Chinese brands have found an unconventional way to promote lingerie by getting men to model lingerie.
Men are stepping up to model lingerie in China after banning women from displaying lingerie in public. Brands have found a way to maintain the lingerie modeling scene — by replacing female models with men. That's right, to preserve traditional Chinese values and maintain modesty standards, men are now the go-to for lingerie modeling in the country. According to a report by the New York Post, Chinese fashion companies specializing in livestream shopping have begun replacing female lingerie models with male models due to China's ban on women modeling underwear online. Companies that have featured women in revealing clothing in the past have been shut down for violating China's law against spreading obscene material online, and businesses do not want to lose potential revenue. As a result, several live stream videos feature men modeling push-up bras, tight-fitting corsets, and lace-trimmed nightgowns.
Livestream shopping is a massive industry in China, estimated to be worth over $700 billion by 2023, according to Statista. It contributes 10% of the country's e-commerce revenue. Xu, the owner of a live stream business, explained that using male models was a decision they had to take because they had no choice. He stated, "The designs can't be modeled by our female colleagues, so we will use our male colleagues to model it."
In December of last year, Xu's company posted a video on Douyin, China's version of TikTok, featuring a male model in a silky robe. The video caption read, "The light and luxurious boudoir of the wife and adults," and received over 2,000 likes. Some commenters criticized the decision, claiming that the male models were taking job opportunities away from women. However, Xu argued that this was not the case and that many directors of these live streams are women.
This is not the first time that men in China have gone viral for selling items that have traditionally been associated with women. According to CNN, Austin Li Jiaqi was nicknamed "Lipstick King" since he managed to sell. It is uncertain how long this loophole will continue to work, as China is also cracking down on "effeminate" depictions of men in the media. However, for now, male models are the go-to for lingerie modeling in the country. It's a novel approach to upholding what is perceived as traditional values and an interesting trend to watch.
The trend of using male models in place of female lingerie models has been met with both criticism and curiosity. Many people have argued that male models are taking job opportunities away from women in the industry. However, other people have pointed out that many of the directors of these live streams are women, and that this could be seen as an opportunity for more men in the fashion industry.