'Feminine' men cause hot debates
Many Chinese girls love "small, fresh meat", which refers to young, effeminate male stars. However, it turns out that not everyone is a fan of them.
On Sept 6, an article published by Xinhua News Agency described some male stars as too effeminate.
This came after CCTV was criticized for inviting several young male stars to perform on First Class for the New Semester, an educational TV show for primary and secondary school students, which aired on Sept 1.
Afterwards, many parents left comments online, saying the stars in the show had a bad influence on their children.
The popularity of effeminate male stars is partly down to the influence of Japanese and South Korean pop culture, Fan Xiaoqing, an expert on South Korean movies at the Communication University of China, told China Daily.
However, the "femininity" of males isn't a recent social phenomenon. In fact, being effeminate was popular among Chinese men during the Wei, Jin and Southern and Northern dynasties, especially among aristocrats and scholars, according to China Daily.
Indeed, the debate about effeminate male stars has been going on for a while.
In July, Hong Kong singer-actor Nicholas Tse said during the singing reality show Sing! China that he feels tired of seeing effeminate male stars.
"It isn't that they're not good, but we should discover ourselves, rather than imitate. Men should get their hormones back," he said during the show.
His opinion was shared by Chinese director Feng Xiaogang. "Some young actors are feminine and they should be more manly," he said during the Shanghai International Film Festival in June 2017.
However, others have a more open mind toward this phenomenon. "It's stereotypical to think all male stars should be masculine, like Jackie Chan. As society diversifies, there are more options for fans to choose from," Liang Yurou, 19, a college student from Fujian province, told China Daily.
Deng Xiquan, head of the Youth Research Institute at the China Youth and Children Research Center, believes such a phenomenon is completely natural.
"It's only a central issue temporarily and will be replaced by a new youth culture at some stage. If a man has feminine beauty, this doesn't mean that he lacks responsibility," Deng told China Daily.
Deng's opinion was echoed by the People's Daily. "A man's strength should be judged on the basis of their inner qualities – not their physical appearance," it wrote.