Death of the metrosexual As men embrace fashion and grooming more than ever, it is no longer considered effeminate to look well-turned out
16:28 GMT, 14 November 2012
It describes the style of a man who spends longer than average on personal grooming: picking out his clothes, styling his hair and sometimes even applying make-up.
A mix of 'metropolitan' and 'homosexual', it was coined in 1994 and is most commonly associated with footballer David Beckham, who became a global style icon after meeting his future wife Victoria.
But so standard is it today for men to be concerned with their appearance and interested in fashion that it is no longer considered effeminate or 'gay' for a man to take pride in looking well-groomed – and the word is dying out.
Asymmetrical metrosexual: David Beckham wearing a typical metrosexual uniform – waistcoat, hat, man bag – with his wife Victoria in 2008
First coined by British journalist Mark
Simpson, the term described a young, single, normally straight male city
dweller with a high disposable income. But the phrase is falling out of use among
male workers in cities, according to new research.
University of Cincinnati assistant professor of
sociology, Erynn Masi
de Casanova, who conducted the study, said: 'The interviews found that the
metrosexual moniker opened up a way for heterosexual men to enjoy
fashion without being stereotyped as gay, although others considered the
term a more polite way of calling someone gay.'
A thing of the past Well-turned out men such as singer Justin Timberlake and model David Gandy are now so common that the term 'metrosexual' has almost become defunct
She continued: 'Some men saw the
interest in fashion as a possible way to bridge gaps between gay and
straight men. Some of the heterosexual men interviewed admitted taking
fashion advice from gay men.
men also said that the term was being used less and less – that it was
likely a buzzword that was fizzling out, or that now it has just become a
label, as more men pay more attention to their appearance.'
Her study – is the Metrosexual Extinct Men, Dress and Looking Good in Corporate America – is based on interviews with 22 men from New York, San Francisco and Cincinnati, and is being presented at the 111th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in San Francisco.
Smarty pants: Thanks to the rise of male grooming, and well-oiled boy bands such as One Direction, pictured, the term 'metrosexual' is no longer as relevant
Assistant Professor Casanova found that although the term provoked mixed responses and was seen as a fading stereotype, the tendencies associated with it were becoming a part of white-collar culture.
'Some men who were interviewed indicated that they preferred dressing up and looking sharp – especially on weekends – even though many American businesses now promote workplace casual dress codes, though this was prominently reported in New York.
'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.
'The majority of the men referred to the aesthetic aspect of the stereotype – men who were well dressed and well groomed though one of the interviewees said it's just a new word for someone who used to be called a “pretty boy”.'