This chapter examines how gender norms and expectations shape the principle of dependency that undergirds Taiwan’s immigration system. It asks how dependency influences the internal dynamics of cross-border marriages and the struggles of Chinese spouses to build new lives for themselves in Taiwan. The bureaucratic performance of sovereignty through immigration regulation tightly links cross-border couples’ management of their personal lives to state demands for specifically gendered performances of marital authenticity. These state demands promote an ideal model of the national family built around a masculinized citizen-breadwinner and feminized immigrant-homemaker. By analyzing how cross-Strait couples respond to these gender ideals, the chapter shows how talk about gender provides an important register through which cross-Strait political differences and the threat of socialist socialization may be discussed, managed, and, in some cases, neutralized to make them less threatening to Taiwanese family life and national cohesion.
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