John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera: More Men Are Walking Away From Vitally Important Aspects of Masculinity

No amount of makeup will cover the fact that more and more men are walking away from vitally important aspects of masculinity.

A recent BBC article introduced readers to South Korea’s latest high-profile export. Not a Hyundai, a Kia, or even the musical phenomenon known as “K-Pop.”

I’m referring to men’s makeup. As the BBC put it, “in South Korea, ideas about how to look good as a man are changing attitudes and influencing the world.”

The BBC takes readers inside a “high-end salon” in Seoul’s trend-setting and prestigious Gangnam district. There, a make-up artist “expertly applies foundation, eyeliner and lipstick on a man,” choosing “from an array of products and brands that will be familiar to most women.”

The goal is to look like their favorite K-Pop stars and television celebrities.

Let me be very clear. This story is not talking about gay men. Rather, it’s referring to an aesthetic associated with what are called “flower boys” in Korea: “delicate, slightly feminine-looking boys.” They are a staple in Korean drama, where they play a role that’s analogous to the gay best friend that we see in romantic comedies in America.

While unlike the gay best friend they may have feelings for the female lead, they almost never get the girl, in large part because they aren’t taken seriously as men. And that prompts an obvious question: Why would a non-gay male want to emulate these “flower boys” in real life?

The question isn’t limited to just South Korea. As Joanna Elfving-Hwang from the University of Western Australia told the BBC, “I think Korea is a trailblazer in men’s beauty culture, definitely in Asia at the moment, if not the world.” This toying with masculinity, she says, “opens up possibilities for men on the street and eventually makes it more acceptable.”

Now, whether this aesthetic remains confined to Korea or ends up bringing back a trend we haven’t seen since the demise of the last 18th century French king, the struggle to define what it means to be a man in the 21st century developed world remains unsettled.

We see evidence of this crisis everywhere. One example is what Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute called “the flight from work.” As he writes, “America is now home to an ever-growing army of jobless men no longer even looking for work—over 7 million between ages 25 and 55, the traditional prime of working life.”

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Source: Christian Post