob­vi­ously do ex­ist as whole and multi-faceted peo­ple out­side of their film work, but here Hatano does not re­ally make a con­vinc­ing claim that she is ap­pear­ing on the card as a pri­vate per­son re­pay­ing friends in Tai­wan. Her ap­pear­ance on the EasyCard can’t be sep­a­rated from her ca­reer at all, be­cause it is that same ca­reer that qual­i­fied her for the job with staffers at Taipei EasyCard.

But Hatano’s state­ment, if disin­gen­u­ous, does raise the ques­tion of just why it is so­cially un­ac­cept­able for her to ap­pear on the card even in a pro­fes­sional ca­pac­ity.

Over the years, Taipei EasyCard Corp. has re­leased hun­dreds of col­lectible sleeves and cards and the cri­te­ria for de­ter­min­ing who ap­pears on them seem flex­i­ble.

Some EasyCards sub­jects have been fig­ures in prom­i­nent, re­spectable and spokesman-wor­thy po­si­tions, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou and then-Vice Pres­i­dent Vin­cent Siew in 2008. But most of them are re­ally not. Over the years, the com­pany has is­sued cards with themes in­clud­ing Line friends, Astroboy, pup­pets of the Pili Pup­pet Theater, fa­mous and not-so-fa­mous celebri­ties, niche video-game char­ac­ters and sev­eral of the Taipei Zoo koala bears, as ef­forts to ap­peal to spe­cific seg­ments of the Taipei Metro rid­er­ship.

Strictly speak­ing, the con­tent of Hatano’s im­ages does not vi­o­late com­pany prece­dent. One of the two is a por­trait of the ac­tress’ face. The sec­ond, more con­tro­ver­sial photo, shows slight cleav­age through a clothed up­per body.

It isn’t some­thing Taipei EasyCard Corp. — and Taipei so­ci­ety at large — hasn’t seen be­fore. In 2009, the gov­ern­ment­man­aged com­pany re­leased 4,000 cards star­ring Hong Kong singer-ac­tor Aaron Kwok ( ) shirt­less. In 2010, it of­fered 3,500 cards of the three singers in the girl band S.H.E nes­tled to­gether, bare arms touch­ing.

The rich irony of the public re­ac­tion to Hatano’s EasyCard de­but is that there were no re­ac­tions to sim­i­lar im­ages on the cards be­fore. This time, the re­sponse had been prompted nearly en­tirely by her up-front iden­ti­fi­ca­tion as an adult-film ac­tress. With­out the la­bel, the overt ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion of women to sell a prod­uct could have moved past qui­etly and un­rec­og­nized, as it has in the past.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.