Hero or scholar : the ideal Singaporean Chinese man in dating relationships
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This paper examines contradictions faced by young Singaporean Chinese men in dating relationships today, in negotiations of their masculinities. With reference to ‘Chinese masculinity’ (Kam 2002), I explore these men’s notions of ‘masculinity’. Through interviews conducted, I identify attributes that they associate with being ‘masculine’, as well as the frames of references from which they attain these ideals. I conclude that these men hold 3 ‘back-stage’ (Goffman 1959) gender ideologies: traditional, egalitarian, and transitional. With their ‘front-stage’ performances different from these ‘back-stage’ ones, most respondents experience discrepancy strain. While this paper confirms current literature on reflexivity of masculinities with femininities, one aspect that have resulted in these men’s different ‘front-stage’ and ‘back-stage’ behaviors, I also identify economic realities as another cause. Lastly, I highlight gender strategies employed by these men to alleviate these tensions. This way, they can preserve manhood ideals, while managing pressures from their partners and economic realities.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University