The Chinese government has ordered a boycott of “sissy pants” celebrities as it escalates a fight against what it sees as a cultural import that threatens China’s national strength.
In a directive issued on Thursday, China’s TV watchdog said entertainment programs should firmly reject the “deformed aesthetics” of niangpao, a derogatory term that refers to effeminate men.
Young, delicate-looking men who display gentle personalities and act in boys’ love dramas have amassed large fan bases mostly comprising women. Many of them, like Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo, are China’s top-earning celebrities.
the more gender-neutral aesthetics have come under criticism from conservative voices in society. Some officials and parents fear the less macho men on TV would cause young men to lose their masculinity and therefore threaten the country’s development.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Education pledged to promote sports education in Chinese schools in response to a politician’s proposal about “preventing men from becoming too feminine.”
The latest boycott order is part of a broader response to what the government deems as “chaos” in Chinese entertainment. Days before the order was issued, a commentary published by a Communist Party mouthpiece called the popularity of “sissy pants” a social problem that would distort the taste of the Chinese youth.