September 12, 2021

The Chinese Government Attacks "Sissies", "Feminine Men" and Nonbinary People

Nonbinary and androgynous people assigned male is  be one of the greatest threats to modern civilization, according to the Chinese Communist Party. 

The political fetishization of hypermasculinity is also relevant to the discussion about transgender and nonbinary people, as the new policy reflects the traditionalist fear of gender variance in general, and femininity in those assigned male in particular.

TV stations are banned from showing feminine men and "sissies"

Washington Post reports that on Sept. 2, China’s television regulator banned effeminate men on the screen, saying that broadcasters must “resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal esthetics,” using an insulting slang term for transfeminine men — “niang pao,” or literally, “girly guns.”

Associated Press reports that the National Radio and TV Administration fears the influence on Chinese pop stars, who – inspired by South Korean K-Pop singers, Thai models and Japanese movie stars – fail to live up to the masculine ideals of the party.

Chinese boy bands such as TFBoys, Uniq, Super Junior-M, and Exo-M have all been attacked for their use of makeup and feminine or androgynous fashion choices.

The Chinese love for androgynous males (referred to as xiao xian rou, meaning "Little Fresh Meat") has become very prominent, indeed. Luxury brands like Gucci,  Louis Vuitton and Bvlgari use such idols actively in their marketing.  

Feminine looking men sell female products all over Asia. Jing Daily reports that  the market for men’s grooming products in China is growing, and that this growth is inspired by the pop singers and movie stars.

The Chinese censorship of gender variance

From Film Daily

Broadcasters should avoid promoting “vulgar internet celebrities” and admiration of wealth and celebrity, the TV agency argues. 

The agency requires artists and entertainment programs to convey the “correct aesthetic” message. The producers must carefully check the style, costumes and make-up of the participants. 

Programs should instead “vigorously promote excellent Chinese traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture,” and that culture is  hyper-masculine according to this agency.  

Moreover, it should be easy to recognize the difference between men and women.

Programs about the children of celebrities are also banned, as are – it seems – idol talent shows. Social media accounts following celebrities and their fans have also been closed down. 

The Chinese Ministry for Education has suggested that schools and universities should encourage student “masculinity” training through physical education.  Private companies now see a new market for young boys' bootcamps. 

Photo from Film Daily

An effect of female liberation

Jing Daily argues that this trend might have been inspired by the Western revolt against hyper-aggressive masculinity. But there are also local origins. 

The average looking action movie heroes of the past (Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, to mention two) have been replaced by romantic comedies "where the Chinese men have more multifaceted identities and are unmistakably, more androgynously good-looking". 

This again reflects the increasing influence of independent and powerful women who are not that easily charmed by the macho-like ideals of the cultural revolution. 

There are now more female than male students in Chinese universities. 61% of women take part in the labor force,  compared to America’s 57%. The idea that men are to provide for their families and that women are to raise children only makes no sense in the new China. 

That is exactly what scares the old men in power.

The typical paranoia of the fragile male ego

Photo: Shu Uemura’s Weibo
Time reports that top political adviser Si Zefu has warned policy makers about a national “masculinity crisis” as “Chinese boys have been spoiled by housewives and female teachers.” 

This trend of “feminization” of Chinese boys “threatens China’s survival and development,”  Si argues, echoing the cries of fragile masculinity found  all over the world.

Time continues:

A top Chinese government think tank even believes this star-induced feminization is part of a wider CIA operation to emasculate Asian men. 
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences accuses legendary star-makers, the Johnny & Associates talent agency, of working with the CIA to degrade Japanese masculinity, leading to the profusion of soshokukei danshi (“grass eaters” or “herbivorous boys”) in Japanese society.

As Reason points out, this is part of a larger campaign against LGBTQA people as well. The Pride March has been cancelled. Movies with LGBTQA themes have been banned. The regime has even made lists with the names of LGBTQA students. Queer chat groups have been deleted. 

Scott Shackford writes:

China's leadership certainly seems to be setting up LGBT folks and "non-masculine" men as social scapegoats. These moves may also be an indication that the younger generation is not on board with the Chinese government's goals, and that leaders are struggling to rein them in. 

Empire building and militarization 

It is important to remember that now that Chinese president Xi Jinping has made himself life time dictator, his monopolization of power has  been followed by a militarization of China, as well as more ambitious international policies, both as regards trade and political influence.

TNT (also known as Teens in Times 时代少年团) is the third boy group formed by Time Fengjun Entertainment in China after TFBOYS and Typhoon Teens.

China remains a socialist country on paper, but may just as well be seen as a capitalist empire run by people with fascist mentalities. This is why the Chinese communists  have so much in common with totalitarian right wing extremists around the world. 

The hypermasculine cult of the strong manly man reflects a need for a military machinery based on men who are not questioning traditional values of what it means to be a "real man" and who share deeply misogynistic ideas about women.

Russian propaganda use the Chinese example to scare right wing Americans

It is interesting to see that the Russian Strategic Culture Foundation (which is associated with the Russian Foreign Ministry) embraces the femmephobic and misogynistic ideals of the Chinese Communist Party, arguing that the United States is threatened by all the talk about "toxic masculinity" and the promotion of LGBTQ+ lifestyles inside  the classroom.

Robert Bridge of the Foundation writes:

The first conspicuous lesson to be learned here is that, for whatever reason, the elites in the United States either do not sense a problem with the ongoing feminization of American boys, or they have no desire to see the United States succeed as a viable nation for long. Considering the disaster that just transpired in Afghanistan, the second choice is a tempting one. The advantages of supporting masculine traits in society are too obvious to warrant serious discussion here; suffice it to say that no nation that promotes the feminization of its male youth can expect to survive for long, neither in the demographic realm nor on the battlefield.

The German Nazi regime wanted masculine men who obeyed orders
without questioning them, committing insane atrocities in the process.
This is the same kind of arguments you find in the American Republican Party, in Putin's Russia and in the semi-fascist regimes of Poland and Hungary. 

This is also exactly the same kind of arguments that fascists and nazis used in the 1930s. That did not end well, as anyone who have read real history can attest to. 

Toxic masculinity is called toxic for a reason. It drives countries and their populations into the kind of irrational frenzy that leads to wars with no real winners.

This tells us that the battle for democracy, diversity and peace require a strong defense of sexual diversity, gender variance and LGBTQA people, as well as a compassionate kind of masculinity.


  1. Yup both Russia and China are deeply transphobic and the official propaganda messaging is clear. Interesting however that Xing Jing being almost the Oprah of China is well-admired and liked and is a woman of transsexual experience

  2. Apologies meant to say Jing Xing :)

  3. Yes, that is interesting. I have not looked for detailed info about the situation trans women who have transitioned are facing in China right now. Sometimes regimes like this are more forgiving about them than those who blur the divide between the genders. She has an interesting background from arts AND the military.

    1. Btw, for your information: Nonbinary is a sexist concept because for a person to claim that what that person feels somehow makes that person different from either men or women means by its very nature that that person is actually claiming that men and women are incapable of having those feelings.

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