For this Country, Makeup is The Symbol of Rebellion to open the Freedom Gateway.

For this Country, Makeup is The Symbol of Rebellion to open the Freedom Gateway.
A North Korean saleswoman holds up a product at a shop in the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory ©

Makeup is closely related to beauty and women since they frequently use makeup to enhance their appearance. But did you know for women in this country, makeup has a more significant meaning more than something related to beauty items?

Hairstyle Acceptance for women in North Korea /
Hairstyle Acceptance for women in North Korea /

North Korea is a country with all military and strict rules for its citizens, including makeup for women. One hundred eighty degrees different from its neighbor South Korea, the new trade center for makeup, allowing its citizen to use makeup freely. Nort Korea prohibits the citizen with a rigorous obligation.

North Korea smuggling beauty items as a means of political and cultural protest. The dictatorship in North Korea determines how women should be officially present. Even "beauty police" are in a position to ensure that all laws are applied. Public shame and "confessions" to municipal bodies form the punishment for defying laws. They still see makeup as the symbol of capitalism, just like red lipstick. North Korea strictly prohibited their citizens wear that since it symbolizes capitalism and a sign of rebellion.

Government vs. Makeup

CNN interviewed with one of North Korean teenager that runs to South Korean named Nara Kang. Based on what Nara said, she would walk through alleys instead of main roads to avoid encountering the "Gyuchaldae," North Korea's so-called fashion police. Nara also added that
older people in the village would say that she is a rascal smeared with capitalism whenever she put on makeup. There was a patrol unit every 10-meters to crackdown on pedestrians for their looks. North Korean women also weren't allowed to wear accessories like this or dye their hair and let it loose.

North Korea local cosmetic product /
North Korea local cosmetic product /


Government not only regulates the use of makeup but also controls the cosmetic industry. Kim Jong Un builds on his big-father, Kim Il Sung, who founded the first cosmetics factory in the world in 1949. Kim Il Sung, who used makeup in Manchuria in the war against Japan beforehand to improve female warriors' values, recognized beauty in transforming people's minds at an early point. Following his footsteps, the younger Kim is investing in Unhasu and Bomhyanggi, the state-owned news agency KCNA, to create 'World's best cosmetics,' reported in 2017. In the latest growth of the domestic cosmetic industry, foreign sanctions are stepping up.

Beauty is Freedom

Beauty and makeup are expressions of yourself — precisely what an authoritarian society dislikes. Beauty has so much strength. Beauty goods are practically part of who we are every day. The exhibition of these unique goods, sexy looks, and photographs expose people's gaze to a world beyond North Korea's boundaries. This exposure—a taste for something else—calls for reform, and governments know this, writes Zain Verjee of CNN.

Beauty is freedom for me. People can have more ownership over their beauty. Nort Korean Millenials said all of her North Korean peers were angry that they couldn't dress up. She also said that the North Korean government brainwashes them, so we still like the Supreme Leader, but the desire to look pretty is another issue. The anger starts building up inside us, questioning why shouldn't we do it?

The activist says the government is mindful of the rebellions of the younger generation toward a governmental culture. The condition requires them to adapt to retain control, which allows for a degree of versatility.

The government is essentially obligated to respond to the issue. Will they make a move, or will they continue to repress it?


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