People in China are becoming more tolerant of those who do not conform to traditional gender roles, according to a survey. Picture: A male performer in drag prepares to perform at a gay pride event in Shanghai. (Photo/CFP)
About 80% of China's public say they do not discriminate against feminine men or masculine women, according to a survey published in Thursday's (Jan. 27) China Youth Daily.
According to the newspaper's report, more than 33% of 2,019 respondents to an online survey said people who reverse traditional gender roles are "acceptable" or "very acceptable" to them.
46% of respondents said they feel neutral about this issue while only 20% said they cannot accept people who go against traditional gender roles.
This is good news, the newspaper quoted Fang Gang, director of the Institute of Sexuality and Gender Studies at the Beijing Forestry University, as saying, indicating Chinese society is becoming more open-minded and diversified.
Most of the survey's respondents said ambiguous gender characteristics can be found in one's hairstyle, clothes, behavior and personality.
There are many elements contributing to the rejection of traditional gender roles, said Li Xiaowen, a psychology professor at Shanghai's East China Normal University.
China's one-child policy may be related to the phenomenon, Li added.
A girl's parents may wish her to be self-dependent in the future and to that end make efforts to foster a more masculine assertiveness, Li said.
On the other hand, a boy's doting parents may stop him from playing typically male games and sports for fear he may be injured, Li added.
Li said the increasingly prevalent concept of sexual equality is also a reason for the gender blur.
About 67% of those surveyed said the popularity of a sexually-neutral appearance is also a major reason for the trend.
On the other hand, 65% of respondents expressed concern over the behvior of those who engage in "gender bending." They may be more likely to have problems in their family lives and may even bring about social problems, Li said.
Nonetheless, Fang Gang, as well as more than 28% of respondents, said there is no need to fuss over the trend of society becoming increasingly tolerant and inclusive.