I purchased a pair of hanafuda earrings at NerdCon, a small comic convention held in Accra last weekend. The earrings were part of my mishmash costume (I cosplayed as Tanjiro, Sasori and a witch at once), and helped me pay homage to the main character of the hit anime series, Kimetsu No Yaiba (Demon Slayer). That was me geeking out.
I’ve toyed with the idea of earrings for a minute and ended up wearing those hanafuda earrings on one ear. In trying to figure out what ear to wear them on (I went with left eventually, it was just more comfortable), I couldn’t help but wonder what the general thinking around men in earrings, especially long dangling ones (like the hanafudas) in Ghana was.
I reached out to some of my contacts for their thoughts with the question below.
What do you as a woman/man think about men wearing earrings – acceptable, unacceptable, marker of sexual preference, show of confidence, flamboyance? You tell me.
Below are some of the intriguing responses I received.
Yvery, 20 (Her)
I think it’s hot if he wears it for fashion. If he wears it for street cred, or to look like a bad boy, it’s a no for me. But the first red flag for me when I see a man with earrings is that he’s a bad boy. Because most of them have this womanizer vibe. That’s most guys who wear earrings I know.
Alex, 30 (Him)
I think it’s absolutely fabulous. Only reason i haven’t done that is cause I’ll look too pretty. Does it scream sexual orientation? I don’t think so. Maybe in the past, but now, I think men are just generally more fluid when it comes to fashion and fashion sense. I don’t think it screams sexuality but to some old school people, yes.
Men wearing earrings is very acceptable and I think it’s definitely a sign of confidence, sprinkled with a bit of flamboyance. I think those two go hand in hand. And now I want a f***n septum ring.
Ama, 26 (Her)
Personally not a fan of it. I think it’s unacceptable, but it’s a personal choice. I think it’s unnecessary.
ed, 27 (Him)
I don’t think anything of it. It’s a regular piece of fashion accessory. Now, that being said, I think there are some earrings that are too feminine for men to wear. eg. Hoop earrings. Would I wear an earring? No. But would I wear it for fun in a specific setting? Yes, if i don’t have to pierce (I hate pain). To an extent, wearing earrings could be a marker of a sexual orientation. I think it’s only unacceptable to wear earrings if its exaggerated.
I also think there’s artsy earrings, culture statement pieces and gangster earrings that men wear that looks cool. I also think it’s a confidence thing, it gives some people that edge.
Esinam, 24 (Her)
I think it’s purely a matter of preference. I am not in a position to decide whether it’s acceptable or not (for what someone chooses to do with their bodies).
But generally, I think it’s cool. We all can’t be the same.
Lastly, it’s dumb to use that to mark a man’s sexual orientation. Both heterosexual and homosexual men wear earrings. You really can’t tell.
Sydney, 31 (Him)
I’ve always wanted to wear earrings but never did because of the environment in which we are. If I was somewhere else, I would’ve done it. I’ve worn magnetic studs before as a fashion accessory. I’d say men wearing earrings is not that accepted here. But you can wear it, it can be a confidence thing if you’re someone who wants to have a certain aura in some environments and you want to look chic.
I don’t think there are sexual connotations to men wearing earrings in Ghana. You’ll just be regarded as hip, yo-yo or an akata boy.
It’s not really frowned upon, but you’ll be looked at as a ruffian. There are some people who also do it, if you’re an affluent member of society. Wearing an earring won’t look that bad. It just looks like, okay, you have the money and you want to flaunt your wealth. You want to look like your pocket.
Dede, 27 (Her)
It’s a marker of taste. I think it shows the man his own style but I’m not into it. For me, I wouldn’t seriously date a guy with earrings. I like clean cut guys, conservative looking. I guess I’m more conservative in dressing than I thought.
I non-seriously dated a guy who had block earrings and sleeve tattoos on his arms and legs for a while. It was fun but I was constantly explaining to people that it was his choice, it was okay, blah, blah. It was exhausting.
Mamle, 32 (Her)
If it’s a stud, cool. Totally acceptable. Dangling earrings are unacceptable and I’ll judge you as queer. I see nothing confident or flamboyant about that.
Albie, 25 (Her)
I actually think it’s really cute, especially the studs. I think the studs are really nice. Whether it’s acceptable or unacceptable, who cares? I think it’s nice. Mtchew. I also think it really depends on the earrings. You know what Black Sheriff wears, the little hoops. I think it goes well with his face. I dunno about other guys wearing the hoops as well. So maybe the hoops are a little….yeah.
In terms of a marker of sexual orientation, not necessarily. That won’t be the only factor you’d look at, unless it’s like dangling earrings, like one long feather on one side. That one you’ll know that okay… are you about to Vogue for us?
I think it all depends on the earrings, but definitely the studs are really cute.
Yemi, 28 (Her)
I have no problem with a guy wearing earrings. I think it’s nice. I personally prefer when it’s a stud, not a big, long one or a hoop. But then again, if a guy chooses to wear any size, fine by me.
I also think there are some guys it just doesn’t fit so if it looks good on you, that’s fine. It’s just like how some earrings don’t fit some girls. So find what works for you.
Lastly, I think for a guy, there’s a time and place to wear earrings. For instance, I don’t think wearing it to a corporate job setting is appropriate. So just know when to wear and when not to wear. Then again, if your work place is cool with it, then fine.
Setor, 31 (Her)
I think it’s alright. Not really a novelty, but it definitely shows you don’t care about societal standards of behaviour. It also depends on the context. A corporate looking guy in an earring signifies unconventionality and individuality.
A young dude on the street might just want to fit in with a crowd, or copying musicians and other celebs.
These are some really interesting thoughts and go to show that generally, young Ghanaians don’t have issues with them. They only bat an eyelid when men wear dangling and especially hoop earrings. Am I gonna keep wearing my hanafuda earrings? We’ll see. While we’re on the topic of straight men wearing earrings, below are photos of me in one.