China to teach ‘masculinity’ education for boys

China masculinity education

The Education Ministry of China has published plans to ‘cultivate masculinity’ in schoolboys. The policy has inflamed debate across the country.

The plan follows a warning from one of China’s top political advisers that the nation is experiencing a national “masculinity crisis.”

“Chinese boys have been spoiled by housewives and female teachers,” the adviser, Si Zefu, said in a policy proposal in May. Boys would soon become “delicate, timid and effeminate” unless action was taken, he said.

Addressing the issue is a matter of national security, he wrote. Si warned that the “feminization” of Chinese boys “threatens China’s survival and development.”

Boys in China traditionally are expected to show strong leadership skills, get good grades in math and science and excel in school sports. So wrote Fang Gang, a sociology professor at Beijing Forestry University, about the proposed changes on Jan. 30.

Girls, meanwhile, traditionally are viewed as less intellectual, and they are expected to be less competitive.

“Boys don’t need masculinity education,” said Lü Pin, the founder of China’s largest feminist advocacy media channel, Feminist Voices, which was banned by Chinese censors in 2018.

“The concept of masculinity forces every man to be tough, excluding and harming men with other characteristics,” she said. “It also reinforces men’s hegemony, control and position over women, which goes against gender equality.”

The growing popularity of male Chinese pop stars who wear makeup and androgynous, sparkly clothing has also influenced youth culture.

Taking inspiration from South Korean pop culture, China’s young style connoisseurs have embraced the “gentle style” look. It is a softer form of masculinity that stands in sharp contrast to traditional tough-guy tropes.

“The concept of masculinity and femininity many people have is really nostalgia for a past we can’t go back to,” said Shen Yifei, a sociologist at Fudan University whose research focuses on gender.

“There is nothing wrong with men being caring and emotionally expressive. Qualities considered to be feminine, and women can also benefit from being courageous and rational,” Shen said. “Good personal qualities have nothing to do with the sexes.”

Still, the Chinese government maintains a more conservative view of how men and women should behave. Depictions of gay relationships are banned from Chinese television under a 2016 law barring “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content.”

And while homosexuality was decriminalized in 1997, no law prevents discrimination based on sexual orientation.


NBC News


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , ,