What is it about?
There has been increasing societal discussion and criticism on the ‘lack of masculinity’ among Chinese young men. In response, Chinese Ministry of Education in 2021 advised schools to ‘foster the students’ masculinity’. The Chinese National Radio and Television Administration also set strict rules for casting and choosing performing styles, custom and makeup in order to eliminate the ‘abnormal aesthetic’ and the ‘male feminization’ in Chinese television, film and advertisement. At the same time, various war films and television shows present characters and circumstances that highlight ‘ideal’ masculine archetypes as well as the quality of a Chinese male character – patriotism, heroism, selflessness, strength, loyalty and intelligence. This article examines and compares the male images in two Chinese Korean War films, Shangganling (1956) and Changjinhu (2021). It analyses the changing portrait of male war characters based on three levels of analysis, namely nationhood, leadership and individuals. This study argues that the ‘masculinity crisis’ has led to the securitisation of Chinese masculinity, a process and outcome driven by the Chinese government’s continued efforts to control and channel the broad social and cultural changes which have impacted popular culture, sexuality, gender, and women’s rights and roles across Chinese society over the past several decades.
Photo by Jan Dommerholt on Unsplash
Why is it important?
This study examined the notion of Chinese masculinity in nationhood, leadership and individuals. It highlights that the potential securitisation of masculinity is particularly problematic as it proffers a culturalist approach to the use of force and coercion in foreign policy and is likely to create misperception towards other countries and their military capacity.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: ‘Be a real man for our motherland’: Masculinity and national security in Chinese Korean War films, Film Fashion & Consumption, November 2022, Intellect, DOI: 10.1386/ffc_00043_1.
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