The NRTA Requests to Ban “Sissy” Men from TV
On September 16, 2021, China’s NRTA (National Radio and Television Administration), or the government body responsible for determining what airs and what does not, released a notice saying it was “determined to boycott the trend of Danmei adaptations”, also known as Dangai, among other things.
This is part of a sweeping motion by the Chinese government to “clean up” and reform various sectors including corporate giants like Tencent and Alibaba, technology, education, and the entertainment industry.
What you need to know to understand this “boycott” is that this year brought a great purge to the Chinese entertainment industry. Several famous and popular stars including Wu Yifan (Kris Wu), Zheng Shuang, Huo Zun, Zhang Zhehan (actor who interpreted Zhou Zishou in Word of Honor), and Zhao Wei (known for her hit drama My Fair Princess), etc… were embroiled in massive scandals.
Zheng Shuang was involved in a series of surrogacy (illegal in China), tax evasion, Ying-Yang contracts, and child abandonment scandals, Huo Zun accused of serial cheating, Wu Yifan was detained due to r*pe accusations, Zhang Zhehan was accused of being pro-imperial Japan after pictures of him visiting the infamous Yasukuni shrine resurfaced online, Zhao Wei’s name was scrubbed from the Chinese internet and disappeared for a while without reason, etc…
The main takeaway is that this year was not a good one in the Chinese entertainment industry.
To “cleanse” the entertainment industry, the NRTA, as well as other government agencies, released a series of regulations (Qinglang Campaign) to control obsessive fan behavior, promote good social values, socialism, putting a limit to how much money a celebrity can get paid in China, banning fundraising for birthday gifts and the like, banning idol audition survival shows, making idols responsible for their fans’ behavior, and promote a “correct beauty standard”. This last part is the controversial one that I will be focusing on.
What Danmei/Dangai fans need to know:
China introduced “morality guidelines” for TV broadcasters and private streaming companies.
No effeminate men, girly guns, little fresh meat, sissy idols and actors, and “abnormal aesthetics”.
This means that no idol or actor should be promoted that has a traditionally feminine appearance. For example, no long hair, bright colored hair, nail polish, earrings, excessive and notable makeup, no dresses, skirts, or overly feminine clothing, no mannerisms or gestures that are also considered traditionally feminine, etc…
The NRTA released a notice saying that it would be “boycotting (among other things) the trend of Danmei adaptations.
Some say that the reason why this happened is because of companies and capitalists jumping in the bandwagon to make Danmei adaptations after how incredibly popular and profitable they became while diluting core socialist values and saturating the market.
Others say that this is clearly an excuse to push for homophobic and sexist legislation.
When a genre of drama gets too popular in China, harems, court intrigue, time traveling, Danmei adaptations, etc, the NRTA comes in to stop it. An explanation they put out for this is so that the market does not become saturated with the same genre of dramas which can lower the quality of dramas in general.
Many Chinese people, particularly women, are outraged because the terms “effeminate” and “sissy” are thrown around as a negative adjective. They are asking why is a man exhibiting traditionally feminine mannerisms and appearance considered beneath one that is more masculine. Why is feminine qualities inferior and undesirable?
Others are asking who gets to determine what is feminine and masculine as well as how that is determined in the first place.
Feminizing terms such as “baby” and “wife” to refer to men (idols and/or actors) are banned when promoting dramas.
The most recent news is that the NRTA will introduce 3 rounds of reviews. This means that, in order for a drama to pass, it must be reviewed 3 times.
What Does This Mean for the Future of Danmei Adaptations?
Danmei adaptations have not been completely banned. However, expect to see less air per year and be scrubbed of noticeable “bromance” to the degree we saw in Word of Honor.
What the NRTA is concerned with is how popular that genre has become, how many Danmei adaptations are being made, the marketing that promotes same-sex CPs, the fan culture of Danmei works, and the feminization of the male actors.
Curve your expectations for how much chemistry you will be seeing in the future in Danmei adaptions, unless a production wants to be particularly risky, I doubt we will have anything close to what we had before in other adaptations.
We’ll just have to wait and see…
PD: this also affects real life LGBTQ+ people. I’m aware of that but since my blog is dedicated to BL, I wrote mostly regarding the influence it will have on Danmei adaptations and the genre itself. Of course, you are welcomed to take this post and write how it will affect real life people and leave your comments in the replies.
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