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The Rise of the Metrosexual

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Have you ever admired a man's hair and said, "Geez, it looks better than mine!"?

man getting face massage

Dr. Wendy Walsh: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest guy of all? The incarnation of the American male known as a "metrosexual" is an interesting phenomenon in our culture. Men now buy products called "Dye for Guys," "High Performance Tanner," and "Power Skin Lift." And many of them spend more time in front of the mirror and at waxing studios than women ever did. So what's going on here? Why are straight guys so consumed with their looks?

Invented by part capitalism and part feminism -- those incestuous bedfellows who thrive on dependency and dysfunction -- "metrosexuals" are both big business and social science.
Let's start with capitalism. In the 1980s, when cosmetic companies looked to expand their market in an already saturated world of potions and lotions, men were the obvious next level choice. (Children came next, but that's a whole other blog!) So, beginning in the late 1980s and early 1990s, men's cosmetic products that used to be limited to toothpaste, deodorant, and shaving cream widened to include a dizzying array of tools and liquids to administer to any case of ugliness anywhere on the body. And men ate up that advertising and reached deep into their pockets. Cut to the early 2000s, and Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" made the trend a bona fide American capitalist success story. Television shows are generally invented as wrapping for commercials. The advertising market for men's products had grown so much that an entire show was needed for all the sales pitches.

How did a noble cause like feminism get caught up with our men primpers? Well, as most of you know, feminism didn't liberate femininity in our culture. It liberated masculine energy in women. This is good. Women needed a little more parity on the economic playing field. We were now liberated to fly jets, run corporations, and even hire our own smarmy attorneys when we needed them. Heck, we are now free to be a smarmy attorney if we want to. Feminism gave us economic power, a voice in law and politics, and sometimes an intimidating presence in our love relationships.

But no cultural shift goes unpunished -- that is, no shift in a world paradigm happens in a vacuum. Other opposing or dependent forces get shifted as well. So as masculine energy increased in women, a natural yin-yang happened with the male gender. Feminine energy began to be freed in men. While body consciousness and sexual preening had been primarily the bastion of women in all primates, human men now became "feminized." Translation: those pretty boys with the waxed chests and the spray tans, whom we fondly call metros.

The biggest point about this article is not that metrosexual men exist, nor whether most women are even attracted to them. The biggest point is that so many people, men and women alike, believe they are making individual choices independent of cultural pressure. In fact, our culture is the most pervasive dictator because it is so invisible sometimes. Remember, it can be hard to see the forest because of all the trees. And sometimes it's hard to see the wizards of Madison Avenue because we "need" those products so badly.

Preen away, you metrosexual guys. Cosmetic companies are happy to have your money. And as for feminine energy, while you're busy buying "Dye for Guys," would you pick up some diapers too, and learn how to change them?

next: What Happy Working Mothers Know
1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous October 12, 2009, 4:50 AM

I don’t like for my guy to “primp” I just find it soooo unmanly. I don’t want a pretty boy I want a man who looks manly. It’s no wonder we have so many boys now that were makeup and those yucky skinny jeans (they should never be on guys)that our youth are so confused about thier gender. Not only that but I remember when a man would never live off a women but now guys don’t have any problem with living off of women. It’s a shame that in the process of making thing equal between the sexes, we somehow cut off the men’s manhood and turned them into a bunch of girlie boys.

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