Men's Experiences in Cross-Boundary Marriage in Hong Kong: An Intersectional Analysis


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

View graph of relations



Awarding Institution
Award date10 Jul 2019


The number of Hong Kong men and mainland women engaged in ‘cross-boundary marriage’ has increased in recent years. However, cross-boundary marriage has been regarded as problematic and those people who are engaged in such a setup are stigmatised, specifically the husbands, who are perceived as funglau, abusers or old men with strong sexual desire. The social construction of cross-boundary marriage confers different meanings to men and their marriage experiences. The purpose of this study is to explore how Hong Kong men make sense of their cross-boundary marriage experiences and give them a voice to shape the debates on this issue. The concept of intersectionality is adopted to understand the interplay amongst different social domains, such as gender, class and ethnicity, in constructing the cross-boundary marriage experiences of men. The narrative inquiry method is adopted to collect information from the men regarding their marriage experiences. This study interviews seven men from middle- and low-income families who have married mainland brides and one mainland man who is married to a Hong Kong woman.

The findings reveal that hegemonic masculinity significantly influences the mate selection criteria, marriage expectations, husband-father roles and power relations of men in cross-boundary marriages. The interplay amongst gender, class and ethnicity has also influenced the cross-boundary marriage experiences of men and highlighted the myths on family reunions and the discourses on hegemonic masculinity, ‘strong men, weak women’, ‘commodified’ marriage, young-old marriage and discrimination. This study also offers some useful advice for the construction of a social policy and for the provision of social services to men and their families.