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China Sex & Gender

Weibo Netizens: Chinese Guys Are Weaker Than Girls

Many of China’s universities have too many girls, principles say, which is not good for the development of male students. ‘Nonsense’, Weibo users argue: girls are just stronger than boys.

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Many of China’s universities have too many girls, professors say, which is not good for the development of male students. ‘Nonsense’, Weibo users argue: Chinese guys are just weaker than girls.

The ‘Chinese Language Development Summit’ (中文发展论坛) was held at the University of Anhui this week. Over 20 principals and professors from China’s key universities attended to discuss the development of Chinese language and traditional culture. One of the topics was China’s relatively high percentage of female students within liberal arts education, which was presented as an urgent concern.

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Dean of the Capital Normal University (首都师范大学), Ma Zili (马自力), stated at the summit that there was “not even one boy” in some of the classes. He and other professors suggested that the best solution to solve the problem of “too much yin and too little yang” (“阴盛阳衰”) is to accept more male students through university recruitment, in order to get a more equal balance between male and female students.

 

“This is not a good growing environment for boys.”

 

According to the President of Beijing’s Language & Culture University (北京语言大学), Cui Xiliang (崔希亮), girls account for 83% of this year’s Chinese language major freshmen. “This is not a good growing environment for boys,” he added: “I’ve heard from many girls that the guys in their class are not even as tough as they are.”

Once President Cui’s remark was posted on Sina Weibo, the topic “boys are less tough than girls” (#男生还没女生爷们#) triggered heated discussions.

The topic page has been viewed over 37 million times, attracting over 10,000 comments.

Some female students share what they have witnessed at college. For instance, user “Yu Yuxun” writes: “We were with over 200 students at an elective class yesterday, and we had to move desks and chairs. All the girls were working, while the guys did nothing and just stood there. Then they just sat on the chairs that the girls moved for them. I really believe that girls at university are tougher than guys.”

 

“Guys are spoiled by their parents and society at large.”

 

A lot of female netizens write that studying has made them stronger and more independent, especially because the guys are not “helping” at all.

User “Sophie Lee” says that she has become a “tough girl” (女汉子) after a couple of years at the Capital Normal University: “I was a typical vulnerable little girl before I entered university, but now I’m capable of doing a lot of physical work by myself. It’s mainly because I feel like I can’t trust or rely on guys any more. They are spoiled by their parents and society at large. Girls have to be tough and independent.”

In China, particularly in small cities and rural areas, families still prefer having sons instead of daughters. The one-child policy is often pointed out as the main reason for that.

 

“Chinese boys are raised to be sissies.”

 

As someone who grew up from a small town in China, user “ADnue” comments that Chinese boys are pampered and are raised to be sissy (“娘娘腔”): “In my hometown, boys always play around, while girls have to help parents with farming and housework. Parents and teachers are more tolerant with boys, and easily forgive them their mistakes. They just assume that boys will eventually catch up with girls. Girls are forced to be tough because of the idea that men are superior to women.”

A number of Weibo users are offended that some of China’s universities consider offering more entry opportunities for male students to balance the male/female ratio.

According to user “Silly Wool”, it is gender discrimination: “It’s normal that there are more girls than boys majoring in education or languages, because girls are generally better at it. I just really don’t understand the point of giving priority to male students. Female students majoring science and engineering find it difficult to get a good job after graduation, since a lot of related occupations prefer men over women. And now these college leaders and professors think they should enroll more boys in liberal arts? This is pure sexism.”

This is not a the first time a similar topic has become trending on Sina Weibo. The question of “what is a true man?” is a recurring issue, especially amongst those coming from the post 90s generation.

Weibo users generally say that a true man should be responsible, decisive and self-motivated. A user called “Short-haired Cat” says: “When thousands of people say that boys are not as tough as girls, it is no longer an individual problem”. For the majority of Weibo users, it’s a fact.

By Yiying Fan

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China Celebs

Chinese Social Media Users Stand up Against Body Shaming

Manya Koetse

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Recent photos of famous actress Gong Li that showed her curvier figure have gone viral on Sina Weibo, receiving over 850 million clicks. With Gong Li’s weight gain becoming all the talk on Weibo, the public’s focus on her appearance has sparked an online wave of body positivity posts, with web users rejecting the all-too-common phenomenon of body shaming on Chinese social media.

First, there was the ‘A4 Waist‘ hype, then there was the ‘iPhone6 Legs‘ trend, the ‘belly button backhand,’ and the online challenge of putting coins in your collarbone to show off how thin you are (锁骨放硬币). Over the past five years, China has seen multiple social media trends that propagated a thin figure as the ruling beauty standard.

But now a different kind of trend is hitting Weibo’s hotlists: one that rejects body shaming and promotes the acceptance of a greater diversity in body sizes and shapes in China.

On August 26, Weibo user @_HYIII_ from Shanghai posted several pictures, writing:

Reject body shaming! Why should we all have the same figure? Tall or short, thin or fat, all have their own characteristics. Embrace yourself, and show off your own unique beauty!

The post was soon shared over 900 times, receiving more than 32,000 likes, with the “body shame” phrase soon reaching the top keyword trending list of Sina Weibo.

 

Gong Li Weight Gain

 

The body positivity post by ‘_HYIII_’ is going viral on the same day that the apparent weight gain of Chinese actress Gong Li (巩俐) is attracting major attention on Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo and Douyin.

The 54-year-old actress, who is known for starring in famous movies such as Farewell My Concubine, To Live, and Memoirs of a Geisha, was spotted taking a walk with her husband in France on August 24. The photos went viral, with media outlets such as Sina Entertainment noting how Gong Li had become “much rounder” and had put on some “happy fat” (幸福肥).

By now, the hashtag page “Gong Li’s Figure” (#巩俐身材#) has received more than 850 million (!) views on Weibo, with thousands of people commenting on the appearance of the actress. In the comment sections, there were many who lashed out against the focus on Gong Li’s weight gain.

“She just has a regular female body shape. Stop using ‘white / skinny / young’ as the main beauty standard to assess other people,” one commenter said, with another person writing: “Why do you all keep focusing on her figure, did she steal your rice and eat it?!”

 

“Why do you all keep focusing on her figure, did she steal your rice and eat it?”

 

Some people suggested that the COVID19 pandemic might have to do with Gong Li’s weight gain, with others writing: “If she is healthy is what matters, skinny or fat is not the way to assess her beauty.”

What stands out from the discussions flooding social media at this time, is that a majority of web users seem to be fed up with the fact that a skinny body is the common standard of women’s beauty in China today – and that accomplished and talented women such as Gong Li are still judged by the size of their waist.

 

Say No to Body Shaming

 

In light of the controversy surrounding Gong Li’s recent photos and the following discussions, posts on ‘body shaming’ (身材羞辱) are now flooding Weibo, with many Weibo users calling on people to “reject body shaming” (拒绝#body shame#) and to stop imposing strict beauty standards upon Chinese women.

The pressure to be thin, whether it comes from the media or from others within one’s social circle, is very real and can seriously affect one’s self-esteem. Various studies have found an association between body dissatisfaction and social pressure to be thin and body shaming in Chinese adolescents and young adults (Yan et al 2018).

The main message in this recent Weibo grassroots campaign against body shaming, is that there are many ways in which women can be beautiful and that their beauty should not be merely defined by limited views on the ideal weight, height, or skin color.

Over the past decades, women’s beauty ideals have undergone drastic changes in China, where there has been a traditional preference for “round faces” and “plump bodies.” In today’s society, thin bodies, sharp faces, and a pointy chin are usually regarded as the standard of female ideal beauty (Jung 2018, 68). China’s most popular photo apps, such as Meitu or Pitu, often also include features to make one’s face pointier or one’s legs more skinny.

This is not the first time Weibo sees a growing trend of women opposing strict beauty standards. Although the word ‘body shaming’ has not often been included in previous trends, there have been major trends of women opposing popular skinny challenges and even one social media campaign in which young women showed their hairy armpits to trigger discussions on China’s female aesthetics.

Especially in times of a pandemic, many netizens now stress the importance of health: “Skinny or fat, it really doesn’t matter how much you weigh, as long as you’re healthy – that’s what counts.”

Also read:

 

By Manya Koetse

 

References

Jung, Jaehee. 2018. “Young Women’s Perceptions of Traditional and Contemporary Female Beauty Ideals in China.” Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal 47 (1): 56-72.

Yan, Hanyi ; Wu, Yingru ; Oniffrey, Theresa ; Brinkley, Jason ; Zhang, Rui ; Zhang, Xinge ; Wang, Yueqiao ; Chen, Guoxun ; Li, Rui ; Moore, Justin. 2018. “Body Weight Misperception and Its Association with Unhealthy Eating Behaviors among Adolescents in China.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15 (5): 936.

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China Food & Drinks

Tianjin Restaurant Introduces “Meal Boxes for Women”

The special lunch boxes for women were introduced after female customers had too much leftover rice.

Manya Koetse

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China’s anti food waste campaign, that was launched earlier this month, is still in full swing and noticeable on China’s social media where new iniatives to curb the problem of food loss are discussed every single day.

Today, the hashtag “Tianjin Restaurant Launches Special Female Meal Boxes” (#天津一饭店推出女版盒饭#) went trending with some 130 million views on Weibo, with many discussions on the phenomenon of gender-specific portions. The restaurant claims its special ‘female lunch boxes’ are just “more suitable for women.”

According to Tonight News Paper (今晚报), the only difference their reporter found between the “meals for women” and the regular meals, is the amount of rice served. Instead of 275 grams of rice, the ‘female edition’ of the restaurant’s meals contain 225 grams of rice.

The restaurant, located on Shuangfeng Road, decided to introduce special female lunch boxes after discovering that the female diners of the offices they serve usually leave behind much more rice than their male customers.

The restaurant now claims they expect to save approximately 10,000 kilograms of rice on an annual basis by serving their meals based on gender.

On Chinese social media, the initiative was heavily criticized. Weibo netizens wondered why the restaurant would not just offer “bigger” and “smaller” lunch boxes instead of introducing special meals based on gender.

“There are also women who like to eat more, what’s so difficult about changing your meals to ‘big’ and ‘small’ size?”, a typical comment said: “Some women eat a lot, some men don’t.”

Many people called the special meals for women sex discrimination and also wanted to know if there was a difference in price between the ‘female’ and ‘male’ lunch boxes.

There are also female commenters on Weibo who claim they can eat much more than their male colleagues. “Just give me the male version,” one female user wrote: “I’ll eat that meal instead.”

This is the second time this month that initiatives launched in relation to China’s anti food waste campaign receive online backlash.

A restaurant in Changsha triggered a storm of criticism earlier this month after placing two scales at its entrance and asking customers to to enter their measurements into an app that would then suggest menu items based on their weight. The restaurant later apologized for encouraging diners to weigh themselves.

By Manya Koetse

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