Abstract

In the growing literature on marriage migration in Asia, there has been little research on Asian men who are married to foreign-born women. Through in-depth interviews with thirty-five rural South Korean husbands, this article examines how the men construct their masculine identity in the context of international marriage. Using the concept of compensatory masculinity, this article shows how these subaltern men, who have been literally and symbolically rejected by South Korean women—due to regional disadvantages and/or low socioeconomic status—enact various aspects of local hegemonic masculinity. First, the article highlights the South Korean husbands’ compensatory masculinity in respect to their decisions regarding international marriage and their emphasis on heterosexual desirability and virility. Then, it offers a comparative analysis of how the two groups of South Korean husbands discursively construct their masculine identity with two different themes—as Filipinas’ providers and saviors and with Japanese wives’ deference. This study illustrates how global forces and hierarchies reconfigured South Korean husbands’ locally specific ways of doing masculinity, and how gender strategies intersect with socioeconomic status, regional identity, and, more specifically, wives’ nationality.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1665
Print ISSN
0731-1613
Pages
pp. 291-325
Launched on MUSE
2014-12-18
Open Access
No
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