Boys also wear make-up: No to toxic masculinity in the context of Filipino and korean culture

Levi Mark C. Dalagonan
4 min readMar 21, 2023

People can be more accepting and open-minded in today’s generation, especially when it comes to males wearing makeup as part of their daily life. Debunking the toxic traits of masculinity, which alters the perspective of tradition and values in the context of the Filipino and Hallyu culture. In this blog we’ll discuss how these means to influence and to help others on how they can see the world.

Photo by Levi Mark Dalagonan

Male-Filipino wearing makeup can’t make them less men

Most Male-filipino think that male who wear makeup can make them less male — as the years past by in the western and hallyu world, male who apply makeup on the daily basis is normal, but in the Philippines most of the people think that having makeup on can make you less male in a way that you’re wearing it because you aren’t straight and you are not fit in the society where people tend to discriminate you just because you wear something that make you feel more comfortable and confident.

In the Philippine context, Filipinos always mock those men who apply or put makeup on as part of their daily routine. They call you Bakla, Silahis, Bading… as a form of insult and make you feel that you do not belong or you don’t have the place in the society that they were created. Here are some Male-Filipino influencers that break the stigma; boys can wear makeup too.

Kenn Dayandayan is a 21-year-old content creator, has almost around 200,000 followers on his social media accounts, where he posts makeup tutorials for men and encourages men that wearing makeup isn’t a bad thing to wear. He also emphasizes in his videos on how to blend, mix and control the makeup you can put on your face. Kenn posted very quick tutorial videos to promote awareness and to break the toxic masculinity culture mindset of every Filipino, that men can use makeup too.

Bj Pascual a professional Photographer known in the Philippines and a LGBTQIA+ advocate. He just chose to be one of the ambassadors of Estée Lauder that promotes gender equality when it comes to the beauty industry. Bj said that Makeup has become second nature to him. He enjoys being able to express himself whether it’s through a simple look or when he’s in the mood to experiment. He added that he sees how it’s transformative to the people he shoots, and it has the same effect when it’s applied to him.

Hallyu wave — unmasked Masculinity

As we live in the 21st century, K-pop popularity has paved the way to continue acknowledging the ‘Hallyu Wave’ which refers to the increase in global popularity of South Korean culture since the 2000s. But this wave isn’t just about K-pop and K-drama; most recently there has been a big growth of the K-beauty popularity. We have all heard about the korean glass skin and the endless Tiktok videos on how to best achieve it using different skin care products, and how to minimally put some makeup on as part of our daily lives, to look more likely a kpop idols and actors we’ve seen in almost everywhere we go. With this transformation of K-beauty standards, one of the major changes of the beauty industry is picking up a growing population of male-consumers. For many years, cosmetics, makeup, and skincare products have been considered as feminine. And it appears that there has been a huge surge in men seeking out putting makeup or cosmetics on their face, which might be attributed to the growing popularity of the Hallyu wave.

While most of the world’s male population struggle under repression, especially in Catholic countries such as the Philippines. South Korean culture has transformed into a new normal where, as you go around the streets of Seoul, it is normal now to see young men applying cushion compact foundations, you can also see men buying sheet masks, or teens trying out red tints on their own lips. According to reports, South Korean males buy 20% of the beauty products sold worldwide and use more than $1 billion worth of cosmetics annually. The development of K-pop in the nation may be primarily credited with South Korea’s transition into this admirable example of democratic beauty standards.

Putting on Makeup is a choice

The only thing we ask for everyone who reads this is to show respect, especially to those men who wear makeup. Nothing in this blog is meant to pressure you to wear or apply makeup; it merely informs you that it is up to the person to do so, because it is their decision. In the end, makeup is a non-gender way to express our own creativity, feelings, emotions… for both men and women to make us feel more attractive and confident in our own individual ways.

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Levi Mark C. Dalagonan

Aspiring Photojournalist, SLU Baguio PH, Communication Student