According to the BBC, a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Education caused a stir after it claimed that young Chinese men are too “feminine”. This message has been criticized by many online users as being sexist – but some say Chinese men are part of the reason.
For a while, the Chinese government expressed concern that the country’s most popular male role models were no longer strong, athletic figures as “military heroes”.
So last week, the education department released an announcement titled leaving no doubts about its ultimate goal.
The proposal calls on schools to comprehensively reform physical education and increase teacher recruitment.
It advises the recruitment of retired athletes and those with a sports background, “thriving” in sports, in particular, football, with the aim of “nurturing the masculinity of the student. “.
Last May, Tu Zedu, a delegate from China’s top advisory body, said that many young Chinese men had become “weak, timid and self-conscious”.
He stated that there is a tendency among Chinese youth towards “feminization”, which “will inevitably jeopardize the existence and development of the Chinese nation” unless it is “managed. effective”.
Part of the reason is due to the family environment, Mr. Tu Trach Phu said, when most Chinese boys were brought up by their mother or grandmother. He also noted that the growing attractiveness of some male stars means more children “don’t want to be ‘military heroes'” anymore.
So, he suggested, schools should play a bigger role in ensuring young Chinese get a balanced education.
Much of the Chinese response to the education ministry’s announcement was negative. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese have taken to social media to express their anger. Many people believe that the government’s message is sexist.
“Is femininity an insulting term now ?,” asked one Weibo user, receiving over 200,000 likes. Another said: “Guys are human … emotional, timid or gentle, those are human traits.”
“There are 70 million more men in this country than women,” said another. “There is no country in the world with such anomalous sex ratio. Isn’t that masculine enough?”
Another said: “None of these proposals are from women.”
However, from some media, the Ministry of Education’s policy has been positively received. Global Times noted that the policy has “won support”.
On the social network Sina Weibo, comments indicated that China’s male stars are responsible for feminization. These stars are called “humiliated” characters (a little fresh meat, meaning the body lacks muscle). This is a common word used to refer to the symbols of young Chinese men who are considered to be clean, well-groomed and with delicate lines.
The group TF Boys
Boy group TF Boys and Chinese singer Lu Han also made the list, as are many K-pop stars.
While figures such as basketball player Yao Ming were already well known overseas, it is worth noting that football in particular was included in the proposal.
Meanwhile, in recent months, the government is working hard to introduce and promote new models for Chinese youth.
In places where women are concerned, the Covid-19 pandemic presents a good opportunity to demonstrate the important role of women as frontline workers.
And China’s achievements in the space field last year were a great opportunity to promote characters like Zhou Cheng Yu, who became a phenomenon as a space commander at the age of 24. year old.
But as Tu Zedu said, for young Chinese men, the attractiveness of fearless and powerful soldiers, policemen or firefighters is waning.
The phenomenon of “little fresh meat” continues to be successful and proven, but young male stars are increasingly under scrutiny and it is difficult to become anything that leaves a clean, dry mold.
In recent years, the media has struggled to allow young male stars to appear on Chinese screens with tattoos or earrings. And one of China’s top pop stars was fiercely criticized online in 2019 for being photographed smoking.