Homosexual Discourse for China

My critical discourse analysis class is getting interesting. The professor has assigned small group presentation topics. All five topics are related to homosexuality. Pepe and I have “homosexuality in the West.” Yeah, pretty huge topic. Other topics are pretty narrow, such as “lesbians in China.”

Just as a reminder about what we’re going to be analyzing:

> Discourse analysis challenges us to move from seeing language as abstract to seeing our words as having meaning in a particular historical, social, and political condition. Even more significant, our words (written or oral) are used to convey a broad sense of meanings and the meaning we convey with those words is identified by our immediate social, political, and historical conditions. Our words are never neutral (Fiske, 1994)! This is a powerful insight for home economists and family and consumer scientists (We could have a whole discussion about the meaning that these two labels convey!). We should never again speak, or read/hear others’ words, without being conscious of the underlying meaning of the words. Our words are politicized, even if we are not aware of it, because they carry the power that reflects the interests of those who speak. Opinion leaders, courts, government, editors, even family and consumer scientists, play a crucial role in shaping issues and in setting the boundaries of legitimate discourse (what is talked about and how) (Henry & Tator, 2002). The words of those in power are taken as “self-evident truths” and the words of those not in power are dismissed as irrelevant, inappropriate, or without substance (van Dijk, 2000). [source]

It’s also important to note that discourse includes not only traditional language, but all forms of symbols contained in advertising, media, fashion, etc.

So my idea was to examine what’s going on with the term “metrosexual.” Here are some questions I think are worth exploring:

– Does the “metrosexual” style, by making stereotypical visual clues of homosexuality ambiguous, serve to bring homosexuals closer into society? (Is it a sign of greater tolerance?)
– Are the “sterotypical visual clues” just ridiculous or are they significant?
– How do homosexuals feel about the metrosexual phenomenon? How does it impact the gay community?
– Why is “metrosexual” strictly a male phenomenon? What’s going on there with the gender dynamic?

I’d be interested in hearing my readers’ ideas on this. Helpful links are also welcome. I haven’t really been in the US for most of the metrosexual phenomenon, and I don’t know how widespread it is either.

The presentation will be a mere 10-15 minutes long, so we don’t need to go super in-depth. We also need to provide visuals with a PowerPoint presentation.

I was never particularly interested in homosexual studies, but somehow discussing it in grad school in China makes it way more interesting to me. (By the way, Pepe says “metrosexual” in Chinese is 都市玉男. I’m a little disappointed that the -sexual (-性恋) got nuked in the translation.)

Note: Hateful, ignorant, and useless comments will never see the light of day.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. As far as my very limited anecdotal evidence goes, I do not personally know of a single gay man who would call himself “metrosexual.” It seems pointless either way. (If it is relevant, I live in a large city in the northeast US.)

    I think it is very intriguing that you are considering this question:
    Why is “metrosexual” strictly a male phenomenon? What’s going on there with the gender dynamic?

    Presuming that metrosexual males are those who are more in touch with their feminine side, will you operate on the assumption that “metrosexual females” then be those who are even more in touch with their feminine side than most women? Or do you mean the opposite of that? In that case, I think it wouldn’t be metrosexuality. A different term and approach would have to be coined.

    I am not proving to be helpful. Alas.

  2. EM,

    Metrosexuals are, by definition, heterosexuals.

    As for why there’s no corresponding female metrosexual classification, I suspect that’s a result of our current gender roles and a male-dominated society.

  3. There was an article in Salon about this a few years back:

    Meet the Metrosexual

    According to that article, metrosexuality is all about the visual stereotypes, because it’s all about vanity of appearances. As for its relationship to homosexuality, I guess that means the only connection is the stereotype that homosexual men are all vain about their appearance – the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy stereotype, in which all gay men are fashion queens or hairdressers.

    If metrosexuality is all about buying moisturizer and obsessing about your ass, then it can’t really be applied to women, since that’s long been a societal norm for women. Interestingly, the author suggests metrosexuality has more to do with hetero men having to pimp themselves to hot, successful women than it does homosexuality. After all, no independent woman wants to be seen with some skanky guy.

  4. Hahahaha!

    (Man, to go from Marxist theory to queer theory… god your class sounds like a hoot.)

    Um…in response to your first question…in a word no. I don’t think it’s a sign of greater tolerance towards homosexuals because tht concept of”metrosexuality” itself really has little to do with either homosexual orientation or identity. Its still constructed within a heteronormative and patriarchal paradigm. And I think It says less about any changing attitudes on gay culture than it does about our ambivalnence towares urban culture.

    As for impact on gay community…um, dunno. Might wreack havoc on the gaydar perhaps?

    (Argh, dont mind me. I’m prety much exhausted and hungover and incoherent right now.)

  5. Why is “metrosexual” strictly a male phenomenon? What’s going on there with the gender dynamic?

    Simple. That already happened for women decades ago. My mom, for example is a doctor who rides motorcycles. It’s just not that big of a deal for women to do either anymore. Likewise, straight women have been wearing pants and engaging in sports in large numbers for decades.

    Straight men who become hair-stylists or start wearing make-up and purfume are still more shocking to us.

  6. I’m not sure how come you’ve brought up ‘metrosexual’ in a topic about homosexuals. Just because of the ‘-sexual’ part? I think the term evolved just from a need to describe some of the ‘new males’ of generation X.

    I was still in the U.S. when the term first started to get press, it seems to have transferred over to Asia now, at least in the mags that are transposing U.S. articles to Asia-editions, like Cosmo, GQ, Elle, etc.

    I don’t think in the U.S. metrosexual brings up any connotation of homosexual. The term is for young (male/hetro) yuppies, into their looks, into spas, etc.

    There’s a hilarious episode in SATC, Sex and the City about Samantha or one of them and her encounter with the new sex behavior. Ie. guy with boyfriend, and girlfriend, then boyfriend, then girlfriend. Sorry I don’t remember the episode title, but since you’re doing ‘research’, I’d recommend it. SATC was a cultural barameter of the talk around the ‘water cooler.”

  7. I kind of like that translation of metrosexual, actually – the English only has ‘sexual’ there because it’s riffing on homosexual; 都市性向 is more direct but 都市玉男 has a better ring to it than that or other possible translations like 都市美形男.

  8. Speaking as a gay man coming from the northeastern part of the US, metrosexuality has pretty much nothing to do with homosexuality. Often, metros share the gay disdain of things that they consider ‘uncultured’ (rednecks, homophobia, and all the associated cultural/mental accouterments), but other than that, the connections become much less meaningful. Straights are straights, and gays continue to be gays–and one of the things that means is that, from the gay point of view at least, gays are more likely to share a historical distrust of straights and be less likely to want to have close, intimate relationships with them based on their sexual orientation and its history. But to make a statement comparing or equalizing gays and metros is insulting to my mind, as it co-opts gay history and achievements, assuming an equal place in society which certainly isn’t a part of the gay experience of today.

    Gays I know are somewhat ambivalent about metros, in that we welcome them as other men who have a pretty firm handle on themselves and their own characters, instead of simply falling into lockstep with the male cultural archetype. Still, goodwill is mitigated again by the fact that, though they may actually have some semblance of style, in the end, they’re straight.

    If I were you, I would absolutely want to talk about gays in western culture as tall-heterosexual-male society struggles to categorize us. They all understand that it’s no longer okay for them to hate us, but, as I see it, they’re also uncomfortable with us as we represent such a diverse range of people. Straights often refer to ‘gay culture,’ and though there certainly is such a thing, it is much deeper and stronger than heterosexual society is comfortable recognizing. Straight men like roles for people, as clearly evidenced by the somewhat narrow range of acceptable interests for straight men. In a male dominated society, straight men are both the oppressors and the most oppressed: their archetypes are much stronger than any other societal group. Women, for instance, no longer really pose a threat to male society, as it has lost control of them and can no longer efficaciously force its gender roles (cooking, cleaning, child-rearing, et cetera) on them. Gays have only recently separated themselves in any meaningful way from straights, and, as such, straight culture continues to seriously try to categorize gays into a few stereotypes. The question that then presents itself is, again, how are metros not beneficial to gays, as I had posited before? The answer is that metros give the straight men at the top of the ladder a model of someone who is gay…without actual sexual and emotional attraction to men. When they are more comfortable with this idea and transport it to their dealings with gays, a kind of artificial acceptance occurs, wherein the straight man accepts the gay one without actually accepting, understanding, or really acknowledging the fact he is, in fact, gay. How this struggle plays itself out in the media, advertising, and other arenas is complex and fascinating to me, and really shouldn’t be left out of your presentation.

    On the road to acceptance, gays are certainly further ahead than we were, say, 20 years ago, but in order to gain full acceptance, male gender roles really have to change in a meaningful way. I speak from experience when I say that it took me years to realize that the reason I simply wasn’t attracted to girls was because I was gay. I came out in high school, much of which was spent realizing that sexual attraction to girls was more a society-constructed male gender role and that not being attracted to girls didn’t make me less male.

    One more bit of advice: try to avoid the English word ‘homosexual,’ which, studies have proven, actually brings to mind images of gay sex. While this is certainly a large part of the gay experience, it is certainly not all it is or can be. Another perhaps more important part is that we gays actually fall in love with the same sex, one thing I really like about the Chinese word for it. Instead, I would just use ‘gay.’ You can use ‘queer,’ too, but I think that one’s kind of stupid. Personal preference, I think.

    Anyway, hope I’ve been helpful.

  9. My own thought ties in a little to what Kit just wrote.
    I have this sense that the metrosexual is a heterosexual society’s attempt to “manage”, or perhaps “neutralise” an increasingly vocal and self-assertive gay “alterity”. Gays may still be a long way off of being accepted as a natural part of society (particularly in the US), but they are far more out there and more present in the public sphere than they were even 10 years ago. That really rattles the “heteronormative order” and so society tries to restabilise by neutralising the more visible irritants (a different way of putting gays back in the closet perhaps?). The result is phenomena like the metrosexual, but also the reappropriation of gays in acceptable formats (see the tv shows currently running in the US). that’s sort of a macro-view of things.
    I guess the next step would be to look at how that plays out at the micro-level. How come advertising plays such a big role in all this? How did that come to be?, etc.

  10. Da Xiangchang Says: October 10, 2006 at 3:35 am

    Does the “metrosexual” style, by making stereotypical visual clues of homosexuality ambiguous, serve to bring homosexuals closer into society? (Is it a sign of greater tolerance?)

    Yes, but WHICH society? Heterosexual CHinese guys act so gay–holding hands, etc.–it’s actually quite hard, just from visual cues, to guess a gay Chinese guy from a straight one. So I don’t think being “meterosexual” in China means anything. In America, meterosexuals only bring acceptance to places already accepting of gays–i.e., liberal states like NY and California. In redneck states–the South, the Bible Belt–I’d imagine it hasn’t changed at all; you might get your ass kicked for being gay!

    Are the “sterotypical visual clues” just ridiculous or are they significant?

    VERY significant. I can pretty much tell a typical gay AMerican guy within 30 seconds of meeting him. And remember: I said “typical.” I have a gay coworker who acts straighter than anyone so who knows? And again, straight Chinese guys act so gay, I can’t tell straight from homosexual.

    How do homosexuals feel about the metrosexual phenomenon? How does it impact the gay community?

    I don’t know–I’m not gay as far as I know. Maybe I’m still in the closet.

    Why is “metrosexual” strictly a male phenomenon? What’s going on there with the gender dynamic?

    Of course, it’s a male phenomenon cuz among women, it’s natural to put on dress nice, be fixated on their looks, etc. “Meterosexual” for men is “normal” for women.

  11. Dowload the South Park on bit torrent, entitled South Park is Gay!, season 7 episode 8. That’ll tell you all you need to know. It takes all points of view into consideration, both gay and straight- including the Crab People.

    Metrosexual to my knowledge was a term coined by someone who meant it as a neutral or even favorable term, as media stories were abuzz about the “rise of the metrosexual”, as if men had suddenly reoriented their personalities and sexuality. It quickly became derogatory for obvious reasons. Essentially, straight men stop calling each other gay and instead substitute metrosexual.

  12. Time had an article on “Asia’s Metrosexuals” a while back:


  13. I disagree with Kit’s wild stereotyping: not all homosexuals are snappy dressers, and not all metrosexuals are more in touch with their inner-selves. Actually I think the term “metrosexual” is a little ugly: it’s an obvious wordplay on homosexuals, and the perception that they’re all fashion-conscious dandies.

    But that’s more to do with the origins of the word. I don’t think metrosexuals (as a term or as a trend) have much to do with homosexuals, or even stereotypes of homosexuals.

  14. I agree with Da Xiangchang, it seems China is filled to the rim with Meterosexuals. Doesn’t it seem like all the guys here are skinny little wimps that treat you friendly? Open up the music collection of some average zhou here, and it’s all pop-rock and soft stuff. The most masculine person I’ve met was some old lady wearing a Pantera shirt (though I’m sure she had no idea who they were).

    On the other hand, China is full of manly-girls. What’s up with the Supergirl show and its punks with no breasts? I’m disappointed every year as the girls with either talent or boobies (rarely both) are booted off the show, only to be beat by she-men. Why???!!

  15. Lantian,

    I’m not sure how come you’ve brought up ‘metrosexual’ in a topic about homosexuals. Just because of the ‘-sexual’ part? I think the term evolved just from a need to describe some of the ‘new males’ of generation X.

    I think the two are definitely connected. Not only morphologically, but also with regards to characteristic traits. In the Salon article linked to above, it says right at the top of the article: “He’s well dressed, narcissistic and obsessed with butts. But don’t call him gay.”

    “Metrosexual” may not apply directly to gays, but there’s definitely a strong connection. Note also Matt’s comment (#11) above: “[‘metrosexual’] quickly became derogatory for obvious reasons. Essentially, straight men stop calling each other gay and instead substitute metrosexual.”

  16. zhwj,

    I kind of like that translation of metrosexual, actually – the English only has ‘sexual’ there because it’s riffing on homosexual; 都市性向 is more direct but 都市玉男 has a better ring to it than that or other possible translations like 都市美形男.

    But I think that the whole “riffing on homosexual” part of the word is an essential part of it. I used the word “disappointed” not because I personally like the word, but because I think that the loss of the “-sexual” part is significant.

  17. Kit,

    Thanks for your comment.

    It certainly didn’t mean to equate the terms metrosexual and homosexual. What I am examining is the interaction between the coinage and usage of the term ‘metrosexual’ in mainstream society and the gay community. Critical discourse analysis is frequently about linguistic power struggles, and I think that the term “metrosexual” is an example of this. Could the word somehow be empowering to homosexuals (looks like a no there), or is it a new effort at depriving homosexuals social recognition by reaffirming stereotypes? From a CDA perspective, there’s definitely some sort of power struggle is going on there, and the analysis you gave is just the kind of thing I’d like to talk about. You have been very helpful.

    (Oh, and sorry about my use of the word “homosexual”… I think I do it out of some kind of complusion for morphological parallels…)

  18. Da Xiangchang,

    As I stated in the original post, the presentation will be about gays in the West. “Metrosexual” is a term coined and used in the West, and relates to Western gender definitions. It’s not appropriate to apply the term metrosexual to Chinese men.

    Good to know that your convictions about the truth of stereotypes applies not only to your views of races and ethnicities, but also to sexual orientations. At least you’re consistent.

  19. Da Xiangchang Says: October 10, 2006 at 2:03 pm


    Well, stereotypes of homosexuals–well-dressed, well-groomed, prissy–generally seem valid to me, but I live in LA where even many straight guys are like that. Still, I remember growing up, people would say of so-and-so that “he’s well-dressed” immediately followed by “Is he gay?” I mean, a lot of people in life thought I WAS gay cuz (to use Chip’s words) I’m a “skinny little wimp” (though definitely not well-dressed). I don’t know how gay Americans are outside LA–maybe they’re manly Brokeback Mountain men–but from the gay people I’ve observed, they’ve fit the stereotype rather well. (Except for my coworker, the straight-acting gay guy. He’s frigging out of shape, smokes, and dresses like a dork. I didn’t even know he was gay for 2 years until I said to him, “What did you do over vacation, chase girls?” His reply: “Well, that’s a little hard for me to do since I’m gay.” I felt like Mr. Retard at that moment.) I’ll add one more trait to gay guys: every single one of them I’ve met–with NO exceptions this time–has been considerably smarter than the average straight person.

  20. Da Xiangchang,

    Well, stereotypes of homosexuals—well-dressed, well-groomed, prissy—generally seem valid to me, but I live in LA where even many straight guys are like that.

    OK, so you’re saying you believe that gays fit the “well-dressed” stereotype, but they’re not the only ones that fit that description.

    Then you go on to an example of how you’re not gay but people think you are because you fit some aspects of the stereotype, and how you know one guy who’s gay but doesn’t fit the stereotype. Do you think he’s the only one?

    It seems to me like you should be concluding that the stereotype doesn’t reflect reality.

    If there are gays that fit the stereotype perfectly, couldn’t it be that they are using the stereotype as an easy way to express their homosexuality to a society that shies away from (or rejects) a more comprehensive understanding?

  21. Da Xiangchang,

    I can pretty much tell a typical gay AMerican guy within 30 seconds of meeting him.

    Ever consider there are people whose sexual preference you don’t know? I know you said ‘typical’, but perhaps it’s only the typical gays that you recognize as gay. You (and most of us) don’t recognize 90% of the rest.

    Sorry to be negative, I don’t mean to discourage discussion at all. John, I know your research is confined to the West, but just a couple of comments, if I may.

    First, Chinese men. They seem to take a lot of unnecessary hits in blogs. Yes, they don’t seem macho in the Western sense, but we’re viewing it through our own perspectives of what is masculine. A friend brought up an interesting point the other day – in the male version of Supergirl, “Good Man” (can we call it that?) the guys are pretty close to androgynous looking. But who votes for them? 12-16 year-old girls I suspect. Are the ‘non-masculine’ traits that Chinese men display driven and conditioned by what Chinese women want?

    Second, while spending 5 weeks in Egypt a few years back I got a crash course in cross-cultural differences. I really only met one Egyptian woman since the rest were shuttered away, and she was rich and able to break social rules. (Could it be that all metrosexuals are well-off and able to afford to be vain?) Anyway, men in Egypt often hold hands, and an older man will take you by the arm or hand to cross the street. I experienced this first hand and there was nothing sexual about it at all. (At the time 30 youths were on trial in Alexandria for “immoral” behavior, charged under an unacceptably vague law only being enforced because Alexandria had gained the rep as being a gay haven in the Middle East, thus upsetting the conservatives.)

    I think the first example highlights the point made earlier that metrosexuality is a Western concept that grew out of local gender stereotypes and gender categorization – and possibly the breakdown of some of the categories. I haven’t read the Time article 88 mentioned yet though… the page wouldn’t load. The second example was merely directed at this idea of ‘typical’ gay characteristics and how our idea of what’s ‘typical’ is quite West-centric.

    John, I take it that you’ve chosen to focus on the term metrosexual as a way of refining the massive topic assigned to you. I think any CDA studies involving the gay community have rich potential, though I agree with Kit that gay culture is a larger and broader concept than we give it credit for. I do see your angle on the power struggle involved with terminology, though I’m not sure how strong it is with metro.

    I realize I’ve rambled. Hope it’s relatively coherent.

  22. I know the term is a more recent invention, but I think this metrosexual phenomenon has its roots in the 80s. When I think back on some of my older brother’s friends in high school — eyeliner, 2 quarts of gel in their dyed hair, obsessed with fashion, always reading GQ and listening to The Cure, but not gay — I imagine that today most of those guys would be labeled “metrosexuals.”

    Also, do you remember when the word “metrosexual” cropped up in the 2004 presidential campaign? Fox News created a quote that they attributed to Kerry in which he supposedly said, “Women should like me! I do manicures. I’m metrosexual — he’s a cowboy.”


    This was obviously meant as a slander in the Fox “news” universe. I think you can see the connection to “homosexual” in this context (at least in their minds).

  23. A quote to pick up on Kit’s thoughts about heterosexuals being uncomfortable with gay culture and their attempts to categorize and oppress it. From Homer of course:

    “I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my homosexuals flaming.”

    (I wonder if that’s the Homer everyone was expecting.) I think this is a mainly North American phenomenon. Why are we so uncomfortable with anything that’s not black or white? It seems Europeans are much more able to deal with complexities and subtleness. Vain, narcissistic Italian men who are nonetheless heterosexual are nothing new. I’ve always viewed Europeans as being more metrosexual in nature though the term didn’t exist before relatively recently.

  24. I think one could argue the so-called “metrosexual” image in China was part of larger changes taking place in society about how you show off power and status.

    As much as some foreigners like bag on “effeminate” Chinese men, the alpha men you meet around China (local officials, owners of coal mines, etc) are as macho as they come – temrs of hard drinking, smoking, cussing, and flaunting their women.

    The “Metrosexual” style shows power in a different way by showing knowledge of international trends, brands, etc – and this knowledge is usually found mainly in sections of the population that are exposed to foreign countries, and people with these links are often better off.

    Personally I’d much rather hang out with dudes with a love of baijiu and a man-purse of smuggled cigarettes, but to each his/her own . . .

  25. Da Xiangchang Says: October 11, 2006 at 6:51 am


    “It seems to me like you should be concluding that the stereotype doesn’t reflect reality.” Not at all. Stereotypes never are 100% true; they just reflect the GENERAL trend within a population (and if you noticed, I always specify that well-groomed, prissy homo stereotype is “generally” true). Just cuz Yao Ming is 7 and a half feet tall doesn’t disprove the stereotype than Chinese are generally (vis-a-vis Caucasians) short. Just cuz I’m a straight guy with some homo qualities or that gay coworker acts/looks straight doesn’t disprove gay guys are GENERALLY better-groomed and prissier than straight guys.

    “If there are gays that fit the stereotype perfectly, couldn’t it be that they are using the stereotype as an easy way to express their homosexuality to a society that shies away from (or rejects) a more comprehensive understanding?”

    No, I don’t think gays do this. Most men in America find metrosexuals annoying cuz they act kind like women–i.e., homosexual. Why would gays act in ways that REINFORCE their gayness? If they want more acceptance, they would to be more “manly” and not less. What manly means, I don’t know cuz I ain’t manly. Play football, drink beer, whatever, I don’t know.

    The “comprehensive understanding” of homosexuals will never exist simply cuz homosexuals will NEVER convince straight men that the homosexual act–kissing another guy, having sex with another guy–is as natural as a hetero act. But finding homosexual sex disturbing isn’t the same as being homophobic. I personally find banging another guy to be rather repulsive, but I’m still for gay marriage cuz I believe gays are born gay; therefore, to deny them marriage, is a total violation of equal rights.

  26. Good on ya Steve for sticking up for Chinese men. I just spent a week in the countryside- no shortage of hard men out there, but a definite lack of ‘Metrosexuals’ (whatever they are).

  27. About what Steve and Kris says. In your ‘research’ I think it would be interesting for you to see where some of these words developed and how they entered into the vernacular. “Metrosexual” was very much media driven and probably a push to sell ‘product’ more than anything else.

    To compare and contrast, the entertainment industry produced ‘hao nan er’ with their Menudo and BackStreet Boys like contestants are certainly a skewed view of Chinese guys. Like Steve mentioned, many Chinese guys are about as husky, spit-spewing as they come. This image does not filter into the western media.

    It reminds me of the ‘urban myth’ that Chinese people have a gene that doesn’t produce a protein that processes alcohol. Thus a drinker’s face will turn bright red much easier. In the west this has filtered ‘up’ into people thinking Chinese people don’t drink. But has anyone noticed the prevalance of liquour stores in China?

    Yup, I think that’s the task for John — go interview some writers of these articles, the perps of ‘jargon’. That’s why blogs are the real deal, we can say and read what we want here – un ‘CNN, BBC, Cosmo, Time, Newsweek’ filtered.

  28. Lantian,

    Whoa, whoa… this is just a 10-15 minute presentation, not a thesis. I’ll research as best I can in preparation, but there’s only so much we can possibly cover in the time allotted.

  29. Hi John, here is the link for 爱白, probably the best Homosexual site in china: http://www.aibai.cn.

    Well there is a group of volunteers working for that website, and together with another NGO called Aizhixing(which is HIV/AIDS oriented NGO, http://www.aizhi.net ), they did lots of work for LGBT people(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender),mostly in china. Some professours from APA used to be invited to the summer camp they hold for both homo and heter college students and give them lectures, which is quite interesting and useful:P

    anyway, gerenally i think it will be better if more ppl are getting away of homophobia… big issue to cover in your presentation, so…good luckxD

  30. David Webb Says: October 16, 2006 at 12:02 am

    Can I comment on metrosexual? There are a few magazines in China, eg “menbox” and “君子风采” which seem clearly designed towards the homosexual market in China, but include occasional pictures of scantily clad females as well as many pictures of scantily clad males. So they have a bit of a metrosexual feel to them. I wonder how many straight Chinese men read them without realising they are really geared towards homosexuals??

    I have a theory, which may be right or wrong, but interesting anyway. When growing up in the West, from a fairly young age, children are aware of the various sexuality alternatives available to them, and in the school playground there is a large amount of teasing on the gay vs. straight them, particulary among males. So I think that men in the West tend to grow up as explicitly straight or gay men, with a small number of bisexuals in-between, but very, very few people who have never thought of the question. Consequently, few straight men in the West are potential converts to a gay lifestyle.

    In China, this subject is not discussed as much, and indeed it is possible to grow up in China and reach adulthood without knowing the mechanics of sex – there are some examples in various newspaper pieces I have read of couples who went to the doctor to find out why they had not had children, and the reason was they did not know about “the birds and the bees”. So I think many Chinese men grow up without the explicit self-definition as heterosexual that is normal in the West. Their eventual marriage is just part of the life planned out (and indeed most Chinese homosexuals get married to women in order to please their parents…) As I consequence I do not believe that Chinese male sexuality is as self-consciously divided into gay vs. straight as in the West. But: owing to the strong social taboos etc, there are many or even most Chinese who fear the notion of homosexuality as “not normal” or whatever. In other words: there is a social taboo, but not necessarily a barrier in terms of sexual orientation, among many Chinese men.

  31. amazing to find this talk. I am thinking about the stigma on sissy gay men.
    Well, in Chinese

  32. gwenzhuzhu Says: July 30, 2008 at 9:37 am

    I have some inclination to Lesbian. But pushed by Chinese tradition, many girls like me must face marriage when they come to the age suitable for marriage. And around me many girls and boys in my opinion are bisexual, but they do not dear to say to their parents. To our chinese, people must get marriage when they can. Moreover, I admire the freedom of Western countries that homo can get marriage. So many examples in our country must have one kind life in daytime, and another life just called metrosex in the dark.
    In China, these years I find our young people even do not know what the marriage is? Just use me as example, I am 25, and my parents urgent to get a boy friend for me, so many boys I meet focus on the background of my family, just as owing a house, earning how much one year, They choose their spouse according to the money and profits. My classmates get married just for one year and now prepared to divorce, the couple just knew each other last half a year , they also did not consider whether they were sutiable to others.

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