Mary Margaret Olohan
A teacher founded the Real Man Training Club to fight effeminacy in China’s youth as authorities and media warn against a crisis in Chinese masculinity.
Young boys in the Real Man Training Club engage in a variety of masculine activities directed by coach Tang Haiyan, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
The boys, aged 7 to 12, follow their teachers in beating their chests and chanting slogans while wearing headbands that say “Real Man” and tracksuits and shirts displaying English slogans such as “Power Leader” and “Anything is Possible.”
“One, two, three!” the boys chant with their coaches as they go for an early morning run in 14-degree weather. “Who’s the best? We are! Who are we? We are real men!”
Tang founded this “reserve for alpha males” in 2012, and the group has grown to over 2,000 members. The Real Man Training Club also pushes the boys to join in activities like football, wrestling and hiking, according to the LA Times.
The Chinese state-run media has criticized Chinese young men for imitating Korean pop stars’ makeup, bleached hair and high-end outfits. The media called these pop stars “sissy pants” and “fresh young meat,” according to the report.
“We will teach the children to play golf, go sailing and be equestrians, but we will never cultivate sissies,” Tang told The New York Times in 2018.
Media figures worry that Chinese actors reflect the nation’s identity and that the effeminacy of Chinese actors makes China look weak. Meanwhile, the Chinese military publication People’s Liberation Army Daily complained that only 20 percent of military recruits could pass fitness tests.
“If you are promoting these effeminate figures, it’s a calamity for our country,” Tang told the LA Times.
Concern over men’s masculinity grew after a TV program showed students the band F4, causing parents to lash out at the Education Ministry for holding up effeminate role models to their children. The incident caused media to warn against the culture’s “sick” and “decadent” decline. Chinese media blurred out earrings when men wore them this year, according to the California paper.
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