British Journal of Chinese Studies

dragon mural beijing 2018 copyright Gerda Wielander
Vol 13 No 1 (2023)
Articles

Stay-at-home Fathers in Contemporary Chinese TV Dramas

Fei Huang
University of Westminster
Published January 28, 2023
How to Cite
Huang, F. (2023). Stay-at-home Fathers in Contemporary Chinese TV Dramas. British Journal of Chinese Studies, 13(1), 1-21. https://doi.org/10.51661/bjocs.v13i1.209

Abstract

Stay-at-home fathers (SAHFs), as an emergent gendered identity, have recently featured in several family TV dramas in China. This article investigates the discourse of masculinity embodied by SAHFs in TV dramas, to provide a new perspective to academic debates about the cultural production of gender and hierarchy in contemporary China. In particular, it examines representations of SAHFs and their familial relationships in three popular TV programmes—Marriage Battle (Hunyin baoweizhan 婚姻保卫战, 2010), A Little Reunion (Xiao huanxi 小欢喜, 2019), and Super Dad and Super Kids (Xiong ba xiong haizi 熊爸熊孩子, 2017). Through the analysis of these three series, I identify a paradox in the televisual representations of SAHFs, that while the male characters all seemingly embody a new model of familial masculinity, namely a caring and sensitive figure, they still cling to patriarchal ideologies when negotiating family matters. My discussion of the paradoxical representations of SAHFs in the series offers an illustration of how patriarchal ideologies are sustained despite the ongoing renegotiation of gender roles within the Chinese family. 

Keywords
  • stay-at-home fathers (SAHFs),
  • family TV dramas,
  • familial masculinity,
  • patriarchal ideologies,
  • paradoxical representations,
  • gender roles
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