“Reconsidering masculinities and femininities in the Southeast Asian context” – New trans-Asia seminar series, Studying Sex and Sexualities: Exploring Trans-Asian Approaches

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Date(s) - 11/03/2016
12:30 pm - 3:00 pm

ACJC Seminar rooms, Building H, 8th floor (H8.06)


<Monash Asia Institute Trans-Asia as method Seminar Series>

Studying Sex and Sexualities: Exploring Trans-Asian Approaches

 “Reconsidering masculinities and femininities in the Southeast Asian context


Time & Date: 12:30-15:00, 11 March 2016 (Fri)

Venue: Monash University, Caulfield campus, Building H, 8th floor (H8.06)

Light lunch will be provided.

Please click here to RSVP: 


This seminar series brings together various scholars from different disciplines to generate discussions on studying issues of sex and sexualities from a trans-Asian perspective. Globalisation has enabled the increasing visibility of trans-border gender and LGBT issues in Asia such as human trafficking, vulnerability to armed conflicts and disasters, violence against women and LGBTs, gender/sexuality workplace inequalities and same-sex marriage. While these issues are cross-cutting and shaped by a range of political, economic and socio-cultural factors, the roundtable focuses on addressing how the changing landscape of Asia affects sex and sexualities as a result of greater flows of people, finances and ideas. In particular, it seeks to explore the commonalities and differences across different Asian contexts to develop innovative theoretical understanding on the following key themes from Asian experiences: Are there distinct or Asia-specific concerns and problems with sex and sexualities? How might a comparative lens draw out trans-Asian challenges and solutions relating to sex and sexualities? What is the significance of undertaking interdisciplinary approaches for understanding current issues on sex and sexualities in Asia? By speaking to these questions, the roundtable offers fruitful discussions on critical gender and LGBT research in Asia collaboratively and transnationally.

The inaugural roundtable will specifically consider how ideas of masculinities and femininities distinct to the Southeast Asian context emanate from and are mediated by local, national and global experiences. It seeks to situate how these gendered identities and discourses foreground gender inequalities in terms of political and economic participation in the region.

Each speaker is given fifteen to twenty minutes to discuss the key themes of the roundtable drawing on their research projects, methodologies and disciplinary backgrounds. Each speaker will also respond to other speakers’ project from a trans-Asian perspective. The remainder of the time will be allocated for questions and comments from the audience.

Moderator: Maria Tanyag (Politics and International Relations, Monash University)



Dr Angela Cruz (Business and Marketing, Monash University)

Shifting Masculinities: The Remasculation Strategies of Acculturating Consumers                        


Despite a recent wave of scholarly interest on masculinities and the marketplace (Bettany et al. 2010; Holt and Thompson 2004; Moisio, Arnould, and Gentry 2013), there has been limited attention on how the marketplace-enabled construction of masculinities intersects with the dynamics of transnational mobility. While consumer acculturation theorists have contributed important insights regarding the intersections between gender and mobility, studies in this area have been predominantly drawn on the perspectives of female migrants and second generation migrants. Furthermore, theorists in the broader social sciences have tended to focus on the experiences of low capital migrant men (Datta et al. 2009; George 2005), thereby privileging the narrative of migrant emasculation. Dr Angela Cruz will discuss strategies of remasculation as enacted by skilled Southeast Asian migrant men living in New Zealand. These remasculation strategies represent a re-inscription and revision of pre-migration gender regimes.



Dr Angela Cruz is a Lecturer in Marketing at Monash University (Caulfield, Melbourne). Angela’s research is focused on theories of consumption, marketing communication, and branding at the boundaries of markets – referring to liminal market spaces where complexities, ambivalences, and transformations abound. This encompasses research on consumer acculturation theory (the boundary between migrancy and localisation), research on posthumanism and technology consumption (the boundary between humans and machines), and research on luxury branding and food consumption within multicultural marketplaces (the boundary between East and West). Angela’s articles have appeared in the European Journal of MarketingInternational Marketing ReviewQualitative Market Research, and North American Advances in Consumer Research. Angela frequently draws on cross-disciplinary, critical, and poststructuralist modes of theorizing in line with the consumer culture theory (CCT) paradigm. 


Dr Gillian Fletcher (Sociology, La Trobe University)

‘The lesbian sex worker dressed like a girl so she was a girl, not a lesbian’: A South East Asian case study of gender and sexuality confusions and contradictions


In this presentation, Dr Gillian Fletcher will present findings from a research project that sought to explore understandings of gender, sexuality, and the intersections between the two within two non-governmental organisations in a SE Asian country.



Gillian describes herself as ‘undisciplined’ in that her path to academia has crossed the worlds of journalism, photography, Voluntary Services Overseas volunteer, aid worker, international consultant and ‘troublemaker’ (the unofficial title she has been given by long-time colleagues in Myanmar). She is fascinated by meaning-making and the processes by which we create and maintain social hierarchies, particularly in relation to gender and sexuality. She is currently working on issues of intersectionality and power within an international development setting. Gillian is Senior Reviews Editor for Culture, Health and Sexuality journal.


Associate Prof. Andrea Whittaker (Anthropology, Monash University)

Aren’t you a man?:  Thai men’s experiences of infertility and assisted reproduction



Investigation of men’s experiences of assisted reproduction reveals much about contemporary Thai understandings of masculinity and sexuality. For Thai heterosexual men failure to produce a child can be highly discrediting in a cultural context where fatherhood has traditionally been associated with manhood, and fertility with male strength and virility. The infertile man in Thailand is a subject of ridicule for failing to fulfil normative expectations and challenges their identity within Thai conceptions of phet (Thai term for sexuality, gender and biological sex). Like their female partners, men participate in a process of medicalisation of their conditions, having sexual intercourse at appropriate times, producing sperm samples to schedule and in some cases undergoing painful testicular surgeries and extractions in pursuit of a biological child. This paper provides further comparative material for a consideration of how men engage with reproductive technologies and the implications for their performance of masculinity.



Associate Professor Andrea Whittaker is ARC Future Fellow and Convenor of Anthropology at the School of Social Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. She is a medical anthropologist working primarily in the fields of reproductive health and biotechnologies with a special interest on Thailand and SE Asia. Her Australian Research Council Future Fellowship studies the reproductive travel in Thailand and the region for sex selection and surrogacy. In addition, she is currently undertaking collaborative research on medical travel in Malaysia and Thailand, contraceptive use among migrant women in Melbourne through an ARC Linkage project and is part of another ARC Linkage project working on a longitudinal qualitative study of people living with HIV in rural and regional Queensland. Her major publications include Intimate Knowledge: Women and their Health in Northeast Thailand (2000), Women’s Health in Mainland South-east Asia ed. (2002), Abortion, Sin and the State in Thailand (2004) and Abortion in Asia: Local dilemmas, global politics ed. (2010). Her most recent work is Thai in vitro: Assisted reproduction in Thailand (2015).