"Family, and by extension gender and heterosexuality, is a foundational aspect of state cohesion in China." --Excuse me? Family is a foundational aspect of civilization.

A very weak piece, China as seen from an American academic cultural Marxist point of view, nothing more. "Gendered," "racist," etc., just ignorant slogans, more ideological than China with its pragmatic self-interest.

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The more things change the more they stay the same or as Yogi says, It's deja vu all over again. These are similar to some of the themes I remember reading about in Wakeman's "Strangers at the Gate" back in college. The changes of the late Qing brought a lot of responses in society. Back then the talk was about how demographic changes threatened male social roles among other things. Here is a link from UC San Diego that touches on Wakeman to ponder.


Modern China has some similar changes to deal with and also an imbalance in sex ratios courtesy of the One Child policies with too many rootless men. The future should be interesting. As in the curse, May you live in interesting times.

Hey, at least in Chinese there is no need to deal with the gendered pronouns encountered in English: everything is ta 他 她 它

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In China - as in the west - sometimes the talk around superficial cultural issues can get a bit overwrought. Those worried about the direction of Chinese masculinity might be encouraged by the reports that the PLA had to redesign some tight quarters - as in tanks - as Chinese men were coming in taller and bigger than had been the case a generation or two ago. But in the spirit of being overwrought, let me suggest a masculine model from out of the past, as exemplified by the Mongolian band the Hu - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jM8dCGIm6yc The feel of the video is that of the marauding steppe people from two thousand years ago. While certainly not Chinese, perhaps That is a masculine ideal for some in China to cherish ;)

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I think China needs a better masculinity.

Even as someone who's pretty politically liberal, I still find myself occasionally on the side of the CCP fanboys railing against the feminization of Chinese popular culture and aesthetics. This is partly because I personally find feminine men, or men with feminine attitudes, aesthetically unappealing. I'm totally fine with people being gay, but when I watch a theatre piece, film, music performance or TV show, I'd rather see at least some decent representation of masculinity. I can also see why the government is worried about a feminized generation of Chinese young men, perhaps for national security reasons (and I'm worried about this even more for Taiwanese men).

What is a better masculinity? I don't know what's suitable for China, but it's interesting that 'metrosexuals' and 'hipsters', two aesthetic groups that emphasised a modernised masculinity, never had a popular equivalent in China. It sometimes seems, from media at least, that Chinese men have the choice of a traditional, conservative masculinity or a faux-Korean/Taiwanese femininity without realising that there are some interesting alternatives in between.

I don't see any trend towards a better alternative, but I'm not despairing yet. I suspect the obsession in the media is driven almost exclusively by the demand of young women and girls, who find feminized, very young-looking guys really attractive, and who consume more content. Many of my female Chinese friends like the aesthetics of 小鲜肉, but my male Chinese friends (mostly late 八零后/early 九零后) seem to have a broadly sensible approach to masculinity. There were some good role models in the last generation- many of China's martial artist stars, from Donnie Yen, Jackie Chan to Jet Li, seem perfect embodiments of a healthy masculinity, as do film stars like Jiang Wen/Wu and Ge You; Xiangshengers like Guo Degang, or sportsmen like Yao Ming. I'm a bit stuck in the early 2010s in terms of Chinese popular culture, but I'm curious to see if anyone is filling these roles for younger Chinese.

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