South Korean Stars Break Gender Norms in Pop Culture

I think it’s safe to say that at this point K-POP has fully made its presence in Western culture without us even noticing. When we look at makeup, fashion, and music, K-POP’s influence are very evident. I think perhaps the most important thing that K-POP brings is its acceptance for breaking gender roles; more specifically in how the men can wear makeup and the women can be more aggressive and powerful with their music. 

Men wearing makeup in South Korean music has never been a secret. Some men embrace the makeup more just to express themselves, this can be seen with performers such as G-Dragon and U-Kwon from the boy groups Big Bang and Block B, respectively. Block B actually wears the most noticeable amount of makeup, as seen in their music video for “Her.” On the western hemisphere, we’re excited about two companies using men in their makeup campaigns, while in South Korea male pop stars are more commonly the faces of beauty products and makeup. Take a trip to Flushing in Queens or K-Town in Manhattan, and the beauty products stores all have cardboard cutouts of male pop stars, not women. 

Fashion is another area where men in South Korea break boundaries. I’m not saying they’re full out wearing dresses, but they are still more progressive. The cuts of the clothing have similar cuts to feminine clothing. Even the way in which they are modeled and posed for photo shoots is the same. You can see this in the video for “Pour Up” by DEAN, in which the suits he’s wearing have a more feminine cut. I personally love the fashion and pop culture from South Korea.  I usually look to them for inspiration for outfits and art as well. I can just hope that we end up catching up to them and where they are on their views of fashion.