A cartoon series has been pulled off the air by one of China’s biggest television networks for teaching kids “questionable” values, like dyeing their hair.
Shining Star (菲梦少女) is the Chinese version of a South Korean animated series that tells the stories of girls at a top-flight “idol school” who are competing to see who can become the school’s top idol group.
The series has drawn criticism from some netizens for imparting upon children “improper value guidance” by having the characters wear gaudy clothing and dye their hair different colors.
Hunan Television responded to this criticism this week, declaring that it would suspend the broadcast of the show while its content was checked and rectified.
The station explained that the series does not aim to encourage hair dyeing but instead decided to use different hair colorings to help the audience distinguish between different characters.
Reports of Hunan TV’s response have mostly generated confusion among Chinese web users on Weibo who wondered when exactly exotic hair colors on anime characters became such a big deal.
“Am I supposed to watch television in black and white?” one asked.
However, it’s true that mainstream Chinese society still holds prejudices against those who decide to dye their hair. Last year, a university in Xi’an prohibited its students from dyeing their hair anything but dark brown or black.