Chinese TV draws ridicule for blurring earrings on male actors

A Chinese video-streaming site has provoked uproar by blurring out the ears of male actors who wear jewellery.

The altered images of actors from at least two shows have drawn ridicule after they attracted around half-a-billion views online.

Social media users mocked the idea that it was shocking or offensive for a man to wear earrings.

"This is gender stereotyping," one commented.

Another asked if a woman with short hair would have to have her whole head blurred.

"How about banning all those female stars who look genderless…?" said blogger Chen Sanyi.

Many Chinese celebrities, including former boy-band members Kris Wu and Lu Han, wear earrings but the air-waves have recently filled with a debate about whether modern men are too effeminate.

Some have copied South Korean counterparts and begun to experiment with make-up, even vlogging their tips.

Such experiments with gender identity brush up against a culture with a long history of prizing the swaggering male stereotype, where the ancient emperor with many wives remains a common trope. Last year a school opened training 7 to 12-year-olds to be more manly.  

The Netlix-like-platform, iQiyi, denied that China’s increasingly strict censors had ordered the blurring of earrings. The company “had not received instruction from the relevant department,” a spokesman said.

However, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAFPRFT), China’s censorship body, has recently banned depications of hip-hop and actors with taboos in a widening clampdown on counter-culture.

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