- China’s Education Ministry has published plans to counter the “feminization” of young men.
- The proposals, designed to target effeminacy, include hiring more gym teachers.
- The plans have received widespread criticism from social media users and academics.
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The plans, however, have been met with fierce opposition from academics and social media users.
Posts criticizing the efforts have gone viral on Chinese social media apps, according to reports.
Experts have also expressed their concerns about targeting effeminacy, NBC News reported.
The proposals, released earlier this year, outline how the Chinese government intends to “prevent the feminization of male youths.”
One of the primary policies centers on hiring more gym teachers, The New York Times said. There are also guidelines on changing physical education classes’ curriculum to bolster the “spirit of yang”— traditional Chinese notions of masculinity.
The plans were introduced after a senior government official said that the country is experiencing a “masculinity crisis,” The Times said.
He stressed that it was a matter of urgency, citing national security and threats to “China’s survival and development,” the media outlet reported.
Experts have criticized the efforts to enforce masculinity.
“The concept of masculinity and femininity many people have is really nostalgia for a past we can’t go back to,” Shen Yifei, a sociologist at Fudan University, told Chinese state broadcaster CGTN. “There is nothing wrong with men being caring and emotionally expressive – qualities considered to be feminine, and women can also benefit from being courageous and rational.”
Fang Gang, a sociology professor at Beijing Forestry University, echoed a similar sentiment. “Men are not necessarily aggressive, competitive, and athletic, while women are not necessarily passive, emotional, and soft,” the academic told NBC News. “Good characteristics are unisex, which both girls and boys should learn.”
The response on social media has been overwhelmingly negative, according to the BBC.
One user of the popular Chinese social media platform Weibo asked: “Is feminine now a derogatory term?”
The post received more than 220,000 likes and prompted a hashtag that now has over 1.5 billion views, CGTN reported.
“None of these proposals have come from women,” said another Weibo comment that was seen by the BBC.
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