In a nation where men dominate political and business leadership and campaigns for gender equality have gained little traction, the debate over what is “effeminate” has become a popular pastime among older conservative residents, and mostly among men.
Influenced by K-pop idols in Korea, China’s boy bands and celebrities — with their delicate beauty, dyed hair and haute couture wardrobes — have a massive following among women here. But China’s state-run media condemns the young idols, calling them “sissy pants” and “fresh young meat.”
The backlash deepened after a back-to-school TV program featured the boy band F4. Angry parents attacked the Education Ministry’s decision to hold up the cosmetics-wearing young men as role models; state media warned that a “sick” and “decadent” culture threatened the future of the nation. This year, a Chinese videostreaming website started blurring earrings worn by men. …
“They’re worrying that if Chinese men are so effeminate… then we will become a weak country in future and we cannot compete with our rivals,” he said. “There’s anxiety about the virility of the nation being harmed by those effeminate male images.”