- Hey, it doesn’t break the law so why not?
In China, livestream shopping is the latest craze. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s essentially the cable TV shopping channel, but on TV.
During the shopping livestream, the host promotes various products. The audience can comment on the stream chat and — of course — easily order the products from the provided links.
This form of shopping hasn’t really kicked off in the West, but it accounts for about a tenth of all internet shopping in China. The shopping streams promote everything from electronics to lingerie.
And it’s that latter category that’s become a problem.
China has very strict laws in place about spreading “obscene materials” on the internet. Generally, that means pornography, but the Chinese government has been more controlling than usual lately and started cracking down on lingerie shopping streams.
They’ve now gone so far as to ban women from modeling any lingerie on livestreams. How are the vendors now supposed to sell all those bras, panties, and nightgowns?
Wait. What was the wording of the new rule again? You’re not allowed to have women modeling lingerie?
Do you smell a loophole? Yes, you do — and so did China’s livestream operators.
As the fairer sex is now banned from the streams, men have taken their place. Male models now pose on camera on some businesses’ shopping streams, strutting their stuff in frilly babydolls and other lingerie.
You go, guys.
‘The Guy Wears It Better’
The livestream business owners were initially hesitant about the male models. But what other option did they have, really?
“Personally, we don’t really have a choice,” Mr. Xu, owner of one livestream business, said according to Insider. His stream was among the first to use male lingerie models.
“The designs can’t be modeled by our female colleagues, so we will use our male colleagues to model them,” explained Mr. Xu.
Some viewers and industry professionals have pointed out that the livestream businesses didn’t need to resort to male models — they could’ve used mannequins. But the manly lingerie-wearers have come with a welcome side effect.
A good portion of the stream’s viewers love them.
The bra-clad male models definitely seem to resonate with the audiences. Xu said many of his competitors hopped on the bandwagon after his business debuted male models.
The comments from viewers show that at least some of them definitely enjoy the male models.
“The guy wears it better than the girl,” one comment with hundreds of likes wrote.
Not everybody is happy with the change — though not necessarily for the reason you might think. Some online commenters lament that the change is depriving women of jobs.
They have a point. But if that’s the law, what are the livestream operators supposed to do about it?
Does Lingerie Make You a ‘Sissy?’
Popular as they are, it’s not exactly self-evident that the male lingerie party will be allowed to go on forever. As we mentioned, the Chinese government has been on a conservative streak and wants to promote traditional gender roles and good morals.
Case in point, in late 2021 the Chinese government banned what it deems “effeminate men” from appearing on TV. In the government’s words, the law aims to discourage what it deems an unhealthy obsession with celebrities.
The law uses a term that can be loosely translated to “sissies” to describe the type of men who are no longer allowed on TV. Who exactly falls under that definition is anyone’s guess.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the male lingerie models will be banned. First of all, they’re on the internet, not on TV, so the anti-sissy law doesn’t immediately apply to them.
Additionally, it’s not exactly uncommon for Chinese businesses to use male models for products aimed at women. For example, Austin Li Jiaqi, one of China’s most popular lipstick models, has received the nickname “Lipstick King.”
In another case, 41-year-old businessman Wu Nan has become known as “Uncle Wu Who Wears High Heels.” He demonstrates the sturdiness of his businesses’ heels by jumping, dancing, running, and doing other stunts while wearing them.
So, based on precedent at least, the men appearing on livestreams in bras and panties only continue China’s tradition of marketing towards women with male models. Whether it will be allowed to go on, though, we can only wait and see.