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The Cosmopolitan DreamTransnational Chinese Masculinities in a Global Age$
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Derek Hird and Geng Song

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455850

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455850.001.0001

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Distant Husbands, Masculine Helpers

Distant Husbands, Masculine Helpers

Men, Masculinity, and Sexuality in the Family Strategy of Flexible Citizenship

Chapter:
(p.200) 11 Distant Husbands, Masculine Helpers
Source:
The Cosmopolitan Dream
Author(s):

Tingyu Kang

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888455850.003.0012

Flexible citizenship is an increasingly popular transnational arrangement among middle to upper class Chinese families. The residential arrangements associated with this family strategy often involve some family members (usually the wives and children) going abroad and other members (usually the husbands) primarily living in the origin country. This article examines the production of masculinity in this context. Adopting participant observation and interviews, this study examines families participating in birth tourism in Los Angeles, United States, one of the most prominent forms of the Chinese family strategy of flexible citizenship. The findings illustrate the ways in which masculinities of Chinese men in this context are largely classed and constantly caught in tension. One the one hand, the husbands living in China express a constant need to reassure their dominant position over their wives and the male domestic helpers in the US. On the other hand, the Chinese male helpers in LA find themselves often having to renegotiate their own masculinity which is threatened by the male employers’ assertion of power and by the fact that domestic work involves care and emotional labour which is largely feminized.

Keywords:   flexible citizenship, birth tourism, masculinities, class, transnational families

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