Out In The Open

Is it 'manly' for men to wear makeup?

David Yi wants to encourage other men to redefine masculinity by embracing their inner and outer beauty. His men’s beauty publication Very Good Light specifically targets Generation Z.
David Yi is the founder and editor of Very Good Light. (Brian Sanchez)

David Yi is a man who wears makeup. 

He is also the founder and editor of Very Good Light, a Generation Z-centric men's beauty publication. 

"We're trying to redefine masculinity and also create an inclusive new space for young men."

A couple of years ago he was with his coworker at lunch, and asked him if he would ever consider using makeup. 

"I kind of asked him, I was like, would you actually ever use makeup? Would you use a BB cream? Would you use a concealer? And he looked at me and he was like, 'David I'm using all three of those right now!,"

In no world did David imagine this man would ever wear makeup. And that's when it dawned on him that other men were interested in makeup too.

They happen to sometimes wear makeup, they happen to sometimes wear women's wear, but no one questions their sexuality in that generation. They're just like oh cool he's wearing a dress, what's for lunch?- David Yi on Gen-Z 

"I think that any time a man decides to do anything outside of the heteronormative box, people are like, 'That's not a manly thing to do, that's abnormal, that's weird, that's obscure.'"

David wants to change this. And he thinks that the best way to do it is by targeting people born around the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, also known as Generation Z. 

"When I'm looking at Gen Z they're actually the first generation that really doesn't care about the constructs of the past. ...They don't think about sexuality or gender as being this binary landscape or something that has to be binary. They think if you're human you're human and you can express yourself how you want, for the most part at least."

He says that in past generations, men haven't been able to show emotions or express themselves freely. But he thinks the upcoming generation sees things differently. 

In the context of men's beauty and grooming in 2017, he thinks manning up means owning yourself. Owning who you are. And owning your own authentic voice.

"I think that vulnerability and being able to be vulnerable and to own your vulnerability, that's manning up. To be able to be who you want to be, that's manning up. To be able to express yourself how you want to express yourself, that's manning up. And to be unabashed about your own personal identity, I think that's the most masculine thing that anyone can ever do."