[Multimodality Talks series] Tradition, modernity, and Chinese masculinity: The multimodal construction of ideal manhood in a reality dating show

Date and Time: Fri, May 5, 2023, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM BST

Speaker: Dr. William Feng, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Place: online via Zoom (register to receive the link)

To attend the talk please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dezheng-william-feng-multimodality-talks-series-tickets-477170227997

To watch the recorded talk, please see here: https://video.su.se/media/Multimodality+talks+-+Dezheng+%28William%29+Feng/0_3zw5s79k.


This study examines the multimodal construction of ideal manhood in men participants’ self-introduction videos in a Chinese reality dating show. I developed a framework to model identity as evaluative attributes and to explicate how it is constructed by linguistic and visual resources. I identified two versions of idealized Chinese masculinity: (1) modern masculinity, embodied by participants who won a date, highlights wealth, career achievement, sporting prowess, and work-related personality traits; (2) traditional masculinity, embodied by those failing to win a date, highlights Confucian virtues, class mobility, and skills in Chinese cultural heritages. The attributes are constructed through the combination of verbal judgments and visual depictions, which indicates the importance of investigating multimodal resources in studying identity. The outcome shows young Chinese women’s preference for modern masculinity. Meanwhile, the inclusion of traditional masculinity reflects the show’s educational agenda under the present moral and cultural reconstruction in China.


Dezheng (William) Feng, PhD, is Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Research Centre for Professional Communication in English at the Department of English and Communication, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His research focuses on the analysis of various media and communication practices from the perspectives of pragmatics, discourse analysis and multimodality. His recent publications appeared in journals such as Journal of Pragmatics, Pragmatics and Society, Discourse and Communication, and Visual Communication. He serves as Book Review Editor of Journal of English for Academic Purposes and editorial board member of international journals such as Multimodality and Society and Designs for Learning. He is the PI or Co-I of more than ten research projects funded by National Social Sciences Fund, Ministry of Education, RGC of Hong Kong SAR, and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His monograph Multimodal Chinese Discourse: Understanding Communication and Society in Contemporary China is to be published by Routledge in 2023.


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