Beijing : Bad dress sense, crude demeanour, poor hygiene coupled with their inability to shake off their rural roots, the Chinese young and middle-aged men are turning out to be no match for their stylish, urbane and highly demanding female counterparts.

China’s increasingly assertive social media is abuzz over a teasing online comment posted by Zhao Lingmin, a media professional, saying Chinese men look like “college students newly enrolled from rural China”.

She said they do not care much about how they look or dress. Some have long fingernails and others have their hair totally dishevelled. Personal hygiene is another area ripe for complaint.              Such was the online furore over the falling stock of Chinese men that state-run China Daily featured the raging debate on its front page.

Zhao contends it is easy to tell Chinese male student’s apart from those coming from the rest of Asia. And those who have stayed a long time overseas dress smarter and have better manners than their counterparts inside China, she says adding this cuts across all social strata or age groups.

The women were immaculately dressed while the men next to them looked, well, like their servants, said the report.                 When they reach middle-age, argues Zhao, Chinese men seem to completely stop paying any attention to their appearance. According to Zhao, the main reason for the discrepancy in gender appearance is the fast pace of urbanisation in China.

Most Chinese have retained traces of rural living, including all the attention given to male heirs in the family. Women, she says, are less moored to the lifestyle of the countryside and quicker to adapt to city life.

Another reason is the role model set by those in power, who tend to be male. They are often arrogant, believing power or wealth can buy everything, asserts Zhao. The rudeness in manners is often reflected in the crudeness in demeanour.

K J M Varma    

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