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Will the West embrace the South Korean male beauty product industry?

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Will the West embrace the South Korean male beauty product industry? | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: ‘V’ or Kim Tae Hyung from Korean band BTS

Over the past decade South Korean men have become the world’s biggest male spenders on skincare and beauty products. The market has grown by 44% in the country in the six years before 2017, according to Euromonitor.

This figure is even higher for Gen Z respondents (the ones born after 2000), with 58% saying they pamper themselves with “lengthy” beauty or grooming treatments at least once per week, nearly twice as much as South Korean men overall at 34%.

About three quarters of South Korean men undertake a beauty or grooming treatment at least once a week, according to a recent survey by GlobalData. How many men in the West are following these trends? A lot fewer.

According to Roald Maliangkay, director of the Korea Institute at The Australian National University, this phenomenon can be explained in part by the influence of K-pop, South Koreas massively popular music industry.

“I am struck by how many local young men are now emulating the look typical of Korean male idols. I saw many men in sharply cut outfits with perfectly groomed dyed hair and double eyelids (as a result of cosmetic surgery), and I even noticed a few men wearing some light makeup,” he said in a special report on CNN.

The origins of South Korea’s male beauty obsession are complex, however. Maliangkay’s 2010 study “The effeminacy of male beauty in Korea” highlights an alternative theory: that the rejection of traditional masculinity was in fact led by women as a backlash against severe gender inequality.
One of the main catalysts, his paper argues, was the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Unemployment across the country rose, but figures show that women were disproportionately affected.

“In the year following the crash, female employment fell by 8.2%, almost 3 percentage points more than the equivalent figure for men. Resentment over this and other workplace inequalities, as well as the rise of literature and film questioning traditional gender roles, led women to seek out softer male figures who had the potential to make the opposite sex feel more powerful.”

The trend may also result from pressure on men to compete in a tough job market, according to James Turnbull, a writer and lecturer based in the city of Busan, South Korea, who specialises in Korean feminism and popular culture.

“In this cut-throat environment, 20 and 30 somethings are all about improving their ‘specs’ with extra degrees, courses, internships, English-language qualifications and so on.”

Turnbull added that Korean companies routinely ask job applicants for photographs on their CVs.

Katherine Spowart, who runs the beauty blog SkinfullofSeoul, stressed that Korean men still face specific social pressures.

“Male beauty is generally much more accepted as a concept in South Korea, but it doesn’t relieve each gender of their traditional roles in mainstream culture. Gender roles are still fairly rigid, sexual choices other than heterosexuality are generally not talked about, and it’s a patriarchal culture.”

But now the West is fighting back in the pursuit of perfect brows and flawless skin. In September, Chanel released Boy de Chanel, its first cosmetics range for men. The line features eight shades of tinted foundation, a two-in-one brow pencil and brush, and a transparent matte lip balm.

Aiming to “write the vocabulary of a new personal aesthetic for men,” the French house piloted the collection in South Korea before making it available online to US shoppers last November.

But David Yi, founder of the US-based male beauty blog Very Good Light, says there are still huge challenges for beauty brands intending to woo men.

“There are still many, many years until makeup becomes widely accepted in the US. South Korea is so progressed when it comes to beauty,” he added. “They have a makeup look solely for men that’s completely different from women, which is what K-pop male stars subscribe to.”

Will the West embrace the South Korean male beauty product industry? | News by The Thaiger

Excerpts from a CNN article HERE.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Has Thailand’s suicide rate increased due to Covid-19 restrictions? – VIDEO

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Has Thailand’s suicide rate increased due to Covid-19 restrictions? – VIDEO | The Thaiger

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Before Covid, around the world every 40 seconds someone lost their life to suicide and nearly 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, according to statistics from the WHO.

In Thailand, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds, after road fatalities.

Now, an apparent rise in Thailand’s suicide rate, related to the country’s current business conditions, restrictions and ongoing world pandemic, is concerning health officials.

The Mental Health Department released a report in September indicating 2,551 people in Thailand had killed themselves from January to the end of July, 2020. That is up a palpable 22% compared to the same first 6 months of last year.

Health officials are citing “personal problems, economic pressures, depression and alcohol abuse” for the rise in cases that appear to be linked to Thailand’s current economic woes.

South East Asian suicide rates are generally around 20 to 30 % higher than the global average, and Thailand’s general rate was the highest suicide rate in the South East Asian region before the pandemic.

The Thai Mental Health Department Director General Kiartipoom Wongrachit believes that both isolation and pressures generated by social media have contributed to the rise.

But he also believes that social media is becoming a valuable tool to help identify self-harm behaviour and provide intervention.

“Signs of suicide have been increasing on social media. While some social media platforms have technology that can detect video clips recording self harm or suicides… there are many other signs to look out for that the technology can’t detect.”

He linked the increase in the suicide cases this year to the outbreak of the deadly virus and described the trend as “worrisome”.

A March study by Chiang Mai University also identified 38 suicide attempts that were likely linked to stress associated with the lockdown at the time. 28 of them ended up in deaths.

The research was conducted in the middle of the local lockdowns and restrictions implemented by the Thai government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In June, Oxford University also released a study on the impact of the pandemic on suicide rates in the International Journal of Medicine.

The study found stress from Covid-19 had played a part in the suicide rates and that the problem “could linger after the outbreak ends”.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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Bangkok

Bangkok running enthusiasts enjoy new pop-up track at Central World

Maya Taylor

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Bangkok running enthusiasts enjoy new pop-up track at Central World | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

As Bangkok residents enjoy the freedom of Covid restrictions being lifted, the city’s Central World mall has unveiled a pop-up running track to help people get back in shape after lockdown.

The mall’s managment team has installed a 500 metre track, which is open to the city’s runners every evening from 5 pm to 8 pm, until July 22. The track is already proving popular, with both serious runners and newbies, as well as those just along for a selfie in the unusual exercise spot.

The temporary track is part of the mall’s “Central World Sport Unlock Phase 1” campaign, aimed at getting people healthy again after Covid restrictions led to most being confined indoors, with limited exercise.

Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, from the Marketing team at Central Pattana, says the mall plans to run more fitness activities in the coming months, pointing out that it also boasts over 50 health and wellness stores, and has been the starting point for various marathons over the years.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Obesity on the rise in the Land of Smiles

Maya Taylor

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Obesity on the rise in the Land of Smiles | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Christopher Williams on Unsplash

Thailand has a health problem and it appears to be an even bigger concern than the current Covid-19 pandemic. The World Health Organisation says nearly one third of the Thai population is now overweight and 9% of the country is obese. Malaysia currently holds the dubious honour of having the highest obesity rate in Southeast Asia – but Thailand is now in second place.

In a report in the Chiangrai Times, leading academics and medical experts lay bare their concerns. Obesity is well-known for being a leading cause of diabetes, heart problems, arthiritis and several other debilitating conditions. And in countries with less-developed healthcare systems, this is even more of a burden.

In Thailand in particular, obesity is just as prevalent in children, with 1 in 10 children classed as overweight. 10.5% of kids under 5 are obese. That figure rises to 13.9% for those aged between 6 and 14. In adults, both men and women are getting fatter, with the highest rate of obesity being among those in the 45–59 age group, followed by the 30-44 group. This is the case with both genders.

The study also reveals that obesity rates are lower in rural areas. Central Thailand and Bangkok have higher rates, with the difference most pronounced among the male population. In particular, obesity is prevalent among Buddhist monks, with one theory being that they are regularly offered food by devout Buddhists and it is rude not to accept it.

Obesity on the rise in the Land of Smiles | News by The Thaiger

Photo: www.bangkokjack.com

Whereas junk food costs less in the western world and is more likely to be eaten by poorer families, it is the opposite in Thailand. The rise in obesity therefore is partly being attributed to a rise in income, combined with a more sedentary way of living for many. Thai men and women aged 45-59 tend to have more income and those who do live in urban areas. They have also been shown to have a higher obesity rate.

Now medical experts are warning the public of the risks associated with obesity, while the government has issued guidelines on the daily consumption of sugar, sodium and saturated fat. Schools are being encouraged to introduce more activities for children and to reduce the amount of time they spend sitting at desks.

Meanwhile, public health official Amporn Bejapolpitak says monks need to get more active and that the public should offer them healthier food choices. It’s believed that 50% of the nation’s monks are obese. Professor Jongiit Angkatavanich from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University expressed grave concern.

“Obesity in our monks is a ticking time bomb. Many of the monks are suffering from diseases that we know are actually preventable.”

SOURCE: Chiangrai Times

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