Monday, February 28, 2011

The Metrosexual Man

By Jessica Noone

The metrosexual man was first defined by Mark Simpson in 1994. In his article “Here Come the Mirror Men”, Simpson defines the “metrosexual man is a commodity fetishist: a collector of fantasies about the male sold to him by advertising.” (Mirror Men) The metrosexual was created through capitalism and its need for more markets. Simpson tells us that “metrosexuality is one of the most flagrant symptoms of a media-tized world: the male body was the last frontier and it’s now being thoroughly explored and mapped.” (Metrodaddy Speaks) The men’s fashion press, including GQ and Esquire, promoted this ideal from the start. In capitalist societies, even the discourse of masculinity has become mediated and commoditized.

Designer Paul Smith uses a brilliant advertising campaign called "Maximizing Britishness," which focuses on transforming a man into the “True Brit”. (Bruzzi 32) This campaign gives men an attachment to national identity through their clothing, combining traditional male patriotism with new masculine style. Paul Smith has been called “the leading fashion designer who persuaded British men that well-cut cloth was not just for pretty boys” (The Times, October 1995).

The metrosexual is a common figure the world over, but it seems that being a metrosexual in America is a precarious identity. By looking at French and other European views on the subject, we can see that the history of a country and its people affect the ways in which masculinity and other social conventions are viewed.

Simpson posits that “‘real’ masculinity has been replaced forever by aestheticised, mediated masculinity.” (Ubermummy) In this way, the metrosexual is a figure of power. It used to be that the metrosexual would stick out among straight men as the aestheticized ‘gay’ one and would lose power due to his emasculation. However, the metrosexual is becoming normalized in our society and men who do not fit this mold tend to be seen as sloppy and careless. Magazines like GQ and Esquire have created a mainstream, popularized identity for the metrosexual. The metrosexual has changed the categories of masculinity and femininity through personal identity and the media. The metrosexual shows sexual confidence and is a powerful figure in today’s mediatized world.


  1. love this!

  2. Great article on metrosexuality!!

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