Russian gender norms challenged by male bloggers - GulfToday

Russian gender norms challenged by male bloggers

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Beauty blogger Gevorg, 26, puts make-up on his face as he attends an interview.

Gevorg brushes mascara onto his already long, dark lashes before dabbing highlighter above his cheekbones and checking the results in a mirror of a central Moscow salon.

The 26-year-old is one of a growing number of young men in Russia who are offering makeup tutorials and beauty advice online -- a practice that is not only boosting their profiles and bank balances but also challenging the conservative country's strict gender norms.

"I feel that my work is a 'fun' education that helps people develop in a different way.

He began offering tips on the internet several years ago while working in a beauty store and finding many of his female customers had a limited idea about what they could do with the products.

The silver-haired blogger keeps his audience updated with regular Instagram posts and a couple of YouTube videos a week, in which he answers questions from viewers and discusses his latest purchases.

'It's not moral'

Gevorg admits he found it hard to deal with aggressive online comments when he first started posting about beauty products, which often targeted his Armenian background.

"They said that in Armenian culture you can't look like that, it's not moral," says the blogger.

"I used to try to engage with people... now I just hit the block button and it doesn't bother me anymore."

Despite his bright online presence, the stylist says he avoids problems in the street by wearing neutral makeup or none at all.

"There was a lot of aggression towards me at the very start," recalls the 31-year-old from the Siberian city of Abakan, who now manages two of his own cosmetics brands.

"Most of it came from women -- they were saying, 'How dare a man get involved in this area that was purely feminine'."

Agence France-Presse