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Regulating male aesthetics on tv–where and why it’s happening

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(Photo by: Lee Young-ho/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)
South Korean K-Pop boys group NCT U, attend a photo call for the '2021 Mnet Asian Music Awards' at CJ ENN Studio in Paju, South Korea on December 11, 2021.

It is no secret: Gender norms—those deeply rooted societal notions of how boys and girls/men and women should behave—have been changing for some time now. These shifts pushed beyond the gender binary, a construct that experts say forces people into one of two distinct gender-based categories.

The progress helped foster a culture of inclusivity around different gender identities and expressions that may depart from tradition, and which is becoming increasingly global and mainstream. While it has been a gradual change, some experts argue that authoritarian governments everywhere are attempting to exert ideological control over the gender discussion to enforce conformity and reinstall dated stereotypes. 

The latest example of this can be seen in China’s new policy that bans “effeminate” men from appearing on television broadcasts. In announcing the regulations, the Chinese government called for a “corrected beauty standard” and a boycott of certain forms of entertainment in an effort to promote “traditional Chinese culture, revolutionary culture, and socialist culture.” 

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