Flowerboys and the appeal of 'soft masculinity' in South Korea
A man wearing make-up on the street may elicit unwelcome glares, questions about his masculinity and even his sexuality. But in South Korea, ideas about how to look good as a man are changing attitudes and influencing the world, as the BBC's Saira Asher reports. When the BBC posted a video about the make-up routine of a 16-year-old YouTuber in Seoul on Facebook, the reactions ranged from intrigued to downright vitriolic.
Some assumed this meant he was gay, while others admonished him for his choice saying "real men don't wear make-up". There were, of course, those that argued for his freedom to live life however he pleased and against the "fragile masculinities" on show. But Kim Seung-hwan is used to it. He says he's been called gay by some Koreans online for as long as he's been doing make-up tutorials.
When asked about whether he thought he looked feminine after he put on make-up, he was confused by the question as if he had never even thought about it. "No I don't. I do not think about this being a girly look," he says. "It's about looking good."
This doesn't mean every man in Seoul walks around with a full face of make-up. But in young and fashionable neighbourhoods like Myeung-dong it's common to see men walking around with foundation or BB cream (blemish balm) - a moisturiser and light foundation hybrid.
More importantly it has allowed for a much looser interpretation of what's acceptable for men when it comes to beauty. And some young Korean men are unapologetic about the drive to enhance their look. Ms Ardern said that if she had decided not to attend, that would have made her the first prime minister since 1971 to not attend the Pacific Islands Forum outside an election cycle.
1.Elicit = = to obtain something, esp. information or a reaction
2.Vitriolic = intentionally unkind or causing hurt
3.Admonish = to tell someone that they have done something wrong
1.How did the Facebook users react to the make up video of a 18-year-old YouTuber in Seoul?
2.What do people commonly see in fashionable neigbourhoods like Myeung-dong?
3.What is acceptable for men when it comes to beauty?
4.In your opinion, do you think is is acceptable for a man to wear make up? Explain.
5.What do you think are other ways for men to look good without make up?