THE news that Madonna will be back on Hongkong's big screen next week in Body of Evidence, her latest film, does not matter in the least to most of us. The local premiere of the film is apparently staple Madonna fare - the acting is wooden and the graphic sex has gone into overload. Critics in New York laughed it off the screen last week, and in doing so, immediately miffed the sex princess into semi-seclusion. Instead of keeping to her schedule of interviewing blitzkrieg, she gave a single 45-minute audience, where she told the world (again) that she was not just tough but vulnerable too. Oh ho-hum. Presumably, the first Mrs Sean Penn has become so ensconced in her star tower that she imagines that she can do what she pleases, when she feels like it and worry about the reaction later. And, when the general public does react - by generally accepting that she is very smart to sell sex but does not mean she has to be revered - she gets hurt. She argues that she is fighting the ultimate battle for her sex - to be able to do as she pleases when it comes to sex, as men now do as they please - on screen, at an interview, or in a performance. Pushing back the barriers she calls it, and making millions from the manipulations. It all sounds so liberated. That's what the women's movement is for. Not imitating male repressive behaviour but being in control of one's own life, as a female and as a worker. Somehow though, the message has got mixed up along the way. ''Independent behaviour'' has been turned into the sexually seedy role-playing of Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct) and the sexually pornographic gyrations of Madonna in Body of Evidence. Whereas stars such as Jane Fonda (before she boosted her breasts with silicone) and Meryl Streep have fought the studios for equal pay and roles that realistically reflect the lives of modern women, Stone and Madonna, it can be argued, have done just theopposite. THEY are now playing roles that are an extension of the casting couch syndrome of the 60s - except now the moviegoer can choose to share the experience. We now have seen every part of the anatomy of the two women that can be lawfully revealed on the big screen. Off screen, maybe they are different but they don't help themselves. Miss Stone looks sensational but she readily admits that until she was prepared to accept full frontal nudity on the screen, her career was stuck in B grade mode. Madonna did not have to suffer the same fate, yet she seems unable to resist narcissistic displays of gratification for her paying public. One wonders why this woman, who has made millions from her records and her extroverted performances around the world, only finds a script attractive if she plays a morally corrupt woman who has the opportunity to engage in graphic fellatio and reciprocal cunnilingus with her on-screen co-stars. This can't help but degrade Madonna's image, even if she is laughing all the way to the bank. Feminism is about equal treatment before the law, and equal pay for a job done. It should not be confused with something else - ie very smart women, engaged inthe same exploitative behaviour as the men they used to criticise. Think about it like this. Former British Cabinet Minister David Mellor might have been sad, desperate, deluded, maybe even infatuated when he engaged in his liaison with fading actress Antonia de Sanchez, while still married. The affair has now ended, and Mr Mellor has returned to the back benches. When she negotiated the right price, she revealed the tawdry details of the association, dictating the souped-up story from the comfort of a resort in France. Never once do we assume, did she think of the effect this might have on Mrs Mellor, nor on the children of the humiliated politician. Another tawdry example of the same grasping mentality of these women was the release of a biography by a former mistress of the Prince of Wales' ex-polo manager Major Ronnie Ferguson. Lesley Player revealed that the major's daughter, Sarah Ferguson, the estranged Duchess of York, had not only accepted her married father's affair with Ms Player but arranged for her to travel with him during an overseas visit. According to reports Ms Player chose to reveal her experiences to reap optimum benefit. The scandal of the separation of the Princess and Prince of Wales had died down, and the market was ripe for another, albeit lesser, scandal. Too bad that the second Mrs Ferguson may have been humiliated worldwide by the revelations, or that Fergie, and her two children, Eugenie and Beatrice, must have suffered an irrevocable setback in their struggle to restore their images with the Britishpublic. In Hongkong, repetitious examples of similar vengeful, jealous or just plain greedy behaviour abound when it comes to sex, partnerships and marriages. It is a common argument among single expatriate women that they are not regarded as premium dating material simply because of their Caucasian genes. All those simpering Asian women, ''who are just as calculating behind those demure smiles'', they say, are taking our men. Quite aside from the said preferences of the men in Asia, it seems very bad form to explain a person's lack of beau on the basis of racist stereotypes. Conversely, women who are Asian, if they are to be fair to their male partners, or female partners, forthat matter, must strike a balance in their relationships between financial dependence and decent behaviour. So, where then, does the modern woman sit when it comes to the code of behaving badly, or for that matter well? Should we be callous like a lot of the boys, as Madonna suggests in her tough-girl mode, and just use people for sex, money or power because we now have the legal and financial capacity to do it. Or should we be different and better. The answer is obvious. How to manage it without reverting to the sugary stereotyped models properly vanquished during the last quarter century of the women's movement, is the challenge for the next generation.