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The Paradox of Gender Reversal: Dance Hosts and the Pursuit of Gender Ideals in Contemporary China

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 November 2019

Juan Chen
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge. Email: juan.o.florence@gmail.com; jc960@cam.ac.uk.
Corresponding

Abstract

This study examines the masculinity of Chinese male migrants who earn their living as “dance hosts.” Dance hosts partner middle-aged women in dance halls, sell experiences of intimacy and engage in ongoing romantic relationships with their female clients. This article seeks to capture an intimate and “up-close” portrait of (heterosexual) male dance hosting, and then further addresses dance hosts’ masculine subjectivity by examining the coping strategies they use to overcome the stigma attached to their profession and to assert their masculinity. Ultimately, the article argues that the process of masculine subjectivity formation in the case of male dance hosts is structured by dominant norms of Chinese masculinity. Although seemingly highly subversive, the relationship between dance hosts and clients in fact fulfils conventional gender ideals and encourages the perpetuation of traditional gender roles in China's patriarchal society. This work seeks to offer an understanding of traditional gender norms (or ideals) through the lens of normative Chinese masculinity within the context of a stigmatized occupation.

摘要

摘要

本文首次对中国舞厅教练这个群体展开了细致的分析研究。舞厅教练的主要工作是在舞厅为女性顾客提供舞蹈教学,陪舞服务,以及在舞厅之外提供更亲密的服务,甚至建立“恋爱关系”。由于职业特性,导致教练不被社会接受,而且与传统文化中强调的男性气概背道而驰。本文通过与教练对话,以及在舞厅中观察他们的工作模式,深入探讨舞厅教练在从事这份职业的过程中,受到的屈辱,以及他们是如何构建一个“内部世界”来帮助自身重塑“边缘化”的男性气概。研究结论显示,这份职业虽然看似颠覆男权,但是服务过程中,教练和女性顾客依然扮演着中国传统文化中男女双方既定的角色,可见男权思想在当代中国社会的影响。

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © SOAS University of London 2019

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