What is Metrosexuality?
As we currently live in a world where trends change quicker than politicians promises, I felt it was only right to have at least one article on Metrosexuality. A certain style of person (predominantly male) that has stayed and in fact risen in popularity in recent times. Now, while writing this I looked up what the ol’ google machine defines metrosexuality as and came across one particular definition on Urban Dictionary (the most reliable of dictionaries):
“A straight guy who’s so cool, smart, attractive, stylish and cultured, that everyone thinks he’s gay/ But he’s so secure in his masculinity that he doesn’t care”– As a self-confessed proud metrosexual this is how I like to believe metrosexuality should be defined. But truthfully speaking, it doesn’t quite cut it. What’s more is there is quite a bit of debate that comes with the rising popularity of metrosexuality.
But first what actually does it mean? Well obviously there are different interpretations of it as a term, but the way I use it to define myself is a heterosexual male with a confidence in his sexuality to the extent he openly enjoys shopping/fashion/attempting to look good. Essentially a straight man who is happy enough to appear rather camp and be associated with qualities that are ‘typically feminine’. Unlike the definition on Urban Dictionary they don’t necessarily have to be “cool” “smart” or “attractive”. As much as I understand the definition is primarily intended for humour these are still three attributes that many people confuse the term with having to be. Almost as if to say “well if you’re gonna be a woman about it, then at least be handsome, cool and intelligent so we can bear you more”, maybe not quite that harsh but that’s sort of how the evolution of Metrosexuality started. Think back to the 50s , a time after The Great Depression and Wars where woman had been taking on male roles when they were away and as a result emotionally emasculating many of the worlds men. Quite ridiculous to look back on now, but it was a time when everything was, on the exterior, ‘simpler’. Men were Men, Women were Women and that’s how it went. Yet as life changed, those roles changed with it and without too much warning the feminine heterosexual man such as James Stewart emerged in less masculine roles. The 50’s specifically was a complicated time because most filmmakers and those in the industry were trying their best to enforce masculinity even more, but the change had already started and there was an odd conflict.
Somehow that conflict sort of never went away, which is what brings us back to modern day metrosexuality. I’ve been reading up on this for quite some time because I find it quite an interesting debate to see progress. I found an article by The Independent from 2013 with the title “Are men becoming too metrosexual to be sexy?”. That title in itself just shows how even 3 years ago there was still a very typical and limited idea of what is attractive and ‘sexy’. Somehow even in 2016 there is quite a large debate over how metrosexual men are too feminine and do not uphold their strong and protective role. Now even if you do still believe that women can’t look after themselves and men have to protect them (crazy to think that’s still a belief) it should be known that the way a man looks after himself does not hinder his ability to protect. The same way that an incredibly feminine and seemingly vain woman can still have the same qualities that a buff, gym-rat man can have when it comes to defense.
I am aware that I’m going slightly into HeForShe territory here, and to be honest that doesn’t bother me too much. Because it is one of the first campaigns of its type that not only protests feminist rights but also supports the rights of feminine men. Possibly one of the campaigns most underestimated features. It seems silly but it is, as far as I know, one of the only campaigns that does that, because not enough people believe it is important.
As much as this is in a sense a feminist article because it is in support of femininity in whatever way it presents itself, it’s important to also not present it as being something that is always negated or being the same as female rights. Metrosexuality and male femininity in reality hasn’t been around very long, it is still a very modern concept. It is only now that people really actively talk about it. To begin with metrosexuality was just sort of ignored. “Ah its just a phase” sort of thing.
BUT let’s think about one of the world’s most metrosexual males: David Beckham (pictured in the featured photo). There’s not a huge amount to say except that he is one of the greatest and most iconic figures of metrosexuality. His self-confidence essentially started the conversation on metrosexuality before it was fashionable. Beckham wore makeup, he occasionally wore nail varnish, he was meticulous with the care of his hair and his general appearance and he was basically one of the most overt metrosexuals in the world. Yet as a rather interesting CNN article named David Beckham; Rise of the Metrosexual mentioned “in the late 1990s, when he first surfaced, only Beckham could get away with it. After all he enjoyed the adoration of women all over the world”. Now I am not going to go ahead and say that literally none of that has changed, far from it. The image of the metrosexual is seen as quite attractive to certain people, but it still seems quite limited to those in fame or with masculine jobs. Yet these figures of metrosexuality, whether super attractive or not are important. They popularise and normalise the lifestyle and from that it becomes less ‘weird’, however long it takes and as frustrating as it can be, that is the celebrity way. If a celebrity endorses it, it’s more likely to succeed.
I don’t believe that the metrosexual will die out, the amount of us will only increase. But the debate over its normality and its negatives/positives will inevitably continue for years to come, and it will be interesting to follow. Yet in these cases it is as always incredibly important to at least acknowledge in happiness that the issue is being talked about, one way or another. Metrosexuality is the freeing of titles and typical ideals, it is simply just being oneself, however feminine that may be. It is admittedly having to be asked “are you gay?” on a regular basis and explaining “No, I’m just rather camp and I try to look after my appearance.” Hopefully if you weren’t already clued in on what metrosexuality entailed or if you held some sort of negativity towards it you might now be enlightened or at least enjoyed the read.
Now I realised, after having to be informed by my ever watchful Aunt, that I forgot to add a quote to last weeks article, so for your reading pleasure here’s a double whammy:
“Gender equality not only liberates women but also men from prescribed gender stereotypes” – Emma Watson, HeForShe
“Any trend that permits men to rebel against strict gender rules of appearance is going to make the world a more expressive and sensitive place for all of us” – Russell Smith, Mens Style.