Literary images and social customs often reflect the spirit of the times and the inner temperament of a nation. In the new era of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the image of today’s Chinese youth should be progressive, magnificent, and heroic. However, in recent years, the phenomenon of “feminization” of males has had a negative impact on the aesthetics, health and values of young people. This phenomenon started in Japan around 2000, then spread to Korea, and then to China on the backs of the “Haji” (Kazakh-Japanese”) and “Korean Wave”. Some boys follow the example of so-called idol stars whose clothing, behavior and makeup are “feminine”, which seriously affects their physical and mental growth and results in masculinity deficit.
The social harm caused by the epidemic like spread of such a trend should not be underestimated. For example, it conveys wrong aesthetics and values. In the last decade or so, some of China’s media and entertainment industry has been pushing the “feminization” of male idol stars, and to some extent even the feminization of men as beauty, leading some teenage males to become more and more “feminine”. This disturbs the normal gender orientation and cultural values of young people to quite an extent, undermines Chinese cultural traditions and is not conducive to the cultivation of new generation of socialists.
In addition, it aggravates the degradation of social spirit. Under the influence of such trends as “feminization” of men, some young people are less willing and enthusiastic to protect their country, participate in society, and be active. In terms of the economy,, they lack the “grit” to turn pressure into motivation to struggle (against difficulties) in life and work in the face of social pressures. In addition, the inactive mentality leads to more and more young people being afflicted with mental illness. According to statistics, in the past two or three decades, mental health problems of different groups of people in China are on the rise. These problems are certainly not caused by the “feminization” of men alone, but the latter does contribute negatively to it.
There are already concerns that allowing the “feminization” of men to continue will risk sapping the blood (vigour) of the nation. To this end, I suggest that, first of all, that promotion and propagation of a “feminine” male aesthetic in any form in the media and entertainment industry be firmly restricted. The authorities should be more cautious in approving the content of programs and advertisements and discourage dissemination of such information and content. This could be done by establishing a negative media list or complaint system, and restricting access to traditional or new media that promote “feminization” of males.
Second, there are many ways to promote masculinity among youth. First, strengthen national defense education. It is recommended that national defense education be stipulated as the first course in the field of education on CCTV and media at local levels, and that learning revolutionary traditions and cultivating the spirit of martial arts be made a value orientation for youth.
Second, that teenage themed summer camps and training camps be held regularly. In places with conditions for new type of junior military school to be built, children between 8 and12 should be recruited into junior military schools, to facilitate nurturing of correct values, developing good habits of doing and living physically fit as well as building strong physique, in order to train a trained reserve army for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Third, to appropriately increase physical exercise for school students. Physical exercise plays an important role in cultivating a good physique and strong mind. It is recommended to set up a scientifically graded and rationally classified physical education courses to effectively enhance the physical fitness and masculinity of young people.
Fourth, strengthen the construction of militias. Militia is an inseparable and important part of our military force. There are a large number of militia grooming facilities in various places, and it is necessary to give full play to the role of these facilities. Militia authorities should train young people, so that not only is their physique strengthened, but they are also encouraged to deepen their understanding of the actual situation of national defense — multiple effects in one fell swoop through revitalization of the militia forces.
Furthermore, more masculine film and entertainment works should be launched. In order to better guide the healthy growth of youth, the media and film and television works should idolise more masculine soldiers, special police and other heroes in life. The government has to encourage local TV stations, especially those with successful entertainment programs, to plan and launch youth entertainment programs that promote a “manly” image and publicise correct values.
(The author is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Director of the Institute of Political Science, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)