A cosmetics gift set provided to Women’s Union members at the sixth Convention of the Union
in celebration of Mother’s Day. Image: Daily NK
Daily NK has acquired a cosmetics gift set given to members of North Korea’s Socialist Women’s Union of Korea (f.k.a. Korean Democratic Women’s Union) and provincial female contributors including “hero mothers.” Kim Jong Un reportedly provided the gift sets to the participants of the Sixth Convention of the Socialist Women’s Union of Korea on Mother’s Day (November 16) last year.
The set includes cosmetic products including skin lotion, BB cream, night cream, and Okryu fragrance, which is said to be similar to the well-known fragrance Dior, and skin tone cosmetics. The products are all branded “Kumgangsan”‘ which is generally seen as superior to common brands like “Spring Fragrance (Pomhyanggi)” and “Milky Way (Unhasu).” The gift set also included 1 kg of candy, 1 kg of cookies, and 1 bottle of alcohol.
“Most women are pleased to receive export-quality cosmetics that aren’t often sold in the markets. The cosmetics are said to be of good quality, and some are saying, ‘The ‘No.1 gift’ is extraordinary,'” a source in Pyongyang told Daily NK.
Kim Jong Un designated November 16 as Mother’s Day at the Supreme People’s Assembly in May 2012. The date commemorates Kim Il Sung’s speech made on the same day in 1961 with the theme of “motherly duties for educating children,” at the first Mother’s Convention, which has now returned in the form of the Women’s Union convention, held last year after a 33-year break.
The reintroduction of the event appears to be an effort to consolidate support from the wider population.
“Cosmetics have become popular gifts for women since the wives of pilots began the practice in 2015. The regime seems to be trying to gain support from women in recent days,” the source noted.
However, some are pointing out that the cosmetics are imitations of South Korean products.
“Some North Korean women are claiming that the cosmetics are exactly the same as South Korean products. Although Dior is a French brand, many people mistake Western brands for South Korean products because it is widely believed that South Korean products are high quality,” a source in Ryanggang Province said.
“Some women are saying that even the regime has acknowledged the superiority of South Korean products.”
But there have also been negative responses to the gift packages, she said, noting that some residents are commenting that the gift sets are just a way for the regime to gain support because the government has realized that women are now mostly responsible for household finances.