A state railway in China advised women not to wear makeup on trains. This is how they responded | ET REALITY


A woman applies makeup at a Beijing train station on December 12, 2014.

A woman applies makeup at a Beijing train station on December 12, 2014.

Hong Kong (CNN)-– A promotional video from a state railway in China asking women to refrain from wearing makeup during train journeys has sparked fierce backlash and debate over sexism.

On Saturday, the China Railway clip was the most searched, most read and most discussed item on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform, two months after it was originally posted.

The angry reception of the position comes amid a broader feminist movement demanding greater gender equality in the country of 1.4 billion, where men often still dominate boardrooms and key government bodies and where, In the past, the feminist movement has often been censored.

The post appears to have been intended as part of a campaign by the railway to reduce anti-social behavior by passengers and follows a series of other posts which have instructed people not to litter, occupy other people’s seats or speak too loudly.

Released in July, the video shows an elegantly dressed woman filming herself preparing to apply lotion and foundation while sitting in what appears to be the cabin of a high-speed commuter train.

She is interrupted by a man in the adjacent seat who taps her shoulder, and the clip then shows the man’s face covered with his base.

“I don’t need to put on makeup, beauty,” he then tells the woman, who apologizes and helps him clean up.

The clip, about a minute long, has sparked controversy that shows no signs of abating.

As of Saturday, its related hashtag had garnered 340 million views and 20,000 comments. Many citizens criticized the video as offensive.

“Why does it have to be such a gender-centric case, where women put on makeup, to illustrate uncivilized behavior?” asked a Weibo user.

Others defended the right to wear makeup. “There is nothing uncivilized about this,” said one.

Another asked: “Will the next step involve banning women from riding trains once and for all?”

CNN has contacted China Railway for comment.

Chinese officials have tried to defend the announcement, with a comment circulating on state media calling on people not to “overinterpret” it.

The commentary, first published on Nanfang Daily, stated that makeup incidents like the one described were among the “most common” complaints received.

However, he admitted that there were worse behaviors, such as making too much noise or occupying another passenger’s seat.

“The video editor is not asking people not to wear makeup on the train, but rather to advocate for a civilized way of traveling and taking into account the feelings of other passengers,” he says.

In response to questions from local media, staff at China Railway’s customer service hotline said that wearing makeup is not prohibited on trains.

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