Hair Curlers in Public? That’s Simply How They Roll. | Latest News Table

Hair Curlers in Public? That’s Simply How They Roll.

SEOUL — In a subway automotive on a current fall afternoon, seven younger South Korean ladies stood quietly amongst a crowd of commuters. They wore seasonal jackets and wind breakers similar to different passengers, however one accent made them stand out: old school hair curlers locked tightly into their bangs.

These plastic cylinders, often Velcro-covered, might be seen almost in all places round Seoul — in cafes and eating places, on public transportation, on the road.

And whereas they could look like a vestige of a earlier period, the younger ladies who put on them say they don’t seem to be solely practical but in addition an indication of shifting concepts about gender and sweetness and a mirrored image of the nation’s generational divide.

Jung Yoon-won, a 23-year-old faculty pupil in Seoul who makes use of curlers each day, stated she wore them exterior her house to keep up the proper curl in her bangs earlier than going to an occasion or assembly. She stated her mom had requested her to cease, fearing others would discover it inappropriate.

However for Ms. Jung, look issues extra on the vacation spot than on the best way there. “You solely must look good in entrance of the individuals you care about,” she stated.

That unbiased angle is shared amongst many youthful individuals who don’t really feel beholden to the conventions that had been as soon as strictly noticed in South Korean society. Younger individuals in the present day say they’re much less involved about what different individuals suppose and are selecting as an alternative to dwell extra carefree.

Ms. Jung doesn’t view curlers as a relic of the previous, however as a software to assist her look put collectively as she zips throughout town from one place to the subsequent.

“There’s a notion that girls in the present day ought to all the time have their hair be presentable,” she stated. She bristled at the concept that she was supporting antiquated magnificence requirements or clinging to the times when going exterior in Seoul with out excellent hair and make-up was like leaving the home with out sporting garments.

In contrast to earlier generations of girls who felt it was essential to prepare in personal, hidden from the sight of males, she and others care a lot much less if their grooming efforts are seen, Ms. Jung stated. “That’s why it doesn’t matter when you have a roller in on the subway or cafe.”

Hair rollers in South Korea are sometimes worn in bangs. Costing as little as 80 cents apiece, they’re accessible and inexpensive for most girls. Korean celebrities usually submit photos on social media sporting curlers. Older ladies are each intrigued and mystified by the phenomenon.

Lee Jeong-jin, 51, has a 21-year-old daughter who continuously wears curlers exterior the home, a lot to her mom’s disappointment. Ms. Lee, who lives close to Seoul, stated it’s commonplace for younger individuals to have a “so what” angle.

She will relate. Utilizing hair spray to create tall, voluminous hairstyles was the pattern in South Korea when she was in her teenagers, she stated. “I’m fairly certain the older technology thought we had been the bizarre ones again then,” she stated.

But Kim Ji-in, 54, sees the hair curlers as a part of a broader shift amongst younger ladies who really feel they need to be allowed to behave as they select in public, with out having to observe expectations about magnificence and gender.

“I’ve seen one girl in her 20s sitting on the subway flooring along with her make-up sprawled out in entrance of her,” she stated. In her time, it was unthinkable for a lady to go exterior with rollers in her hair, she added.

Resistance to South Korea’s often-rigid magnificence requirements and restrictive views about gender is just not new. After #MeToo allegations swept the nation a number of years in the past, some ladies responded with “Escape the Corset,” a motion wherein they deserted make-up and wore bowl cuts to protest oppressive beliefs about bodily attractiveness.

Nonetheless, the nation has one of many world’s main magnificence industries, accounting for nearly 3 p.c of the worldwide magnificence market in 2019, in accordance with the Worldwide Commerce Administration, a U.S. authorities company.

The South Korean cosmetics trade has flourished regardless of the pandemic. Amorepacific, one of many nation’s largest magnificence conglomerates, reported an 8.5 p.c year-on-year improve in gross sales within the first quarter of 2021. Exports in magnificence merchandise additionally rose by 16 p.c from the earlier yr, in accordance with the Korea Commerce Affiliation.

However more and more, younger individuals say they like to return as they’re.

Kim Dong-wan, a 25-year-old researcher in Seoul, stated he was confused when he first noticed ladies sporting hair curlers in public about six years in the past. Now he says that he’s “detached,” and that girls these days are much less prone to be pressured to cover such issues and are additionally demanding extra respect. “Occasions have modified a lot,” he stated.

Whereas older South Koreans could not approve of using hair curlers in public, Yoon Da-young, a 22-year-old pupil in Seoul, stated it’s not their place to grasp youth tradition or why youngsters and girls of their 20s would proudly step exterior with curlers of their hair. “The pattern is to put on them out now,” she stated.

Younger ladies simply need to have the ability to “do what they need in peace.”

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