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Tongzhi LivingMen Attracted to Men in Postsocialist China$
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Tiantian Zheng

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816691999

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816691999.001.0001

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Popular Perceptions of Homosexuality in Postsocialist China

Popular Perceptions of Homosexuality in Postsocialist China

(p.47) Chapter 2 Popular Perceptions of Homosexuality in Postsocialist China
Tongzhi Living

Tiantian Zheng

University of Minnesota Press

Chapter 2 captures current social attitudes toward homosexuality in postsocialist China. This chapter argues that social attitudes toward homosexuality are not as open and tolerant as previous researchers have ascertained. Interviews with civilians and an analysis of media coverage suggest a common understanding of homosexuality as a perversion often caused by poor parenting, mistakes in child-rearing techniques, traumatizing experiences with the opposite sex, and misidentification of gender roles. Homosexuality has become a scapegoat on which is displaced anxiety over current social problems such as dissolved marriages and the AIDS epidemic. Although a dissolved family is pinpointed as one of the key factors that can lead to a child’s homosexuality, the media also portray homosexuality not only as a public menace and a threat to the family but also as a metaphor for passive masculinity and a national crisis, reminiscent of the colonial past when China was defeated by the colonizing West and plagued by its image as the Sick Man of East Asia. It is believed that building a strong manhood and sharpening proper male gender roles are required to revive and strengthen the nation.

Keywords:   Postsocialist China, cultural critique, media and culture, social issues, homosexuality, manhood, gender studies

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