Daily Drip

How Lobe Can You Go: Chinese TV is Censoring Men’s Pierced Ears


No need to scrub your screen clean — that’s not a smudge or an air bubble blocking your view of the actor’s earlobe. Instead, it’s an eye-rollingly unnecessary new brand of censorship. China’s state media bodies have identified men with earrings as unfit for TV, and netizens have responded in force, launching the hashtag #MaleStarsCantWearEarrings to the upper reaches of Weibo’s trending list.

Viewers are posting screenshots of actors and celebrities with their earlobes blurred out, and questioning the discriminatory nature of the regulations. The earlobes of female idols have gone untouched by the new standards.

Fan communities are also upset at the misrepresentation of pop culture. If the list of TV taboos (hip hop culture, tattoos, and now earrings) continues to expand at this rate, pop stars could soon be left looking like…normal people.


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After last year’s supposed ban on tattoos and hip hop imagery, people posted satirical photos of artists covered from head to toe in toilet paper, cheekily accepting the ban on basically their entire bodies. Entire episodes of popular talent show Singer! went unreleased, and the rapper GAI, fresh off his victory at the finale of Rap of China’s first season, was wiped from the network’s social media pages.

One top-rated Weibo response from user Summer River sarcastically wonders when the regulations will be deemed satisfactory.

“Future media regulations could mandate: girls can’t wear their hair short, men can’t wear makeup, if you’re still single at 30 you’re officially an outcast, men will take precedence to play female roles, females performers with feet sized 38+ must bind them, effeminate male actors can only play eunuchs, no women on TV can get a divorce, they must be put to death, and men should lawfully love and serve their country.”

Shalena Adams
    Shalena is an obsessive learner of all things related to East Asian Languages, with a special love for Chinese. When not catching up on the latest Korean or Taiwanese Dramas, she is fiddling with her natural hair or dancing to the rhythms of afrobeat and Caribbean music. You can check out her wild journey on Instagram at @ai_lenaak

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