School of English

Current students 




Melissa Yoong

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences



Melissa Yoong specialises in Gender and Language, and has published on sexist, postfeminist, and neoliberal discourses in the mass media, in particular how these reinforce gender inequality in society. She has spoken on these themes for various organisations in the university as well as for public audiences, including at the British High Commission and on the independent radio station, BFM. She is a lecturer-advisor for the Gender Equality Initiative, coordinated by the Association of Women Lawyers, Malaysia and the Malaysian Bar Council, and has provided her expertise on gender and language in professional contexts as a mentor for the FutureLearn online course, How to Read Your Boss.

Melissa is currently a member of the Campus Teaching Committee, and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences' Equality and Diversity Committee, as well as a faculty Research Ethics Reviewer. Upon obtaining her MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Nottingham, UK, she joined the university's Centre for English Language Education. She was the Director of the Arts and Education Foundation programme before moving to the School of English as Assistant Professor in 2016.

Teaching Summary

Melissa convenes the following UG and MA modules:

ENGL1015 Introduction to Linguistics 1

ENGL1016 Introduction to Linguistics 2

ENGL2032 Discourse and Society

ENGL4163 Approaches to Language and Linguistics

ENGL4168 Research Methods in Applied Linguistics

Research Summary

Melissa is currently working on the following research:

"China Dolls", Madonna Wives, and Vanishing Husbands: Media-mediated Identities of Malaysia's Chinese Diaspora and Economic Migrants

This study explores the ideologies of gender, neoliberalism and xenophobia embedded in the media's sexualised othering of "China Dolls", a homogenised and highly stigmatised outgroup consisting of Chinese national women in Malaysia.

A Linguistic Study on Audience Response to Media Texts on Women and Work

In my earlier research, I analysed the professional discourses and gendered identities of working women manifested within Malaysian media targeting a female audience. The objective of this current study is to pick up the threads of that investigation and conduct focus groups to uncover what meanings the participants activate and which positions they take up when interacting with media texts on women and work.

Recent Publications

Past Research

Online Articles:

YOONG, M., 2014. Pull up a chair, we need to talk about sexist language at work. The Conversation. Available at: <>

Conference Presentations:

YOONG, M., 2017. Women, Work, and Having It All: Professional Discourses and Identities in Malaysian Media. At: 6th University of Malaya Discourse and Society International Conference

YOONG, M., 2016. "Create Opportunities for Yourself!": Neoliberal Postfeminism in a Malaysian Women's Magazine. At: 9th International Gender and Language Association (IGALA) Conference

YOONG, M., 2014. The Air Hostess and the Chairman: Developing Learner Awareness of Politically Incorrect Language in Newspapers in Education. At: 12th International Asia TEFL Conference

YOONG, M., 2013. Sexism on UNMC Students' Facebook "Confessions" Page. At: Ms Education: Women, Equality and Education in the 21st century

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