K-pop’s biggest male stars may be beauty gods but they’re hardly a new trend. While Korean pop stars may wear porcelain foundations, colorful eyeshadows, and blood-stained lips, there were men who walked — and worked — the earth centuries before. They were called the hwarang – literally “flower boys” aka “pretty boys” of Korea’s Silla dynasty – who sported crimson eye shadows, powdered faces, and slicked-back hair as a spiritual practice. These warriors were chosen for their beauty, as Silla’s king, Jinheung, believed beauty was power. In the excerpt below, we understand Korea’s rich history of beautiful men and how cosmetics, makeup, skincare isn’t a new phenomenon — beauty is literally embedded in the very culture. Here’s a history of the pretty boy warriors who were precursors for K-pop stars to thrive in our modern era.
South Korea is now known as the beauty capital of the universe, and its men hold the title of world’s biggest cosmetics consumers. Korean men glisten and glow, their complexions plumped and hydrated, as if serums pump through their very veins. But to understand why Korean men today care so much about their aesthetics, we must look to Korea’s sixth-century Silla Dynasty, and to the hwarang. The hwarang—which roughly translates to “flower boys”—weren’t only some of the fiercest weapons-wielding, martial arts–practicing assassins in Asia. They would become legendary for their fight and their faces. Aesthetics, and the spirituality behind beautifying, were paramount to their ability to defend their kingdom for over two centuries . . . and to lead the way for generations of Korean beauty boys to come.
A woman’s epic post calling out some “Western men” who call Asian men “gay” based certain masculinity standards has gone viral on Facebook.
The post was uploaded on June 24 and has racked up over 15,000 shares as of this writing.
Editor’s Note: The following piece was originally posted on Medium and reposted with permission. The views expressed in this piece are solely of the author.
This whole time I keep writing about Asian Masculinity and I didn’t even define what it is…. so what is it? First here is the reason why we need to define it:
In mainstream media, Asian males are constantly emasculated and presented and either “nerdy” or “weak” character. However, one high school student out in Maryland is unknowingly breaking those stereotypes.
Twitter user @ has became a pseudo celebrity after homecoming photos of him and his girlfriend went viral. The initial tweet racked up over 110,000 likes and 43,000 retweets.