Cover Jimin of BTS performs onstage during 102.7 KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2019 Presented by Capital One at the Forum on December 6, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

BTS’ Jimin has been praised for his gender-neutral choices. Here we break down the times he challenged gender norms

BTS is known and loved for many things: their heartfelt music, their lovable personality, their fashion sense and most especially, the things they stand for—one of which is challenging gender norms whether it's through their outfits, their lyrics or their own messages.

One member, in particular, Jimin has gained the attention of many for his notable gender-neutral fashion choices. He made buzz when he wore a skirt in one of the group’s promotional posters for Butter and continued the conversation on masculinity that the group has already been open about. To his fans, however, Jimin has always been a member who constantly challenges gender norms, embracing the masculine, feminine and androgynous on and off stage.

In celebration of the vocalist and dancer’s birthday on October 13, we break down five moments where he broke gender norms.

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1. The skirt that wowed the world

To BTS fans, Jimin in a skirt is no shock but to newer fans or those who are just casually listening to the group, it caused quite a stir. The skirt, or kilt, in question is a Celine piece he wore during the promotional photos for Butter. Jimin is known for wearing Celine outfits on many other occasions.

Certainly wearing a kilt is not new but for a leading pop idol from South Korea? It sends a strong message to wear what they want regardless of gender.

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2. Womenswear? What’s what?

BTS as a whole has always worn gender-neutral fashion pieces but particularly Jimin. The vocalist and dancer has been spotted wearing pieces from the womenswear collection of various fashion brands, notably Celine and Chanel—whether it's at group events or during live streams with his fans.

Some of these pieces include a Chanel cotton-silk blend knitted varsity sweater, a Chanel wool tweed jacket, Palomo custom tulle blouse and the Celine embroidered Teddy in wool which female idols have also worn.

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3. His love for earrings

Besides his affinity for womenswear, Jimin is also no stranger to wearing earrings just like the rest of his band members. While it’s not surprising for men to wear earrings, earrings of the size and style that Jimin wears isn’t common, especially as there are still biases towards facial accessories.

Particularly for me, even growing up in Hong Kong, earrings weren’t allowed in school regardless of your gender.

Jimin has worn a variety of earrings, whether it’s the simple hoop ones, the studs or something more elaborate like the floral ones. It’s almost rare not to see Jimin without earrings, even in the personal photos he poses on the group's official Twitter.

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4. From toughness to softness

BTS’ earlier days, their debut (No More Dream era), Skool Luv Affair, and Dark & Wild eras were marked with hip-hop and punk style, not only with their music but also their style. BTS was originally intended to become a hip-hop group and their fashion choices in the earlier days rely heavily on the genre.

Like the rest of his groupmates, Jimin was clad in loose clothing, studded necklaces, snapbacks and dark eyeliners—all of which are very masculine and during that time, he would even show his abs as some of the “highlight” of their performance.

But eventually, as the group evolved, so did their music. When the group shifted to their HYYH era (or The Most Beautiful Moment In Life era), they went for a softer, more youthful image to now, a more mature BTS. Jimin now started to incorporate and pay homage to his ballet roots, more noticeably seen in his Black Swan performance. His movements are more fluid and he just seemed more confident in his androgynous image.

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5. Embracing the makeup

BTS fans know that the group’s earlier days were far from easy, especially coming from a small agency and their concept as a hip-hop group didn't appeal much to the local audience. Particularly, because they were going with a hip-hop concept and have two members—RM and Suga—who were former underground rappers, they were heavily criticised for wearing makeup as it was a disgrace to being rappers.

But over the years, the group remained true and didn’t let prejudice or the belief that makeup is only for women. Jimin in particular is known for matching the colour of his contact lens with his eye shadow.

In one episode of Run BTS, Jimin was spotted applying lip balm and in another, a behind the scenes photos show his stylist applying makeup. But what resonated with fans was, when he was in a cosmetics area in a shopping mall, he mentioned wanting to do his father's makeup.

BTS leader RM also revealed that Jimin started the tradition of giving gifts. In the past, they didn’t think much of it because they were “men” and they used to think such things were “unmanly” but since Jimin started doing it, the others followed suit.

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