Metrosexual

Last updated
London's Jermyn Street, a centre of men's tailoring, with statue honouring the Regency era dandy Beau Brummell Beau Brummell - geograph.org.uk - 783855.jpg
London's Jermyn Street, a centre of men's tailoring, with statue honouring the Regency era dandy Beau Brummell

Metrosexual is a portmanteau of metropolitan and sexual coined in 1994, describing a man of ambiguous sexuality, (especially one living in an urban, post-industrial, capitalist culture) who is especially meticulous about his grooming and appearance, typically spending a significant amount of time and money on shopping as part of this. [1]

Contents

The term references uncertainty as to whether a metrosexual is heterosexual, gay or a bisexual man. [2]

Origin

The term metrosexual originated in an article by Mark Simpson [3] [4] published on November 15, 1994, in The Independent . Simpson wrote:

Metrosexual man, the single young man with a high disposable income, living or working in the city (because that's where all the best shops are), is perhaps the most promising consumer market of the decade. In the Eighties he was only to be found inside fashion magazines such as GQ . In the Nineties, he's everywhere and he's going shopping.

David Beckham, described as "the biggest metrosexual in Britain" in Simpson's 2002 article that led to the term's popularity David Beckham 2009.jpg
David Beckham, described as "the biggest metrosexual in Britain" in Simpson's 2002 article that led to the term's popularity

However, it was not until the early 2000s when Simpson returned to the subject that the term became globally popular. In 2002, Salon.com published an article by Simpson, which described David Beckham as "the biggest metrosexual in Britain" and offered this updated definition:

The typical metrosexual is a young man with money to spend, living in or within easy reach of a metropolis – because that's where all the best shops, clubs, gyms and hairdressers are. He might be officially gay, straight or bisexual, but this is utterly immaterial because he has clearly taken himself as his own love object and pleasure as his sexual preference. [2]

The advertising agency Euro RSCG Worldwide adopted the term shortly thereafter for a marketing study.[ citation needed ] Sydney's daily newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald , ran a major feature in March 2003 titled "The Rise of the Metrosexual" (also syndicated in its sister paper The Age ).[ citation needed ] A couple of months later, The New York Times' Sunday Styles section ran a story, "Metrosexuals Come Out". [3] The term and its connotations continued to roll steadily into more news outlets around the world. Though it did represent a complex and gradual change in the shopping and self-presentation habits of both men and women, the idea of metrosexuality was often distilled in the media down to a few men and a short checklist of vanities, like skin care products, scented candles and costly, colorful dress shirts and pricey designer jeans. [5] It was this image of the metrosexual—that of a straight young man who got pedicures and facials, practiced aromatherapy and spent freely on clothes—that contributed to a backlash against the term from men who merely wanted to feel free to take more care with their appearance than had been the norm in the 1990s, when companies abandoned dress codes, Dockers khakis became a popular brand, and XL, or extra-large, became the one size that fit all. [5]

A 60 Minutes story on 1960s–70s pro footballer Joe Namath suggested he was "perhaps, America's first metrosexual" after filming his most famous ad sporting Beautymist pantyhose. [6]

When the word first became popular, various sources attributed its origin to trendspotter Marian Salzman, but Salzman has credited Simpson as the original source for her usage of the word. [7] [8] [9]

Cristiano Ronaldo's, a "spornosexual" according to Simpson, physique has often been highlighted by the media Cristiano Ronaldo 2013-06-10.jpg
Cristiano Ronaldo's, a "spornosexual" according to Simpson, physique has often been highlighted by the media

Over the course of the following years, other terms countering or substituting for "metrosexual" appeared. Perhaps the most widely used was "retrosexual", which in its anti- or pre-metrosexual sense was also first used by Simpson. [10] However, in later years, the term was used by some to describe men who subscribed to what they affected to be the grooming and dress standards of a previous era, such as the handsome, impeccably turned-out fictional character of Donald Draper in the television series Mad Men , itself set in an idealised version of the early 1960s New York advertising world. [11]

Another example was the short-lived "übersexual", which was coined by marketing executives and authors of The Future of Men, and was perhaps inspired by Simpson's use of the term "uber-metrosexual" to describe David Beckham. [12]

Simpson's original definition of the metrosexual was sexually ambiguous, or at least went beyond the straight/gay dichotomy. Marketers, in contrast, insisted that the metrosexual was always "straight" – they even tried to pretend that he was not vain. [12] However, they failed to convince the public, hence, says Simpson, their attempt to create the uber-straight ubersexual.

In 2016, Simpson coined the term that combines sport and porn: "spornosexual". Simpson, who highlighted footballer Cristiano Ronaldo as a "spornosexual" said that "(Spornosexual is) a fusion of sport and porn [...] Cultivating an athletic body as an object of desire, and showing it off on social networks, accumulating sexual partners. It’s a tendency with young men." [13]

In 2016, the "lumbersexual" term circulated in media, fashion, and online outlets, describing a type of male aesthetics that use outdoor gear for urban aesthetics rather than function. [14]

Narcissism

In 2002, this idea was further explored in the book Media Sport Stars: Masculinities and Moralities, (Routledge) when Gary Whannel described Beckham's: "narcissistic self-absorption", seeing it as a break from the prevailing masculine codes. [15]

Female metrosexuality

Female metrosexuality is a concept that Simpson explored with American writer Caroline Hagood. [16] They employed the female characters from the HBO series Sex and the City in order to illustrate examples of wo-metrosexuality, a term Hagood coined to refer to the feminine form of metrosexuality. The piece implied that, although this phenomenon would not necessarily empower women, the fact that the metrosexual lifestyle de-emphasizes traditional male and female gender roles could help women out in the long run. However, it is debatable whether the characters made famous by Sex and the City truly de-emphasized female gender roles, given that the series focused a high amount of attention on stereotypically feminine interests like clothing, appearance, and romantic entanglements.

Changing masculinity

Men's fashion industry and consumer culture is closely related to the concept of the metrosexual man. William Rast fashion show for New York Fashion Week.jpg
Men's fashion industry and consumer culture is closely related to the concept of the metrosexual man.

Traditional masculine norms, as described in psychologist Ronald F. Levant's Masculinity Reconstructed are: "avoidance of femininity; restricted emotions; sex disconnected from intimacy; pursuit of achievement and status; self-reliance; strength; aggression and homophobia". [17]

Various studies, including market research by Euro RSCG, have suggested that the pursuit of achievement and status is not as important to men as it used to be; and neither is, to a degree, the restriction of emotions or the disconnection of sex from intimacy. Another norm change supported by research is that men "no longer find sexual freedom universally enthralling". Lillian Alzheimer noted less avoidance of femininity and the "emergence of a segment of men who have embraced customs and attitudes once deemed the province of women". [18]

Men's fashion magazines – such as Details , Men's Vogue , and the defunct Cargo – targeted what one Details editor called "men who moisturize and read a lot of magazines". [19]

Changes in culture and attitudes toward masculinity, visible in the media through television shows such as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy , Queer as Folk , and Will & Grace , have changed these traditional masculine norms. Metrosexuals only made their appearance after cultural changes in the environment and changes in views on masculinity.[ citation needed ] Simpson said in his article "Metrosexual? That rings a bell..." that "Gay men provided the early prototype for metrosexuality. Decidedly single, definitely urban, dreadfully uncertain of their identity (hence the emphasis on pride and the susceptibility to the latest label) and socially emasculated, gay men pioneered the business of accessorising—and combining—masculinity and desirability." [20]

By 2004, men were buying 69 percent of their own apparel, according to retail analyst Marshal Cohen Shopping! (3155147413).jpg
By 2004, men were buying 69 percent of their own apparel, according to retail analyst Marshal Cohen

But such probing analyses into various shoppers' psyches may have ignored other significant factors affecting men's shopping habits, foremost among them women's shopping habits. As the retail analyst Marshal Cohen explained in a 2005 article in the New York Times entitled, "Gay or Straight? Hard to Tell", the fact that women buy less of men's clothing than they used to has, more than any other factor, propelled men into stores to shop for themselves. "In 1985 only 25 percent of all men's apparel was bought by men, he said; 75 percent was bought by women for men. By 1998 men were buying 52 percent of apparel; in 2004 that number grew to 69 percent and shows no sign of slowing." One result of this shift was the revelation that men cared more about how they look than the women shopping for them had. [5]

However, despite changes in masculinity, research has suggested men still feel social pressure to endorse traditional masculine male models in advertising. Martin and Gnoth (2009) found that feminine men preferred feminine models in private, but stated a preference for the traditional masculine models when their collective self was salient. In other words, feminine men endorsed traditional masculine models when they were concerned about being classified by other men as feminine. The authors suggested this result reflected the social pressure on men to endorse traditional masculine norms. [21]

In its soundbite diffusion through the channels of marketeers and popular media, who eagerly and constantly reminded their audience that the metrosexual was straight, the metrosexual has congealed into something more digestible for consumers: a heterosexual male who is in touch with his feminine side — he color-coordinates, cares deeply about exfoliation, and has perhaps manscaped. [22] Men did not go to shopping malls, so consumer culture promoted the idea of a sensitive man who went to malls, bought magazines and spent freely to improve his personal appearance. As Simpson put it: [23]

For some time now, old-fashioned (re)productive, repressed, unmoisturized heterosexuality has been given the pink slip by consumer capitalism. The stoic, self-denying, modest straight male didn't shop enough (his role was to earn money for his wife to spend), and so he had to be replaced by a new kind of man, one less certain of his identity and much more interested in his image — that's to say, one who was much more interested in being looked at (because that's the only way you can be certain you actually exist). A man, in other words, who is an advertiser's walking wet dream.

Mark Simpson, Salon.com

In contrast, there is also the view that metrosexuality is at least partly a naturally occurring phenomenon, much like the Aesthetic Movement of the 19th century, and that the metrosexual is a modern incarnation of a dandy. Fashion designer Tom Ford drew parallels when he described David Beckham as a: "total modern dandy". Ford suggested that "macho" sporting role models who also care about fashion and appearance influence masculine norms in wider society. [24]

See also

Related Research Articles

Sissy, also sissy baby, sissy boy, sissy man, sissy pants, etc., is a pejorative term for a boy or man who does not demonstrate masculine, and shows possible signs of fragility. Generally, sissy implies a lack of courage, strength, athleticism, coordination, testosterone, male libido, and stoic calm, all of which have typically been associated with masculinity and considered important to the male role in Western society. A man might also be considered a sissy for being interested in typically feminine hobbies or employment, displaying effeminate behavior, being unathletic, or being homosexual.

<i>Butch</i> and <i>femme</i> Masculine and feminine identities in lesbians

Butch and femme are terms used in the lesbian subculture to ascribe or acknowledge a masculine (butch) or feminine (femme) identity with its associated traits, behaviors, styles, self-perception, and so on. The terms were founded in lesbian communities in the twentieth century. This concept has been called a "way to organize sexual relationships and gender and sexual identity". Butch-femme culture is not the sole form of a lesbian dyadic system, as there are many women in butch–butch and femme–femme relationships.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Masculinity</span> Attributes associated with boys and men

Masculinity is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles associated with men and boys. Masculinity can be theoretically understood as socially constructed, and there is also evidence that some behaviors considered masculine are influenced by both cultural factors and biological factors. To what extent masculinity is biologically or socially influenced is subject to debate. It is distinct from the definition of the biological male sex, as anyone can exhibit masculine traits. Standards of masculinity vary across different cultures and historical periods.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Femininity</span> Attributes associated with women

Femininity is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women and girls. Femininity can be understood as socially constructed, and there is also some evidence that some behaviors considered feminine are influenced by both cultural factors and biological factors. To what extent femininity is biologically or socially influenced is subject to debate. It is conceptually distinct from both the female biological sex and from womanhood, as all humans can exhibit feminine and masculine traits, regardless of sex and gender.

<i>Femme</i> Identity for people, usually lesbians, with feminine characteristics

Femme is a term traditionally used to describe a lesbian who exhibits a feminine identity.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gaydar</span> Colloquialism for intuitively assessing peoples sexual orientation

Gaydar is a colloquialism referring to the intuitive ability of a person to assess others' sexual orientations as homosexual, bisexual or straight. Gaydar relies on verbal and nonverbal clues and LGBT stereotypes, including a sensitivity to social behaviors and mannerisms like body language, the tone of voice used by a person when speaking, overt rejections of traditional gender roles, a person's occupation, and grooming habits.

Effeminacy is the embodiment of traits and/or expressions in those who are not of the female sex that are often associated with what is generally perceived to be feminine behaviours, mannerisms, styles, or gender roles, rather than with traditionally masculine behaviours, mannerisms, styles or roles. Effeminacy and other gender expressions are independent of a person's sexuality or sexual identity and are displayed by people of all sexualities and none. However, effeminacy is seen in some societies as something embodied by some in the homosexual male community. The embodiment of effeminacy by people in some societies has resulted in prejudice, discrimination, antagonism and insults towards those who display it.

Mark Simpson is an English journalist, writer, and broadcaster specialising in popular culture, media, and masculinity. Simpson is the originator of the term and concept metrosexual. He has been described by one critic as "the skinhead Oscar Wilde".

Straight-acting is a term for a same gender-attracted person who does not exhibit the appearance or mannerisms of what is seen as typical for gay people. Although the label is used by and reserved almost exclusively for gay and bisexual men, it may also be used to describe a lesbian or bisexual woman exhibiting a feminine appearance and mannerisms. Because the term invokes negative stereotypes of gay people, its application is often controversial and may cause offense.

A soft butch, or stem (stud-fem), is a lesbian who exhibits some stereotypical butch traits without fitting the masculine stereotype associated with butch lesbians. Soft butch is on the spectrum of butch, as are stone butch and masculine, whereas on the contrary, ultra fem, high femme, and lipstick lesbian are some labels on the spectrum of lesbians with a more prominent expression of femininity, also known as femmes. Soft butches have gender identities of women, but primarily display masculine characteristics; soft butches predominantly express masculinity with a touch of femininity.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">LGBT stereotypes</span>

Stereotypes about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are based on their sexual orientations, gender identities, or gender expressions. Stereotypical perceptions may be acquired through interactions with parents, teachers, peers and mass media, or, more generally, through a lack of firsthand familiarity, resulting in an increased reliance on generalizations.

Hypermasculinity is a psychological term for the exaggeration of male stereotypical behavior, such as an emphasis on physical strength, aggression, and sexuality. This term has been used ever since the research conducted by Donald L. Mosher and Mark Sirkin in 1984. Mosher and Sirkin operationally define hypermasculinity or the "macho personality" as consisting of three variables:

In gender studies, hegemonic masculinity is part of R. W. Connell's gender order theory, which recognizes multiple masculinities that vary across time, society, culture, and the individual. Hegemonic masculinity is defined as a practice that legitimizes men's dominant position in society and justifies the subordination of the common male population and women, and other marginalized ways of being a man. Conceptually, hegemonic masculinity proposes to explain how and why men maintain dominant social roles over women, and other gender identities, which are perceived as "feminine" in a given society.

LGBT linguistics is the study of language as used by members of LGBT communities. Related or synonymous terms include lavender linguistics, advanced by William Leap in the 1990s, which "encompass[es] a wide range of everyday language practices" in LGBT communities, and queer linguistics, which refers to the linguistic analysis concerning the effect of heteronormativity on expressing sexual identity through language. The former term derives from the longtime association of the color lavender with LGBT communities. "Language", in this context, may refer to any aspect of spoken or written linguistic practices, including speech patterns and pronunciation, use of certain vocabulary, and, in a few cases, an elaborate alternative lexicon such as Polari.

"No homo" is a slang phrase used at the end of a sentence to assert the statement spoken by the speaker had no intentional homosexual implications. The phrase is also "added to a statement in order to rid [oneself] of a possible homosexual double-entendre".

Androgyny is the possession of both masculine and feminine characteristics. Androgyny may be expressed with regard to biological sex, gender identity, or gender expression.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marian Salzman</span> Jewish-American business executive (born 1959)

Marian Salzman is a Jewish American advertising and public relations executive. She is Senior Vice President, Global Communications for Philip Morris International, a tobacco company. She was formerly CEO of Havas PR North America and chaired the Global Collective, the organizing collaborative of all of the PR assets of Havas. She rejoined Euro RSCG in August 2009, having previously worked for the holding company as executive vice president, chief strategic officer, from January 2001 to October 2004.

Gender policing is the imposition or enforcement of normative gender expressions on an individual who is perceived as not adequately performing, through appearance or behavior, their gender or sex that was assigned to them at birth. Gender policing serves to devalue or delegitimize expressions that deviate from normative conceptions of gender, thus reinforcing the gender binary. According to Judith Butler, rejection of individuals who are non-normatively gendered is a component of creating one's own gender identity. Gender mainstreaming is a public policy concept, whereas gender policing is a more general social phenomenon.

Gender roles in non-heterosexual communities are a topic of much debate; some people believe traditional, heterosexual gender roles are often erroneously enforced on non-heterosexual relationships by means of heteronormative culture and attitudes towards these non-conformative relationships.

Spornosexual is a blend of sports and the clipping porno, compounded with sexual. The term was coined by Mark Simpson in 2014 to describe a man "who is influenced in his appearance by the stars of sport and pornography". It recognises young men who use "their toned bodies on social media as a means of feeling valuable in society." Jamie Hakim has described this as a "power-shift of a segment of society who have historically defined themselves through their mind, whilst at the same time defining those they have subordinated - such as women - through their bodies".

References

  1. Collins, William. "Metrosexual". Collins Unabridged English Dictionary. Harper Collins. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  2. 1 2 Simpson, Mark (22 July 2002). "Meet the metrosexual". Salon. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  3. 1 2 St John, Warren (22 June 2003). "Metrosexuals come out". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  4. Simpson, Mark. "Here come the mirror men: why the future is metrosexual". marksimpson.com. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  5. 1 2 3 Colman, David (19 June 2005). "Gay or Straight? Hard to Tell". The New York Times.
  6. Hancock, David (16 November 2006). "Broadway Joe: Football great talks about his drinking problem with Bob Simon". CBS News 60 Minutes. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  7. Salzman, Marian (26 February 2014). "The Man Brand". Forbes. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  8. Simpson, Mark. "Metrosexual? That rings a bell..." marksimpson.com. Archived from the original on 24 January 2007. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  9. Hoggard, Liz (29 June 2003). "She's the bees knees". The Observer. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  10. McFedries, Paul. "retrosexual". wordspy.com. Wordspy. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  11. Lipke, David; Thomas, Brenner (21 June 2010). "Men's Trend: The Retrosexual Revolution". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  12. 1 2 Simpson, Mark (2005). "Metrodaddy v. Ubermummy". 3am Magazine. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  13. Webb, Tom. "Inventor of the Term 'Metrosexual' Says Cristiano Ronaldo Is 'Spornosexual'". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2022-04-27.
  14. Diaz Ruiz, Carlos A.; Kjellberg, Hans (2020). "Feral segmentation: How cultural intermediaries perform market segmentation in the wild". Marketing Theory. 20 (4): 429–457. doi:10.1177/1470593120920330. ISSN   1470-5931.
  15. Coad, David (2008). The Metrosexual: Gender, Sexuality and Sport. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, Albany. p. 187. ISBN   9780791474099 . Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  16. Huffington Post Mark Simpson and Caroline Hagood on Wo-Metrosexuality and the City April 13, 2010
  17. Levant, Ronald F.; Kopecky, Gini (1995). Masculinity Reconstructed: Changing the Rules of Manhood—At Work, in Relationships, and in Family Life . New York: Dutton. ISBN   978-0452275416.
  18. Alzheimer, Lillian (22 June 2003). "Metrosexuals: The Future of Men?". Euro RSCG. Archived from the original on 3 August 2003. Retrieved 15 December 2003.
  19. Fine, Jon (28 February 2005). "Counter couture: men's fashion titles on rise even as ad pages fall". Ad Age. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  20. Simpson, Mark (22 June 2003). "Metrosexual? That rings a bell..." Independent on Sunday; later MarkSimpson.com. Archived from the original on 24 January 2007. Retrieved 2003-10-13.
  21. Martin, Brett A. S.; Juergen Gnoth (30 January 2009). "Is the Marlboro Man the Only Alternative? The Role of Gender Identity and Self-Construal Salience in Evaluations of Male Models" (PDF). Marketing Letters. No. 20. pp. 353–367.
  22. Mark Simpson in The Guardian January 2012
  23. Simpson, Mark (22 June 2002). "Meet the metrosexual". Salon.com; later MarkSimpson.com. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2006.
  24. Coad, David (2008). The Metrosexual: Gender, Sexuality and Sport. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, Albany. pp. 186–7. ISBN   9780791474099 . Retrieved 30 July 2014.

Further reading