I came across a FASCINATING article describing the phenomenon of South Korean men wearing make-up. Lots of it.
But this isn’t some niche, transvestite or special-occasion-costume-y kind of thing.
This formally macho society is seeing male make-up as a way to gain the upper hand in a fierce economy, and the attention of women in a growing feminist culture. In this culture “first impressions are very important” (well…I think that’s true anywhere, we just don’t like to admit it). So you need to look your best.
Let me ‘splain further: Men see appearance as another tool in their tool box to give them the edge they need to be hired, respected, and promoted in the work place. It goes beyond typical grooming though. These men will use make-up on their skin, and, unlike most American men, they don’t deny it. Even girlfriends apply their own lipstick onto their boyfriends’ mouths!
But it gets even better. Over the past few decades, S. Korea has experienced a sea change with regard to women’s equality. This all started during the economic troubles of the late 90’s, when women were pushed out of jobs so men could keep theirs. Women starting protesting their social, economic and political status in S. Korea. And, in turn, they started questioning the kinds of men society was telling them were attractive. This was the time that a group of “flower men” emerged: “a group of exceptionally good-looking, smooth-skinned, fashionable sports stars and celebrities who found great success selling male cosmetics.” Women flocked to them and men emulated them.
Hmmmm. Not sure if I would be attracted to men in lipstick, but I sure could go for better smelling, cleaner shaved, leaner physiques surrounding me everyday 😉