Singleness, Marriage, and the Construction of Heterosexual Masculinities: Australian Men Teaching English in Japan

UTSePress, Sydney
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Portal Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, 2013, 10 (1), pp. 1 - 21
Issue Date:
Filename Description Size
Thumbnail2012002174OK.pdfPublished Version211.86 kB
Adobe PDF
Full metadata record
This article reports on a study of Australian men and their accounts of living and working in Japan as English language teachers. In this site, recent research has explored Japanese discourses of desire for the West, Western men, and English language learning. These patterns of desire have afforded white Western men a privileged personal and professional status in Japan, and enabled access to employment opportunities as teachers of English language. At the same time, white Western men working as English language teachers face the challenge of negotiating competing discourses that threaten their social status. In particular, their employment in a lowly-regarded profession and a reputation for sexual promiscuity potentially position Western male language teachers as the âwhite trashâ of Asia. My analysis of interview data focuses on the ways in which the men negotiate these discourses, and construct ârespectableâ Western heterosexual masculinities by mobilising a binary distinction between singleness and marriage. Marriage to a Japanese spouse is presented as a bulwark against alignment with problematic discourses that threaten the status of white masculinity: it is associated with fidelity and maturity, and with integration into Japanese social, linguistic and professional communities. However, the articulation of marital status also reinforces a marginalised position for teachers who do not conform to heteronormative expectations.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: