Article: Top 10 Times Male Idols Broke All Gender Norms!

Although Korea is still set in its conservative ways, K-pop idols both, male and female, are known for defying all gender norms. The men of K-pop, however especially deserve a special shout-out as they are known for breaking boundaries through wearing makeup, experimenting with fashion, maintaining a skincare routine, and even wearing high heels. Groups such as BTS, Stray Kids, and Ateez have gained popularity over the years for their music but also their unconventional beauty. Popularity and success, however, do come with a dark side. K-pop idols have a swarm of hate coming their way, with people criticizing the men for being too “feminine.” This, however, does not take away from the fact that male idols have paved the way for redefining masculinity. Here are the top 10 male idols who have broken all gender norms!

1. Heechul

Since his debut, Kim Heechul was never one to shy away from rocking feminine aesthetics. He enjoys growing his hair, wearing women’s clothing, and even went on to star in a show titled “Lipstick Prince,” created to normalize men wearing makeup. He is known in Korea for being a pretty face with massive talent, causing a vast amount of people to go as far as to question his sexuality. He, however, chose to ignore these rumors to respect his queer fans. (Talk about an ally!)


2. Hanse 

The main rapper of VICTON is known for his signature look, embracing wearing nail polish, and feminine jewelry, fashion and even growing his hair long. Hanse leans towards more of a gothic aesthetic which is very hard to come across in the K-pop world. He breaks boundaries by modeling several tattoos as well as piercings.


3. Jo Kwon 

The singer famous for his song Animal is known in Korea for dancing in high heels and incorporating drag fashion into his music videos. Also known as Lady Gaga’s Asian son, Jo Kwon has exceeded the expectations of defying what it means to be masculine in K-pop. In an interview with Newsis, Kwon came out as genderless. 


4. Ren 

The maknae of the boy band NU’EST is known for his androgynous appearance. Challenging the norms at an early phase of K-pop, he has gone on the record to say that he can identify as a man and yet wear whatever he wants.  In 2014, a fan cam of him performing the song Something by Girls Day went viral in Korea as he wowed fans with his ultra-feminine looks.


5. Jeonghan

The visual of SEVENTEEN has captured the hearts of his fans with his long hair, with most carats nicknaming him the male Elsa from Frozen. He openly embraces both his masculine as well as a feminine side. Jeonghan dressed up as the popular female comic book character Harley Quinn for Halloween. 


6. G-Dragon 

Kwon Jiyong, popularly known as G-dragon, is one of the most recognized trendsetters in the industry. The second-generation K-pop legend is known as a fashion innovator with genderless clothing choices. He has collaborated with renowned fashion brands such as Chanel. 


7. Hyunjin

The main dancer of the popular group Stray Kids is known for his elaborate eye makeup looks and long blonde hair. Lovingly nicknamed Legolas by his fans, Hyunjin is known for setting the long hair trend amongst fourth-generation K-pop male idols. He has also expressed his love for choreography, often deemed “feminine.” Hyunjin is known for being a pioneer in setting what is often considered an unmatchable beauty standard.


8. Taemin

The youngest member of SHINee openly broke barriers through the release of his 2017 title track, Move. Taemin indicated that he seeks to balance both masculinity and femininity in his choreography. Known as the king of K-pop, he constantly defies all gender norms through his often-sensual performances. 


9. Kim Taehyung (V)

Known for both his bulging biceps and voice as deep as the ocean, along with his striking clothing style, V is the ultimate representative of breaking gender stereotypes in K-pop. He has on multiple occasions wearing clothing meant for women as well as gender-neutral clothing. V’s unique and bold style is praised by fans and critics alike.


10. Kai

Kai’s crop top look during the release of the song Obsession became a hot topic for breaking gender norms. It was revealed in an interview that it wasn’t his aim to transcend such standards but rather to try on clothes and fashion without the prejudice of which gender it belongs to.