Still ‘breadwinners’ and ‘providers’: Singaporean husbands, money and masculinity in transnational marriages

Yi'En Cheng*, Brenda S.A. Yeoh, Juan Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


As international marriages continue to be on the rise around the world, and in East and Southeast Asia in particular, there is an increasing need for more focused studies on the phenomenon. While the extant literature has paid attention to the complex dynamics of marital intimacies through a ‘gender-sensitive’ lens, the experiences of men are still largely under-examined. This article considers the gendered and classed subjectivities of Singaporean husbands who have married Vietnamese wives and focuses on ‘money’ as a key vehicle through which the men are able to construct masculinities in the spaces of transnational marriage and family. We argue that these non-migrant men engage with transnational processes and practices strategically in order to reclaim respectable and honourable masculine status. In doing so, they dislodge themselves from the idiom of ‘failed masculinity’ commonly ascribed to men who seek foreign spouses, but at the same time reproduce dominant models of masculinity predicated on ‘breadwinning’ and ‘providing’. This article draws on the narratives of 20 Singaporean Chinese men from a range of social backgrounds to demonstrate the endurance of money and economic potency in the performance of masculinities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-883
Number of pages17
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Issue number6
Early online date29 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • gender
  • masculinities
  • money
  • Singapore
  • transnational marriage


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