Struggling with gender borders: Teachers’ narratives of uncomfortable hybrids

Yuk Yee Pattie LUK-FONG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Rigid gender stereotypes create impenetrable borders for people when they try to find out who they are as man or woman. Using two personal life narratives of Mei (a primary school woman teacher) and Keung (a secondary man teacher), this paper investigates the tensions and struggles of living a gender identity that is different from the dominant discourses of being a girl, a boy, a woman and a man in the existing culture and contexts in the society. The setting of this paper is in Hong Kong, a place that has often been called ‘East meets West’ where predominantly Western schooling system has been imposed on the indigenous Chinese culture. Post-colonial concepts of hybridities and border crossing are major concepts to guide this study and its analysis. The personal narratives of Mei, an informational technology, mathematics and physical education teacher coming from a family of origin with strong male preference, and those of Keung, a Chinese literature teacher with ‘a white complexion like a girl’, show that ridicule, alienation and outright rejection are common emotional experiences experienced by both genders when they attempt to cross gender borders. Both teachers find themselves confused and lost when trying to grapple with both their ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ characteristics in their lived experience. Implications of this study to education in the school settings and to teacher education will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


Luk-Fong, P. Y. Y. (2009, March). Struggling with gender borders: Teachers’ narratives of uncomfortable hybrids. Gender and Education in Hong Kong. Symposium conducted at the 2009 Gender and Education Association Conference: Gender: Regulation and Resistance in Education, London, England.


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