The Chinese state has announced a sexist strategy to stop the “feminisation” of Chinese boys. It thinks the nation’s teens are too delicate, timid and effeminate.
A letter from China’s state education ministry has announced the plan to prevent the “feminisation” of young Chinese males, arguing young men can be prevented from becoming too girly by more sport and being exposed to more traditionally masculine role models. The Chinese Government has recently expressed concern over the growing popularity of movie stars and pop icons, saying widely admired role models were formerly traditional masculine athletic figures.
On state media, journalists have suggested Chinese male celebrities who “wore eyeliner” and weren’t traditionally masculine have feminised Chinese boys. Many of China’s male celebrities being blamed are known as “little fresh meats”, a slang term for young, Chinese male icons who are styled as squeaky-clean, well-groomed, and pretty.
This includes boyband TF Boys and singer Lu Han (pictured). President Xi Jinping is reported as believing that sports stars and military men should serve as role models instead.
The plan to “toughen up” young boys with physical exercise comes after an initial plan in May by Si Zefu, to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, saying that boys were now too delicate, effeminate, and timid. Si Zefu continued this “would inevitably endanger the survival and development of the Chinese nation” unless it could be “effectively managed”.
The letter instructs educators to focus on physical education, and suggested recruiting “retired athletes and volunteers with sports expertise to serve as PE teachers”. The letter also urged teachers to “pay more attention to the cultivation of students’ ‘masculinity’, and continue to add new physical education teachers through multiple channels”.
The notice to Chinese teachers, on “Preventing the Feminisation of Male Adolescents”, has sparked some backlash. On Weibo, China’s most popular social media channel, a hashtag about the plan attracted more than 1.5 billion views and 200,000 posts. Many criticised the sexist plan.
“Boys are also humans … being emotional, timid or gentle, these are human characteristics,” one Weibo user wrote, attracting 200,000 likes.
“What are men afraid of? Being the same as women?” another said.