For fans of K-pop, the idea of a man wearing make-up is not a new one. Nor is the lengthy process male and female idols alike undertake to maintain beautiful skin.

This is believed to go deeper into a sense of masculinity in South Korea. BBC News explores this in an in-depth article about the rise in ‘soft masculinity’ and the notion of the ‘Flowerboy’.

It certainly makes for an interesting read. Covering how masculity in the country has changed throughout history and what it means to young Korean men today.

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.”

The article explores how K-pop helped kick start this newer male beauty culture. It also emphasises the fact that a male practising good skincare and wearing make up is not often considered feminine (as it usually is in Western cultures).

They came to be known as Khonminam – combining the words for flower and a beautiful man. She says it takes inspiration from similar concepts in Japan of bishonen or beautiful boys and Shojo manga – girls comics.

But it’s not feminine.

“I think the phenomenon should rather be explained through the notion of hybrid or versatile masculinity – soft yet manly at the same time – which is different from effeminised,” says Dr Jung.”

You can read the full article here.

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[Source: BBC News website].


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