Missing earrings: Male stars with blurred earlobes on Chinese online video platform

Missing earrings: Male stars with blurred earlobes on Chinese online video platform
PHOTO: Weibo screengrabs

No, there's nothing wrong with your screen.

If you thought that your favourite Chinese male celebrity's earlobes are looking a bit blurry on iQiYi, you're right.

It's quite likely that he's wearing earrings and the online video platform doesn't want you to see them.

How strange.

A series of video screengrabs recently shared on Weibo show the stars with traces of digital censorship.

Could this be the next thing to be banned by China's media regulator?

Photo: Weibo

The appearance of male stars has been the subject of debate in recent years, which escalated into a nationwide discussion about a perceived emasculation of men last September.

What sparked the argument? The pretty boys - colloquially known as 'little fresh meat' - who appeared in China Central Television's annual back-to-school gala.

The young men wore make-up, had slender frames, and sprouted phrases such as "You scared poor little me!"

This did not sit well with parents who watched the broadcast. They soon complained that the celebrities were a bad influence on their children.

State media Xinhua had some scathing remarks, calling the stars "effeminate".

People's Daily, however, had an open stance, saying "a man's strength should be judged on the basis of their inner qualities - not their physical appearance."

In recent years, there has been a shift in the aesthetics of the younger generation in China. This was shown in the massive popularity of androgynous looking singers such as Li Yuchun.

According to a Hong Kong stylist who has worked in China, some broadcasters have strict rules for celebrities appearing on TV shows - no coloured hair, no tattoos and - you guessed it - no earrings.

While there's no official word on whether male stars' earrings are banned onscreen, an unnamed insider said that they have received instructions to avoid showing large earrings in close-up shots of the men.

And the children shall "see no evil" online.

minlee@sph.com.sg

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