China Restricts Non-Masculine Boy Bands

On September 2nd, 2021, China’s state media regulators, the National Radio and Television Administration, introduced an eight-point entertainment regulation plan. This plan was shared by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), a China based news sharing company. In this plan, it calls to boycott Chinese boy bands that have become popular partly because of how they come off as feminine in their fashion, facial features, and other aspects of their physical appearance.

Since January, the Education Ministry has wanted to “cultivate masculinity” in young males. This involves training young males to practice their combat and other traditional masculine skills. According to the Los Angeles Times, an individual named Tang Haiyan, founded The Real Man Training Club. He supports China’s views and wants to fight against the “masculinity crisis.”

The most controversial point of the plan is the third point which states: “Boycott an overly entertaining trend, promote traditional culture, establish correct beauty standards, boycott sissy idols, boycotting daunting wealth, gossip or vulgar internet celebrities.” This plan also enforces boycotting high pay, meaning to prevent an income that is too high to manage as well as to supervise and train members on shows, aiming for them to promote traditional Chinese political values.

China goes about calling the idols, “vulgar internet celebrities,” in hopes of proving their argument that boy bands should be boycotted. China’s most popular social media apps such as WeChat and Weibo have been the main platforms for getting people’s opinions on this critical order. Several readers of SCMP have praised it, but others have also criticized this protocol, claiming it to be problematic.

“Why does National Radio and Television Administration have to regulate personal aesthetics? Isn’t it discrimination? How do you measure masculinity?” asked one person on Weibo.

China describes male idols who come off as feminine in their fashion, facial features, and other aspects of their physical appearance by labeling them as “sissy idols”. Boy bands such as TFBoys, Uniq, and Super Junior-M are targeted for wearing makeup and attire that is not traditionally masculine in Chinese society. The traditional Chinese societal standards for men include appearing tough, strong, and assertive.

Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China calls for a “national rejuvenation” that will reflect on China’s traditional values as well as achievement. The Chinese Dream by President Xi Jinping states, “only when the country does well, and the nation does well, can every person do well.”