Mark Simpson wrote about The Guardian’s ‘metrophobia’. In particular the metro bashing of Shane Warne. He then saw an article in The Telegraph, defending metros and it seemed to cheer him up:
‘Thanks to Bat020 for alerting me to ‘Where have all the real men gone?’ by Bryony Gordon in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph which despite the ominous title, comes out in doughty defence of Shane Warne and metrosexuality. Leaving ‘the world’s leading liberal voice’ sounding even more b&t:
‘The survey, by Dixons, found that if allowed to travel with just one electronic device, four times as many men than women would take an iron. In fact, portable speakers for iPods come below hairdryers, straighteners and a male grooming kit in the list of travel products men claim they cannot live without.
“We are increasingly seeing men coming into our stores to pick up last-minute travel essentials, such as a hairdryer and travel iron,” said Daryl Humphries of Dixons. “They often hope their girlfriend won’t notice.”
Newsflash, boys: we have noticed. We know that you sometimes use our Estée Lauder Advanced Night Cream (we can smell it on you), that you occasionally reach for our tweezers, and we have seen you studying your wrinkles in the bathroom mirror. And you know what? It’s really OK.’
But I didn’t like the article ‘defending’ metrosexuals. I will write about why in more detail but here are some comments I left on Mark Simpson’s blog- and some I didn’t. I just can’t bear this ‘for and against’ attitude to what is actually the dominant form of masculinity in our culture. It is too simplistic. I have used the term ‘metrophobia’ but I think it is complex and needs unpacking, just like ‘homophobia’ is complex. I am not pro-metrosexual. I just think metrosexuality = masculinity in our culture. And as such it is vitally important to understanding gender.
‘Real Metros Are Good Heterosexual Monogamous Men:
‘Shane Warne may look a bit weird now, but in the process of becoming a girly man he has stopped philandering and settled down with the gorgeous Liz Hurley.’
Isn’t heteronormativity a problem, even when it is wearing Estee Lauder proudly?
…which begs the question, if non-metro men are so unattractive, how did Shane Warne manage to be a non-metro ‘philanderer’ in the first place?
Before I go back under my rock, I will just add that we live in a *metrosexual* culture. Metro men are not vilified on a daily basis at a basic level- theirs is the dominant model of masculinity. To *not* be metrosexual in our society would make a man a real freak. Remember I asked if a man could reject metrosexuality outright? You never got back to me on that one.
Most men reinforce their sense of being ‘real men’ through metrosexual activity – going to the gym and working out and building muscle is seen as manly. As is ‘looking after yourself’ – looking after numero uno. GTL.
So why is metrosexual masculinity sometimes challenged and sometimes not, by the same kinds of people? One minute they will be reinforcing metro men, the next putting them down. And metrosexual men themselves put each other down for various aspects of their metrosexuality in various different contexts.
I didn’t like that Telegraph Article much.’
‘From the moment that the term “metrosexual” was coined, way back in 1994 by the journalist Mark Simpson, people have mocked and pilloried all men who might fit into this category.’
-AND ANOTHER THING – that above sentence is a crock of shit. It suggests that as soon as you ‘coined’ the term metrosexual, it immediately went into common usage and all men who could be seen as metro were immediately mocked and ‘pilloried’.
That really exaggerates your power, and ignores how masculinity and people’s attitudes to changing gender expression changes gradually over time.
It also ignores the fact that men were mocked and pilloried for being effeminate long before 1994.’
In other words, it contributes to the ‘real men’ discourse, and the idea that masculinity was somehow more ‘authenticly manly’ previously, and is now more ‘feminine’. I understand the feminine aspects of metrosexuality, but masculinity has always had its feminine side, its feminine shadow. And gay men know that more than most.