In China, the desire to be perceived as marriageable and successful has long driven men to adhere to a rigid (and largely unrealistic) model of masculinity – but societal shifts have sparked changes in attitudes. What does the ’modern man’ look like and what does he value in life?
Babette Radclyffe-Thomas is an award-winning fashion journalist, consultant, and academic who specialises in the Chinese fashion and beauty industries. She has worked at some of the most influential fashion and style publications in Asia and Europe, and is undertaking a PhD in fashion, gender, and identity in China.
Panos Dimitropoulos is the cultural practice lead for Asia and developing markets at Kantar Consulting. Currently based in Shanghai, he has successfully led brand strategy and expression, communications localisation, content optimisation, and innovation projects for major brands including Disney, Audi, L'Oréal, Lindt, IHG, Haier, Coca-Cola, and Diageo.
Felicia Schwartz is a cultural insight specialist with 14 years of experience in the Greater China region. She has worked widely across consumer goods as well as retail, luxury, and technology. An advertising veteran, Felicia is passionate about people and what motivates them, hence a career in strategic planning and consumer insights. She has researched Chinese women, children, young adults, and men for clients like L'Oreal, Ferrero, Nestle, and Maserati, and delivered cultural business skills to the DIT, EDF Energy, and Jaguar Land Rover.
The lives of Chinese Gen Zers – digital natives who grew up amid prosperity – are vastly different from their parents’. Yet while they’re feeling empowered and connected to the world, they’ve not shunned tradition entirely. How are apps, games, and fashion labels reminding youth of their heritage?
Low wages. Poor prospects. Constant pressure. Chinese youth are coping with their tough circumstances by adopting a bleak outlook on life known as sang. Manifested in memes, pop culture and self-deprecating consumerism, how can brands use this worldview to connect with struggling citizens?
Known as ‘Wang Hongs’, highly relatable internet stars in China now surpass bloggers when it comes to doing business with major brands. But the superficial nature of the lifestyles presented on social media can have a negative impact on the mental health of these influencers and their audiences.
In China, calling someone a diaosi – which directly translates as ’penis hair’ – isn’t an insult. On the contrary, millions of Chinese in dead-end jobs, with no car, house or girlfriend identify with the term, wearing it as a badge of honour. But could self-deprecation be a danger to society?