Chinese Boss Threatening Women To Wear Makeup Isn't Surprising Anymore

A Chinese firm is under fire after an executive officer urged female employees to wear light makeup to the office. The controversial request was made during a WeChat group chat

Ishika Thanvi
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Women Saying Stop

The image belongs to SheThePeople

A Chinese firm is under fire after an executive officer urged female employees to wear light makeup to the office, claiming it would serve as motivation for their male colleagues. The controversial request was made during a WeChat group chat initiated by the executive officer, Mr. Luo, who later deleted the message, dismissing it as a misinterpreted joke.


The message read, "Ladies, please wear light makeup to work from December to motivate our team. Our gentlemen will crowdfund to treat ladies to afternoon tea."

The Request and Its Consequences

On November 30, Mr. Luo engaged in a group chat with staff members, including five female employees. In the course of the conversation, he explicitly requested the women to wear light makeup to work, asserting that it would contribute to team motivation. To further incentivize compliance, he stated that male colleagues would crowdfund to treat the female employees to afternoon tea.

Threats and Backlash Emerge

After the initial request received no response from the group, Mr. Luo took a more serious tone. He warned that failure to acknowledge the message would result in slashed performance bonuses for female employees. The controversial statement gained attention when an influencer, connected to an unnamed staff member, posted it online.

Despite the backlash, Mr Luo defended his remarks, asserting that it was a mere joke and emphasizing the removal of the message. He explained that the company culture involved frequent jokes among team members, suggesting that the comments should not be taken seriously.


Social Media Backlash

The controversy shed light on the gender disparities within the company, with Mr Luo acknowledging that the majority of the 300 employees were male. He conceded that the firm often overlooked the needs of its female employees due to the predominant focus on work. The revelation triggered a significant uproar on Chinese social media platforms.

The incident ignited a wave of criticism on social media, with users expressing their discontent. One user questioned the executive's approach, asking why male staff were not encouraged to engage in activities like workouts to motivate the team. Others expressed that the statement was not humorous and questioned whether it was truly intended as a joke, with one user remarking, "Is it really a joke? He is the only one laughing."

It's Not 'Just A Joke', Period.

Under the thin veil of ‘making a joke’, requests like the recent call for women to wear makeup in the workplace often reveal deeply entrenched sexist and patriarchal attitudes. Disguising such remarks as jokes provides a convenient shield, allowing individuals to express discriminatory views while dismissing them as harmless banter. Such attitudes suggest a mindset that is unable to function without exerting control over women's lives. We need to remind them that women don't exist to enhance men's lives or convenience. The fact that these beliefs permeate workplace settings is scary, reflecting a societal trend that demands confrontation and dismantling. It's essential to recognize that such "jokes" contribute to a culture where sexism is normalized and tolerated. Addressing these instances requires fostering a greater understanding of the impact of language and promoting respectful communication to dismantle the foundations of casual sexism.

A Call for Workplace Equality

The controversy surrounding the company's request highlights the ongoing challenges of gender equality and casual sexism in the workplace. The incident serves as a reminder to challenge and dismantle these harmful attitudes, fostering a society where women are respected as autonomous individuals rather than mere tools for enhancing men's lives. Companies need to foster more inclusive and respectful workplace environments.

sexist jokes Casual Sexism workplace sexism