Gay, Straight, Metro? Where Do You Fit In?
Stereotypes are older than dirt, especially that of the stereotypical â€śManly-manâ€ť. A stereotypical man works in a factory, comes home to his wife and 2.5 children in his mid-sized sedan, and washes the grunge of the dayâ€™s work off before he settles into his La-Z-Boy recliner to watch Monday Night Football on ESPN, right?
Stereotypical males seem to be a little more concerned with fashion and grooming than ever before, and some folks may even call them metrosexual. The term metrosexual may have just been a buzzword thatâ€™s recently dying out, but itâ€™s dying for several reasons.
Aside from not working in factories, and not having 2.5 kids or a mid sized sedan, many men donâ€™t necessarily fit the â€śManly-manâ€ť mold. Weâ€™re not all the Brawny man.
I, for one, grow a mean uni-brow if I donâ€™t maintain my eyebrows, so I pluck regularly. Now, I donâ€™t wax, or get them threaded, or even fully pluck; I just clean up the part between my eyes, but I also take good care to maintain my goatee, keeping it clean, with sharp edges, and well trimmed. I also love to cook, know my fair share about gardening, and Iâ€™m capable of cleaning and sewing. That doesnâ€™t make me a metrosexual does it?
Erynn Masi de Casanova, a UC assistant professor of sociology, probably has an answer for me.
Sheâ€™ll be presenting her research about the label on Nov. 14, at the 111th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in San Francisco.
She said, â€śI was really interested in finding out how individual men think about social categories, such as metrosexual,â€ť says Casanova. â€śItâ€™s a word thatâ€™s out there, but do men really think about it â€“ does it mean anything to them?
I found out that people had contradictory opinions about what being metrosexual was. Sometimes one person would reveal both negative and positive connotations about the word,â€ť says Casanova. She says the majority of the men referred to the aesthetic aspect of the stereotype â€“ men who were well dressed and well groomed.
She assumes, â€śthat it was likely a buzz-word that was fizzling out, or that now it has just become a label, as more men pay more attention to their appearance.â€ť
I have to agree.
I recently had to do a project on typographic contrast, and Cosmopolitan Magazine is full of it, so I bought an issue. (Side note: I felt really awkward at the register when I bought it. I felt compelled to tell the cashier it was for a project, but since Iâ€™m relatively secure in my manhood, I reasoned to keep my explanation to myself.) In the issue there was a story about â€śThe Rise of the Beta Maleâ€ť.
The story went on to explain that with the rising popularity of fashion for men and the recent trend of â€śbeta maleâ€ť actors becoming sex symbols in the last few years, that it only makes sense for more men to follow suit. (I would link the article, but I canâ€™t find it online; I suppose they publish articles separately from web than print to avoid redundancy-makes sense.)
Regarding the men that follow suit, that doesnâ€™t make them any less masculine though. Gender roles and sexual roles are two completely different things that are often related, but donâ€™t necessarily have to be.
Some folks may say Iâ€™m metro; I donâ€™t think so, but thatâ€™s also because Iâ€™ve got a sort of negative connotation for the label. I think Iâ€™m just well rounded.
The stereotype of the average male is changing. Are you changing with it, or are you stuck in the past?
Image Credit: Photos.com