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TV viewers in China recently noticed something strange whenever certain male celebrities showed up on screen – their ears were digitally blurred as if to hide something. While Chinese television has yet to make an official statement on this issue, the measure seems meant to hide men’s earrings.
Last year, China’s media regulator banned TV stations from showing celebrities’ tattoos as well as other elements of “hip hop culture, sub-culture and immoral culture,” in an effort to minimize Western impact in China’s pop culture. It was only a matter of time before men’s earrings were targeted, and earlier this year people started noticing that earring-wearing male actors and other pop icons had their ears blurred. The hashtag #MaleTVStarsCantWearEarrings recently went viral online, with tens of thousands of people criticizing the move as discriminatory.
“This is gender stereotyping … and ignores the diversity of different groups,” one Weibo user wrote.
“They control more and more,” blogger Chen Sanyi commented. “If a female star has short hair, will her whole head be blurred? How about banning all those female stars who look genderless and guide girls not being neither female nor male?”
Although the vast majority of comments on this issue are critical of the government censorship, there are also those who support the measure, claiming that men wearing earrings look “strange” and “effeminate”.
“I support the government moving to rule on this, men should look like men,” a Weibo user wrote.