China has laid out a plan to stop the “feminisation” of Chinese boys following complaints the nation’s teens were 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 adolescents can be prevented from becoming too girly by exercising and being exposed to male role models at school, including ex-athletes and other volunteers.
The notice to Chinese teachers, on “Preventing the Feminisation of Male and Adolescents”, sparked a debate in China, between those who argue for a traditional society, and others who wanted to modernise, Reuters reported.
The Chinese Government has recently expressed concern over the growing popularity of figures like movie stars and pop icons, saying widely admired role models were formerly traditional masculine athletic figures.
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.
On state run media, journalists suggested Chinese male celebrities, who “wore eyeliner” and weren’t traditionally masculine, had played a role in feminising Chinese boys.
A new podcast from China Plus suggested the massive outrage had been triggered by the government’s use of the word “feminine”.
On social media the backlash was severe.
“Boys are also humans … being emotional, timid or gentle, these are human characteristics,” one Weibo user wrote.
“What are men afraid of? Being the same as women?,” another said.
However reports suggest the idea of “toughening up” young boys with physical exercise has gained some popularity with Chinese citizens.
The proposal for schools comes after an initial plan in May by Si Zefu, a member from the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, who said boys were now too delicate, effeminate and timid. He claimed the boys had been mostly raised and educated by women.
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”.