China Declares a Culture War on Androgyny
China’s latest round of authoritarian fearmongering isn’t just targeting gamers. The government is going after celebrity culture and in particular young men they deem to be too effeminate.
The Associated Press reports:
China’s government banned effeminate men on TV and told broadcasters Thursday to promote “revolutionary culture,” broadening a campaign to tighten control over business and society and enforce official morality.
Broadcasters must “resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal esthetics,” the TV regulator said, using an insulting slang term for effeminate men—”niang pao,” or literally, “girlie guns.”
The Wall Street Journal notes that this, like the video game restrictions, is part of cultural obsession with the masculine aesthetics that is common under authoritarian regimes, from the Soviet left to the fascist right. This often involves attempts purge anything that doesn’t fit those narrow gender roles.
China has historically had a complicated relationship with gay and trans issues. LGBT folks have historically been prosecuted there as mentally ill undesirables, but the government eventually started to ease up. China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997, and in 2001 removed it from their official list of mental disorders.
Subsequent polling shows that Chinese citizens, like their counterparts across much of the world, were becoming more and more comfortable with LGBT folks. Soon Shanghai was having gay pride marches and officially recognized gay bars.
But as Brian Wong recently reported in SupChina, the past five years have seen a backlash. The pride march has been canceled (though most were last year, due to COVID). Movies with LGBT gay themes are often censored or outright banned. Shanghai University is making a
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