Masculinizing fatherhood: Negotiation of Yang and Jiao among young fathers in China

Siyang Cao, Xiaodong Lin

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Drawing on interviews with two groups of young men from different socio-economic positions in contemporary China, this paper explores how masculine ideals are justified, negotiated and lived out in their narratives of fatherhood and parenting. Reading through the lens of ‘yang’ (raise/feed) and ‘jiao’ (educate/cultivate), the paper addresses how neoliberal ideology in relation to competitiveness and traditional cultural values of parenthood and masculinity are simultaneously imbued in the two groups of young fathers’ aspirations for their children’s upbringing. It reflects the shifting meanings of masculinity through the cultural sentiments of yang and jiao in Chinese parenting, highlighting the cultural connections and material differentiation in making sense of the masculinization of fatherhood in China. In doing so, the paper seeks to make an additional contribution to the existing discussion on masculinity and fatherhood through a refined use of local concepts. Rather than focusing primarily on differences of fatherhood, the paper argues for the need to develop a more nuanced understanding of masculinity and parenting through reflecting on the social, economic and cultural factors in forging the meanings of fatherhood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-947
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
Issue number8
Early online date31 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2019

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  • China
  • aspiration
  • cultural value
  • fatherhood
  • masculinity
  • young men

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