The Reason Why Chinese Media Is Blurring Some Actors' Ears

The hashtag #MaleTVStarsCantWearEarrings has been trending on Chinese social media platform Weibo

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The Reason Why Chinese Media Is Blurring Some Actors' Ears

A screenshot from a show on iQiyi shows an actor with his ears blurred out.


For the last few days, the hashtag #MaleTVStarsCantWearEarrings has been trending on Chinese social media platform Weibo. The hashtag arose in response to a popular Chinese video streaming platform's decision to blur the ears of male actors wearing earrings. BBC reports that the hashtag has been used more than 88,000 times on Weibo by users outraged at the censorship.

Screenshots from programmes produced by streaming service iQiyi, a platform similar to Netflix, show actors with their ears blurred out and have been widely circulated online. Many on social media have argued that the decision to blur earrings was located in the desire to protect gender roles.

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An actor with ears blurred out

In China, where all TV broadcasters are state-owned and subject to censorship, hip hop culture, tattoos and LGBT symbols are also censored.

"This is gender discrimination," wrote one user on Weibo.

"I am very, very angry. This is blatant discrimination. Are we not equal?" posted another.

"I hope we become more progressive, tolerant and diverse," a third said.

However, while most people criticised the decision, a few supported the decision to blur out the ears of actors wearing earrings, calling it "effeminate."

According to local reports, a journalist who inquired at the official website of the State Administration of Radio and Television (SARFT) did not find any explicit provisions that "the male artist could not wear earrings on a TV show". The journalist did not receive a response after repeated calls.

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