Men who ‘Marry Out’: unsettling masculinity, kinship, and nation through migration across the Taiwan Strait
Family reunification has become a widely recognized means to move across borders in the contemporary world. As a migration strategy, family reunification redefines the relationship of kinship to nation, diversifying the ‘national family’ and its gendered role expectations. This article uses cross-border marriages between Chinese and Taiwanese to interrogate how immigration affects the experiences of men who migrate through or in conjunction with marriage, integrating scales of family, citizenship, and nation in an analysis of migrant masculinity. Migrant husbands describe their disempowerment as male providers and citizens through the patrilineal and patrilocal kinship language of having ‘married out.’ The article examines the salience of this kinship model for immigrant husbands seeking to redefine their relationship to patrilineal gender privileges and secure citizenship status. How do men who migrate through marriage negotiate gendered kinship principles that may work to their benefit in their home country but undermine their status once they migrate? How does the experience of migrating as a kindependent threaten men’s self-image as family providers? By investigating these challenges to hegemonic masculinity, the article asks how migration reconfigures the gendered foundations of family formation by undermining kinshipbased models of normative masculinity and creating a gender crisis for some migrant husbands.