Gender and heterosexuality in East Asia

Western concepts and Asian lives

Authored by: Stevi Jackson

Routledge Handbook of East Asian Gender Studies

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138959897
eBook ISBN: 9781315660523
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter offers an analysis of the interconnections between gender and heterosexuality across East Asia. In so doing, western narratives of the links between modernity, intimacy and gender are called into question. The central argument is that heterosexuality, while often unnamed and taken for granted, is central to the perpetuation of gender division and inequality in East Asia, as elsewhere. Yet, heterosexuality is not everywhere the same. Analysing how heterosexuality and gender interact within four dimensions of the social – structural/institutional, practices/interaction, meaning and subjectivity – reveals the varied ways in which heteronormativity and gender inequality are sustained in different East Asian contexts.

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