Updated May 12th, 2024 at 21:39 IST

Red Lipstick Strictly Prohibited in North Korea. Find Out Why

Despite being more widely associated with Communist ideology, the colour red in North Korea is reportedly seen as a symbol of capitalism.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Red lipstick is reportedly banned in North Korea. | Image:Freepik
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Pyongyang: The colour red is often associated with Communist ideology and symbols, with the red colour of the Chinese flag, for instance, being seen as a symbol of the Communist revolution. This is why it is somewhat unusual to note that red lipstick is specifically banned in the neighbouring nation of North Korea because it is seen by the nation's leadership as a symbol of capitalism. Indeed, red lipstick aside, any form of heavy makeup in North Korea is seen as a sign of highly undesirable Western influences and is strictly regulated. 

And that is not all. North Korea, in recent years, has banned several items related to a personal appearance as being a sign of a capitalist ideology. This ranges from skinny jeans to body piercings. Even haircuts are regulated in North Korea, with the leadership publishing guidelines on a handful of permitted hairstyles. 

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Women are allowed to choose from a list of 14-15 hairstyles that are approved by the state and men in North Korea have a similar number of styles to choose from. 

In recent years, clothing and appearance regulation has become a major policy focus for Pyongyang, with Rodong Sinmum, the regime mouthpiece, publishing an article in 2021 decrying the increasing embrace of Western trends by North Korean youths and saying “We must be wary of even the slightest sign of the capitalist lifestyle and fight to get rid of them.”

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Not too long after this article ran in Rodong Sinmum, the regime banned mullets, skinny jeans and nose piercings, among other things.  

Allegedly, certain hairstyles and clothing items are banned in North Korea for decidedly less ideological reasons as well. For instance, it has been reported that the Pyongyang regime has banned people from wearing black trenchcoats or getting Kim Jong Un's signature swept-back hairstyle. Why?

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Because the supreme leader, reportedly, does not want people copying his style, even if it is done as a form of flattery.     

All this is enforced by the ‘Gyuchaldae’, the so-called ‘fashion police’ which many North Korean defectors claim are a ubiquitous presence in the daily life of citizens in the hermit kingdom.

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Of course, the presence of such officers, who are generally supposed to maintain ‘societal order’, does not prevent North Korean youths from seeking out banned Western fashion products in the nation's infamous black markets where one may acquire anything from USB sticks with K-Pop performances to South Korean perfumes. 

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Published May 12th, 2024 at 21:39 IST