Do girlie Chinese men lack masculinity?
Xiaoxianrou, which literally means “little fresh meat,” is a common nickname for young Chinese male idols in entertainment circles who appear more feminine than masculine. Chinese netizens recently debated whether feminine-looking male celebrities should be promoted as
idols for the younger generations of China.
The Global Times asked several foreigners in Shanghai for their opinions about this phenomenon. “We overemphasize people’s appearance in the current society, which I don’t think is a good trend,” Pamela from Belgium said.
She recommended that it is more important to educate the younger generation to become more intelligent and kindhearted.
“Our societal development should be more dependent on knowledge rather than star-worshipping.”
Pamela understands why so many young people look up to good-looking and effeminate male idols, but she feels that we should live for the moment instead of in an unrealistic dream world. “If young people idolize them, this is not helpful to their development,” she added.
Sounhagya from India and John from Germany also do not think it is healthy to promote “sissy boys.” Sounhagya thinks sissy culture mixed with a lot of makeup is more artificial.
“We’re going in a wrong direction; young people are fascinated about everything colorful, which I think is not beneficial for them in the long term,” he added. Likewise, Sounhagya told the Global Times that “If you live in a more natural and ordinary life with a proper diet, I think that’s better than the sissy culture.”
Stephen from Ireland accepted the fact that cosmetics can improve people’s looks to some extent. “But you would look like Coco the Clown if you put too much on,” he laughed. “Nowadays, it is not unusual for men to focus on their looks and clothes,” Kate replied, pointing out that this trend will probably disappear soon.
Oppa sissy style
An elderly couple from the UK told the Global Times that fashion and aesthetics have changed over time, but that this trend will pass like all other trends do. “Actually, if you go back a few hundred years and look at what fashions were in then, you could say that being a sissy was also quite popular in Europe,” Ken said. “You could see men who wore powdered wigs, a lot of makeup and tights back then,” his wife, Caroline added.
Almost all of our interviewees mentioned “ordinary” when asked which kind of style they prefer for men. “The ordinary style is the best and I don’t like sissy people who wear a lot of makeup,” John expressed.
Caroline told us that a coiffured male is not attractive to her, explaining that “sissy style looks too feminine to me, as I’m from the old generation.” In terms of other styles, such as muscular or macho, Ken thinks muscle men have to work hard
to keep their bodies in shape. “Muscular people also probably think more about their appearances,” he added.
Conversely, Sounhagya and Stephen mentioned the advantages of a ripped body. “A little bit muscular,” Sounhagya said, explaining that being fit can increase a man’s attractiveness. Additionally, regular physical exercise helps maintain flexibility as people get older and also improves their overall health. Stephen said, “a nice shape is good.”
However, Pamela told us that she doesn’t care about a man’s appearance and would just appreciate him as long as he is a kind person. More significantly, Pamela suggested that people should focus on their insides instead of putting too much emphasis on their exterior. She told us “You need to know the person first.”
A WeChat article titled “What kind of masculinity should be in today” published by the People’s Daily went rival recently. This article pointed out that the development of aesthetic modernity has broadened the aesthetic field of men and male character in a formerly traditional culture. Additionally, a person should be judged by their personal character rather than their appearance, the article said.
More significantly, as for whether feminine-looking celebrities should be promoted as models, People’s Daily also pointed out that those stars who have enjoyed great popularity among young people should assume their social responsibilities to set a good example for their fans, showing a more positive and active self-image.
Notably, Kate holds a strong opinion on this topic that most important is how a person feels about himself and what he wants to be. “It depends on the person,” she said.
Some netizens criticize that femininelooking male celebrities set a negative example for youngsters, while others think one’s character matters more than the appearance.
Ken and Caroline from the UK John from Germany Pamela from Belgium Sounhagya from India Stephen from Ireland