China has called for more physical fitness classes in schools across the nation in order to make young men more masculine or 'manly'. However, the latest call by the government has triggered a backlash from critics who said that the move could result in domestic violence along with other social issues. According to the Ministry of Education’s plan reportedly announced on Thursday, the local governments and educational institutes will soon be required to increase the number of gymnasium teachers and elevate the teaching methods to “cultivate masculinity”.
As per the South China Morning Post report, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government’s latest initiative aims at improving the school-going boys to develop both mental and physical health while educational ministry enhances its research. The call to action is reportedly a response to top political adviser Si Zefu who suggested that Chian needed to tackle the surging level of “feminisation” of young men and described them as “delicate, cowardly and effeminate”.
Reportedly, in a document, Si said that the nation needed to “prevent young men from becoming effeminate” and even blamed women in their families for apparently spoiling them. China’s top political adviser called for more male teachers to “combat the issue” while voicing the concern over the “threat to the development and survival of our nation”. The Educational ministry backed the proposal but it further prompted an immediate backlash from gender and sexuality experts.
Reportedly, the users of the Chinese microblogging website, Weibo reportedly flooded the platform with criticism against the education ministry’s plan. While one user questioned how ‘feminine’ is a ‘bad word’, another said that “There’s one way to make the men more masculine: make the fathers raise their children, make them work full-time at home.” Furthermore, the media report quoted a staff member from Guangzhou-based LGBT NGO who chose to remain anonymous, saying that the ministry’s proposal is encouraging the message that ‘being feminine is bad’.
He reportedly said, “Worrying that the boys are not ‘masculine’ enough is discrimination against female gender expression”. However, according to him, the government should care more about the mental health of the young people of the nation which is “far more meaningful”.