And so it begins. The “pretty boy” image may soon be a thing of the past if the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA), previously known as SARFT, has anything to say about it… and they do. In a meeting held on September 16, the NRTA asks for the strict implementation of regulations to manage TV salaries as they firmly control skyrocketing salaries, yin-yang contracts and tax evasion. They also firmly boycott supremacy of liuliang (traffic stars), chaotic fan circles, “dangai (耽改),” etc. With this, it seems a bleak future is likely in the cards for the highly popular and lucrative dangai genre that has been taking the industry by storm with so many dramas adapted from BL novels.
The statements above echo the guidelines issued by the radio and TV regulatory body earlier in the month where one of its stipulations touched upon putting an end to niangpao 娘炮 (which means “sissy” or “effeminate”) and other abnormal aesthetics. For male artists, that means every aspect of their overall look – from hair and makeup to their performance and styling must now be “correct.”
What Does Correct Aesthetics Entail?
Whereas smoky eyes and a full face of makeup, earrings and nail polish used to be pretty standard for male idols expressing themselves and wanting to up the visual factor in their performances, the new mandate is in favour of stars appearing more “masculine”.
This is also probably the reason why some idols have already undergone a makeover. Huang Zitao recently popped up a shirtless photo of himself showing off his ripped bod whilst working out at the gym. That’s quite a contrast to his usual carefully styled and super put together looks in the past. Likewise, singer Cai Xukun who rose to fame after Idol Producer ditched his clean shaven look in favour of a scruffier bearded version.
Response to what many assumed to be both stars conforming to the new regulations in order to avoid landing on the blacklist varies. Netizens understandably were super appreciative of Tao’s shirtless photos. That aside, others are complaining why there’s still a need to determine how a man and a woman should look when we’re already living in the 21st century. Similarly, others are asking why “effeminate” is still considered to be quite derogatory and lamenting how stars can’t even have their own personalities now.
Bleak Future for Chinese Dramas Based on BL Novels
While there aren’t specific details about the boycott, it still spells bad news for production companies as the whole slew of dangai dramas that have yet to be released or are still under production may now either have to be trashed or attempt a different strategy to make its way to audience’s screens. Meanwhile, it seems audiences will have to say goodbye to any more boys love narratives at least in the near future.
[CORRECTION]: The boycott is on the supremacy of liuliang traffic stars, not traffic stars themselves as misstated in an earlier version of this post.
No lies I miss the masculine look lol That’s why I was so in love with The Wolf cuase the main lead was not a pretty boy. Though i have nothing against pretty boys either. Just the industry is over saturated with that image for a while now. I am sure that image will be coming back in a decade or so. Seems to be the trend.
+1 to your comment. I am also tired of slim overly made up boys onscreen. I don’t mind pretty boys, but when they look like they can be snapped like a twig or has more makeup than me, I start to question their role and whether they can pull off “masculine” personality. I also enjoyed Darren Wang’s The Wolf.
I’m also agreeing with you. I don’t like a stick figure male lead. Chinese fans tend to fall for a super anorexic looking male and face full of makeup. Too feminine for my liking. I thought Xu Kai was so was looking when he first started. Until the obsessive stick-figure ideology came about. This dude was made fun of for his weight and he was average weight and very tall.
I’ve always hated it when super skinny actors get casted as generals or soldiers in an army. Like … that is so not convincing at all!!!!
I think your title and article should reflect that the ban is on effeminate styling and the liuliang phenomenon rather than “effeminate male celebs” and “traffic stars” as currently written. The celebrities themselves aren’t banned.
Everyone has their own preferences. The fact that the government is trying to control how a man “should look” is ridiculous. Sure, feminine looking men may not be your cup of tea but that doesn’t mean you ban them from appearing on screen. Black listing them because they don’t look masculine enough? What in the actual f*ck.
I think you need some perspective here. The celebrities are not banned or blacklisted. They probably can still wear what they like in their private lives. It’s what is shown to masses that is controlled.
As for BL dramas, why the heck must they be labelled as BL? A very close friendship, brotherhood (or sisterhood) without sexual connotation are just as heart warming. But admittedly, that might not drive viewership. Frankly, I also cannot understand why all this craving for BL, when really nothing sexual was actually shown? Are so many people so starved for sex that just a hint or suggestion could drive them over the moon? Gosh, if they need this kind of thing, there are plenty of sites catering for the real thing.
Why the he k are they labeled BL? Really? Maybe because the source material that these series are based on BL novels. Your assumption that BL is equivalent to sexual desire says more about you than others. You may want to re-examine your own inner deep desires before criticizing others.
You do realize a lot of people watching these don’t watch them for a sexual reason but the romance or potential romance? Why does everything have to go back to sex? I don’t watch (and I know many others don’t either) dramas or BL dramas for sexual gratification but the plots or romances and the entertainment.
That surprise amuses me. People keep forgetting China is not a democratic country, but a dictatorship. They allow some sort of freedom, because they found out it gives them money that keeps them from the end of all the other communist regimes – they all practicly went bankrupt, which helped in their fall. But being different, standing out is not desirable for the regime. It isn’t so long, when European communist countries kept all the men with other than the approved shortcuts on file and secret police kept an eye on them as if they were members of a gang.
This tolerance of BL dramas and different looks was nice, while it lasted, but it was obvious it wouldn’t be forever. In the past, every softer period in communist regimes ended with tanks and similar. We can be glad it probably won’t happen this time.
I mean, I love C-dramas as all the people here, but I’m not naive about China.
About time, I kind of tire of seeing males that look sickly skinny and having too much makeup or too pale. I really don’t know why C-ent is copying white/pale looking aspect from S. Korea, a lot of their male actors are not sickly skinny whereas some C-actors are downright anorexia.
Let man have a normal body and we just appreciate them for their natural look instead of forcing them to be skinny and pale. Same thing with women too, let them have a normal body please.
Why are you skinny shaming? There is no normal body type contrary to what you said. Different body types exist
I’m not skinny shaming, just stating what I see as being a problem. Some are overly skinny that they don’t even eat a proper meal and everything was at a minimum. I would like for the actors and actresses to have a healthy lifestyle and have a normal body with fat and muscle. It’s one thing to be skinny but it’s different when they don’t eat just to maintain a skinny body. It’s also normal for people to gain weight as they aged but these actors and actresses maintain the body weight of a 20s something when they don’t need to be.
If you honestly believe most of them are healthy then just considered me mean. I don’t believe most of them are healthy skinny.
Instead you are forcing them to have a manly appearance. You do realize this goes both ways? Instead of being forced to be skinny now they are being forced to have a different image. It doesn’t matter which way it goes. Atleast with looking skinny it was more of an aesthetic thing and a choice, but now it’s a government dictate which doesn’t let people in the industry be thin and effeminate and takes away that choice from them.
Good going CPC! On WeTV website, u can see the disgusting array of homosexual themed series in the anime section. Homosexuality is a societal disease. Companies like Tencent shouldnt be catering to this kind of disease…
No YOU and people like you (Chinese government) are the social plague that spread like a virus with your bigotry. Just because you are a bigoted individual doesn’t mean the world should cater to you. Why are you browsing the anime section for BL/gay themed anyhow? Lol it’s always the ones the protest the loudest that have something to declare.
HOW TO CONFESS YOU’RE A BIGOT, WITHOUT SAYING YOU’RE A BIGOT.
Excuse me, nobody forcing you to watch of homosexual themed series in the anime section??? Why don’t you move to the cave and stay there!!! Your mind thinking is truly a disease that can’t be cure!!! So sad!!! RIP to YOU
This comment section is gross. Just say you are homophobic.
Why are people so bothered by BL? It’s not like there’s a shortage of BG dramas for you to watch. If BL is not to your taste then don’t eat it. Watch what you like and let other people watch what they like. It’s a simple concept.
And all of you shaming actors who are not “manly” enough for you. I wonder if you’d have the same energy when CCP starts defining what is acceptable womanly appearances and what is not. I think its so gross and antiquated to place men and women in restrictive boxes… like hello 1950’s! What’s next? Acceptable jobs men & women are allowed to have?
LOL, it only took 1 article to lure out all of the homophobic bigots. I welcome their comments, it’s good to see who the vile bigots are so society can expose them in the light. We see you , Hunter2020, Unicorn, it good to know who you guys cater to. And to the others commenters, shame on you! Instead of being appalled by such actions here you are arguing the merit of guys in skinny jeans or being too skinny, wtf? Flip the script and this was said about female actresses, they could not be overweight or have short haircuts in fear they might look too masculine? Shame on you and not condemning such actions. Seriously do you people have no moral compass?
Noooo. This is so sad!
Oh well. No more C-dramas for me, I suppose. I will have to get my fix and spend my money elsewhere. Shame though, these dramas and liulang idol actors are a form of soft power that China needs.
I didnt watch BL dramas. Just not my cup of tea. So i dont really care about this regulation. I also prefer masculine guys. That’s why i love seeing Zhou Yiwen in The Rebel Princess. But i also like guys like Xu Kai and Allen Ren Jialun.
It’s just my preference tho.
How about the dramas that finished filming? Cancel? Or waiting for the regulation to change again?
Do they think policing their people’s clothes and general aesthetic will produce healthy and happy citizens with long lives? This rule will hurt the common people who don’t follow this aesthetic. Homophoblc ldlots will feel empowered by this rule and start bulIying people who don’t follow this look.
Well this is where I stop watching CDramas then! if the government wants to be homophobic even though homosexuality is as old as humanity is then I don’t need to invest my time giving them views. It is disgusting that it’s almost the 2022 and this is the shit they are worried about instead of making the world a better place!
Freedom of speech
China being China. I’m just wondering why they’re not doing the same thing for female stars. If they want a healthier public image, there’s no need to discriminate. There are a lot of “sickly” looking actresses as well. I guess they don’t have a problem with a woman looking sickly, because that appeals to their taste. That’s why there’s always a problem when a bunch of old, grumpy, salty, disgusting old men are in charge of making rules.
Considering they want to bring back “traditional gender roles”; I wouldn’t be surprised if lotus feet become a beauty ideal for women again.
Homophobia disgusts me
Instead of moving forward, the C-Government moved backwards, they disgust me, with their control and homophobic outlook… My heart goes out to those who are open minded and is part of the LGBT+ community in CN
Oh well, this is why I am glad I don’t live in CN.
One thing I need to say though, don’t like, don’t watch/read. No one is pointing a gun at you to engage with it. Learn to be more open minded, and let others enjoy it and not ruin for them, this is all fiction afterall. But with this decisions, they sure not know how to separate fiction from reality. Such a disappointment. Way to show the world how close minded the CCP are with their decision…
I’m a firm believer of freedom of choice. If C-entertainment can’t give me what I want, I’ll go elsewhere. Crying about it here, or anywhere really, won’t make a difference as 1) I’m not Chinese, and 2) the authorities won’t care.
I just feel sorry for the poor individuals who will be adversely affected by this.
I can’t imagine if I was part of LGBTQ community and living in China …it will be living hell …
Wow so many homophobics in this comment section. BL’s are not for your sexual desire and there’s a million heterossexual romances that fill you conservative taste. You shouldn’t congratulate a ban