Men’s makeup group aims to empathize with South Korean women

June 1 (UPI) — An unusual Facebook group in South Korea is meeting offline to give young men a chance to experience for themselves what it’s like to wear heavy makeup like South Korean women, who are under constant pressure to use cosmetic products at work and in social settings.

Choe Gi-seon, a 21-year-old liberal arts student at Korea University in Seoul, launched the online project so more South Korean men could realize the discomfort women feel in public because of the products they use, South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh reported.

Some 13 members of the Facebook group first met last week to listen to a lecture on makeup application, and shared stories of the problems they encountered while smearing in foundation or using eyeliner.

The group requested donations to buy popular cosmetic products, or used their own savings to buy BB cream, highlighters and eye pencils, according to the report.

Kim Jeong-hyeon, 24, said the “Man Who Puts On Makeup” project has provided a new perspective on the inconveniences women encounter while wearing makeup.

Kim said in South Korea women are berated for stepping out of their homes without makeup, while men are not so easily rebuked.

“I wanted to directly experience the discrimination and inequality of makeup, through my participation in the project,” Kim said.

A South Korean survey taken in March of women service workers showed about 60 percent of the respondents said they struggled with complaints about their hair color, makeup and general appearance at work.

Kim said the project has made him better understand why his girlfriend avoids doing certain things, like “eating hot soup” because it melts away her makeup. Kim said it was “suffocating” for his face to wear cosmetics.

South Korea’s beauty industry has expanded globally in recent years and continues to influence trends in Asia.

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