China has now banned “sissy men” as a way to curtail BTS, K-Pop, and homosexuality in one broad swing.
According to Variety, China’s National Radio and Television Administration, the same organization that has banned gay content for years, recently updated its regulations. On Thursday, the organization called for “further regulation of arts and entertainment shows and related personnel” after noting some portions of the entertainment field “severely polluting the social atmosphere.”
One of the newly updated regulations bans “sissy men” from television. Broadcasters must now “resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal esthetics,” as well as “vigorously promote excellent Chinese traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture” and avoid promoting “vulgar internet celebrities” who have “lost morality.” The government even used an anti-gay slur when describing the unnamed “celebrities.”
Censorship in China’s entertainment field has steadily increased over the years. Not only has the country banned LGBTQ content on tv or film, but it’s also been banned online. In 2018, gay content was swept off Sina Wiebo (the equivalent to Twitter in China). 392 million users were banned after posting gay content. Though after major controversy over the decision, the company later pulled back on the ban.
Then earlier this year, the social media platform WeChat also deleted dozens of LGBTQ-related accounts. The company claimed that these accounts “violated” the platform’s policies.
“After receiving relevant complaints, all content has been blocked and the account has been suspended,” the platform told users.
But the most recent ban on “sissy men” may have more to do with K-Pop than homosexuality. While Chinese culture isn’t necessarily enveloped in toxic masculinity, it seems the government is concerned by the rise of Kpop’s popularity. The boy band BTS, for instance, has seen a massive increase in its following and financial success in the past few years. It’s likely that this group is the focus of China’s “sissy men” regulation. This is ironic, seeing as none of the BTS members are openly gay and South Korea has its own issues with homophobia.
When it comes to pushing back against BTS, however, China is not alone. Pakistani fans of the boy band recently paid to erect a billboard in honor of BTS member Jeon Jungkook’s birthday (September 1). But according to VICE World News, the Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami heard about the billboard and immediately order its removal.
— Jungkook SNS (@Jungkook_SNS) September 1, 2021
As politician Furaqan Aziz Butt told VICE, a “lot of complaints from people” led to the opinion that the boy band is a “negative influence.”
“There are young people in this city,” Butt said. “This group (BTS) has a negative influence on them and encourages them to behave in wrong activities. They promote homosexuality.”
Once again, none of the members are openly gay. But as one BTS fan told VICE, older Pakistinis take issue with the group because their “physical features and attire are too feminine.”
In response to the removed billboard, Pakistini ARMY members, the name for BTS fans, got the hashtags #BTSisPakimysPride and #PakistanLovesBTS trending over Twitter.
— taemaan⁷ bts day 💜 (@heybtsarmy_) September 1, 2021
— alina⁷ jugnu’s luvr 🥰 🃏 (@KIMKTNAM) September 1, 2021
— Taejoon's butter🇵🇰 (@meowingsprite) September 2, 2021