Archive for the ‘Metrosexual Murderers’ Category

 

I think this video speaks for itself. In ten years this man has got more muscly, more orange, and more coiffeured than his 20 year old self could ever have imagined.

My one question is: what will he look like when he’s 40??

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/via The Daily Edge: http://thedailyedge.thejournal.ie/man-interpretive-dance-with-himself-921651-May2013/?utm_source=twitter_self

 
Freud might have a field day with this ‘Man Extreme’  ad. The (phallic?) snake, eagle and lion are asking to be interpreted more than I have time for here. And anyway I am a bit preoccupied with the name of this gentle perfume: Man Extreme is a bit, well, extreme for something so fragrant. It’s ok, fellas, you can smell like lavender and patchouli if you want. That doesn’t make you a girl. Or does it?
 
Metrosexuality seems to be so blatant, so ‘out’, so obviously ‘feminine’ in many ways – those tits! those legs! that make up! that hair! – that it is no wonder many men, whatever their sexual identity, are a little bit anxious about giving in to something that seriously puts their ‘traditional masculinity’ into question. Before we blame straight men for this macho reaction to the explosion of men’s beautiful self-love, let’s not forget that the ‘gay beard’ craze is just as uptight and macho as any heterosexual expression of ‘manly’ anxiety. Remember 2011’s popular beardy ‘gay movie’ Weekend? And don’t get me started on GayBros – ‘straight acting’ gays who make the 70s Clones look positively forward thinking!
 
weekend
 
Then there’s Ballet Boyz. On one hand, this bunch of pirouetting peacocks remind us how comfortable young men are these days with a) showing off their bodies, b) embracing their ‘feminine’ side, and c) showing off their bodies.
 
 
On the other hand, there’s some familiar ‘disavowal’ of full on feminine flamboyance going on.  There’s the obvious ‘manly strap on’ in the name – Ballet BOYZ, with an added hard man hip hop flavour. And there’s the slightly ‘laddish’ (No Homo) atmosphere of an all-men dance company, run by two men, that enables a (bearded!) Guardian journalist to say:
 
“[the company] doesn’t do ballet. Instead, it does 21st-century choreography with a muscular and occasionally dangerous edge.”
 
Phew!  that’s ok then!
 
It is within this rather ‘backs to the wall’  21st century context of pretty boy, pretty insecure masculinity that Dove for Men have launched a new shampoo. And in which a Brazilian ad for their metrotastic hair care product has caused heads to turn.
 
 
Dove has traditionally described itself as being For Women. So when they launched their Dove Men cosmetics and toiletries range they needed to set it apart from the girls’ stuff.  And they’ve come up with quite an ingenious way of doing so. Judging by the reactions on twitter and elsewhere, this ad is a hit. But why? The advert involves an office worker who is plagued by long luscious locks, a la Pantene for women, and is only rescued by a colleague telling him how Dove for Men can restore his masculinity. Critics have called it ‘confused‘, as it veers between taking the piss out of men wearing ‘feminine’ cosmetics and celebrating (and of course selling) that very idea. But I think the cleverness of this commercial lies in its willingness to embrace the confusion that many men experience when buying into consumerism and narcissism, but also worrying about whether or not they are ‘still a man’. So the machismo that Dove are obviously espousing and exploiting is also subtly put into question and sent up.  Does shampoo really make your hair grow long and shiny? Of course not. As this tweet shows, the silliness of the premise is part of the ad’s success:
 
And making a man enact the exaggerated, posing, overly ‘coquettish’ movements of a woman in a shampoo ad, a subtle but not-missed message is put across about how ridiculous and unrealistic this version of OTT femininity is, and how gendered marketing for the same products is kind of lame in 2013. But for many men (and maybe women too) watching, whilst they are laughing at the joke, they are also reassured by it. Dove for men is a real brand, selling real shampoo to ‘real men’.
 
nivea
 
You’d think that maybe one group of people who are not convinced by these manly marketing strategies would be the ‘beauty bloggers’ and ‘male grooming’ bloggers who see these gimmicks day in and day out. But  the fact that consumer experts such as Grooming Guru are, despite a few misgivings, convinced by products labelled as ‘For Men’ shows how metrosexuality is still  somehow threatening, even to the most enthusiastic metrosexual men. GG says:
 

‘I’ve personally always found the ‘man’ prefix superfluous and silly (though I still think the “For Men” tag has value for brands like Nivea, Clinique and L’Oreal who need to differentiate their men’s lines (often reformulated to suit men’s skin and its unique needs) from women’s. So come on guys, don’t spoil your perfectly good products with thoroughly daft names okay?’

Pushing products ‘for men’ may of course in one sense be a wheeze to make more money – it creates two markets where once there was one – but I don’t think this is the whole story of Dove for Men, Or Man Extreme, or Ballet Boyz. Because the ‘market’ of men’s vanity and self-love (not to mention dance) has been growing and going strong for a long time now. I don’t think anything, not even – gasp! – gender neutral packaging would stop the tide of metrosexual consumerism.  But while that phenomenon is here, it may as well also do the job of soothing men’s troubled, but oh so moisturised brows, about their anxiety over what it means to be a ‘man’ in the modern age. Going back to Freud, I think that in the early part of the 20th century, he was exploring how the gender binary is a form of ‘neurosis’. Now, in the 21st century, I would like us to admit that as long as we split people into this arbitrary division between ‘men’ and ‘women’ and try and flatten out human complexity and the many many ways of expressing our identities, we will be stuck with silly, complicated but ultimately macho ads like the Dove for Men one.

The gender binary, unfortunately, seems to be a winning formula. But I’m not buying.

leland-bobbe-half-men-women%20(20)_preview

We already know Denmark is pretty Metrotastic. But it’s not just ‘gay’ game shows that set it apart from other, slightly more dowdy countries. Now, the Danes are bringing metrosexual gender equality right into the heart of the beast, the hair salon. In a recent court ruling, Denmark authorities have decided that the higher price women pay for their cut ‘n’ blows is illegal. Whilst we could argue that this is taking anti-discrimination ‘too far’, and that there is an objective justification for women paying more at the hairdressers – the fact it takes longer to cut and style their hair – I am quite intrigued and amused by this news.

The main ‘finding’ I am taking away from this equal opportunity tartiness, is that men’s beautification is now seen as if it is as normal,  and as valuable as women’s. When car insurance in the UK got the same ‘euro’ equality treatment, nobody was surprised that rather than making men’s car insurance cheaper, women’s tended to go up to match what men pay. The same I expect will happen with this hair directive.  Salons, that were previously giving men cut price cuts, maybe as a way of playing down men’s metro-narcissism, will probably now charge top price. I am not an expert in this field, but judging  by some of the barnets I see on metro boys these days, I think it is possible they are in the salon as long as women anyway. And with more and more unisex hairdressers, why should one group of customers pay less for the same product/service?

It seems likely that it won’t be long before ‘men’s’ and ‘women’s’ hair and beauty parlours will give way to the blurring and mixing of  these gendered spaces, with universal ‘pampering’ available for all. But what I think is also on the more distant horizon is the end of ‘men’ and ‘women’ altogether. We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto. The future is Metrosexy.

h/t Laura H

versace

With the recent horrendous female supremacist bluster about who are the  ‘real women‘ of this world, I was delighted to be shown this video today.

Because, old hags I mean hacks like Burchill and Moore are not only nasty they are also waaaaay behind the zeitgeist. Metrosexual masculinity, with a little help from its friends, is refashioning gender into something more fluid, more fun, and more flamboyant than those two dames can even imagine.

Hurrah for Donatella Versace and her beautiful beaus in black lace panties. And hurrah for all those men who went before them – often in secret but sometimes out in the open- who cross dressed before it was trendy. And hurrah for the  women who won’t let themselves be erased by a middle aged London media set’s narrow minded view of ‘authentic’ womanhood. These are our interesting times.

Alex-reid-cross-dr_1622886a

h/t @themichaelmoran

messi-

Lionel Messi showed up at an awards event recently, resplendant in polka dots. Some have said he is following in that 80s pop duo’s footsteps, Strawberry Switchblade. I hate to be a pedant, but I myself once aped those goth-pop beauties at my school disco aged twelve. And I think they were more ‘spotty’ than ‘dotty’.

But dots v spots aside, the question is in 2013 is Messi dressing up to the nines for a do ‘news’? according to metrotastic blogger Grooming Guru we are now in a ‘post metrosexual’ age and men’s grooming and preening habits are nothing to write home about.

I’m not so sure. But I do think we now have quite a substantial contemporary ‘history’ of tarty boys. And so rather than women role models it is quite possible Messi is following in the well heeled footsteps of the King (or queen) of metrosexual display, David Beckham. It was 15 whole years ago that Becks caused a splash with his sarong.

So maybe it’s too late for us to get our spotty knickers in a twist about a few dots…

dbeckham

MetroAuntie is knee deep in mince pie mix at the moment, so this will be a short post. But recently I have been doing some important research to find the most metrotastic video of 2012. After a lot of deliberating I have decided that Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe deserves the gong.

Why? Because it kicked off a whole reem of metrosexy men (and women) dancing and singing into their hairbrushes for the delectation of youtube viewers.

The military and sports teams came up with some sterling performances, but my favourite homage to the pop sensation is by the (topless) guys at Abercrombie and Fitch. However the original version is actually pretty great too. The stud who is the object of Carly’s ‘gaze’ reminds me of the model in that classic Levis ad from way back. And the twist to the tale at the end of the video reminds us that one reason metrosexuality is here to stay, is that it is perfectly able to send itself up. It doesn’t really need people like me to point out how homoerotic and sexually ‘confused’ (or sophisticated) it is.

Happy Christmas everyone!

article-2249647-168D2348000005DC-172_634x409http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2249647/EXCLUSIVE-How-little-joy-Romeo-Beckham-kept-Burberry-team-entertained-modelling-job.html

My favourite aspect of this now well-documented story about little Romeo Beckham modelling for the (sometimes dismissed as ‘trashy’) label Burberry, is that now it is NORMAL for a boy to follow in his father’s footsteps, not as a footballer, but as a pin-up.

You Go Romeo!

brad-pitt-for-chanel

Get out the red carpet, it’s awards season, dahlinks! Over at Grooming Guru HQ, a veritable metrotastic emporium, ‘Lab Series’ has won the male beauty – sorry I mean male grooming – brand of the year 2012. Not being one for facial scrubs, I know nothing of this product. But I have an award for metrosexy brand of the year myself.

In the autumn, I discussed the merits and problems with Brad Pitt‘s appearance as the new ‘face’ of women’s perfume, Chanel No. 5. Overall I thought this marriage was almost as successful as Brangelina.

And now I am going to come all out and say that Chanel is my metrosexy brand of the year. The tagline for Brad’s ad is ‘Inevitable’. And the reason Chanel is my winner is that Brad for Chanel underlines just how inevitable it is that one day an iconic ‘manly’ movie star would represent an iconic women’s perfume. That in time, metrosexuality would permeate the whole of our culture. Chanel are not being pioneers here. With men already having been ‘cover girls’ for Men’s Health, Gay Times, X Factor, Nivea for Men, etc, the ‘passive’, ‘feminine’ man model is nothing new. But for such a huge brand as Chanel to embrace the zeitgeist secures metrosexuality as THE ‘brand’ of masculinity today.

And, whether you love or hate Brad’s TV advert, you have  to admit that if something can be spoofed it usually means it’s not a total failure. And this spoof by an American TV show is really metrotastically funny!

http://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/2012/10/19/team-coco-conan-spoofs-brad-pitts-chanel-no-5-ad/1644589/

So well done Brad and Chanel, you’re QRG’s Metrosexy Brand of the year 2012! Pass me the Babycham I am going to celebrate in style.

Today is Little Richard’s 80th Birthday!  I can’t help but hope that Camille Paglia might be celebrating the occasion, with pinocalada and some old 78s. Because Good Golly Miss Molly! if the great ball of fire that is Little Richard isn’t a ‘sexual dissident’ I don’t know who is.

It has been well documented that along with Elvis and maybe even Gorgeous Liberace, Little Richard helped produce the strutting, preening, sequinned phenomenon of Glam Rock. But it’s not just skinny white boys that Richard has influenced. When a couple of years ago, I first encountered the amazing Janelle Monae, I wondered if he might have been her grandfather!

The echoes of Little Richard in Janelle Monae reflect the way that metrosexuality is not just a ‘feminine’ expression of masculinity. It is actually a breakdown of gender difference itself! And men’s increasing flamboyance is best understood in relation to women’s growing ‘active’ and sometimes quite ‘butch’ stance. There would be no Little Richard without Marlene Dietrich, no David Beckham without Suzi Quatro, no Morrissey without Elsie Tanner. Glam men are accompanied by and influenced by and reinforced by Punk Women.

Little Richard interests me for another reason. ‘Black Music’ for want of a better term has a reputation for being ‘macho’ and aggressive, an expression of ‘traditional’ (often meaning, especially in relation to hip hop, violent) masculinity. But thanks to pioneers such as Little Richard, there are some brilliant gender blurring R and B and Hip Hop bands and artists. Do I have to remind you of the narcissistic, sexually ambiguous, lame-clad Prince?

 Or what about the retro, yet metro Outkast?

When I saw Ice T’s great documentary about this history and  ‘literary’ culture of Rap Music, The Art Of Rap, I couldn’t help noticing how ‘self-loving’ a lot of the artists featured were, from their gold chains and nifty trainers to their colourful suits, coiffured hair and the way they courted the camera’s gaze. 

There is another reason to open the babycham, metro lovers and gender benders. Because finally, in 2012, the pathologising term ‘gender identity disorder’ has been removed from the American ‘Bible’ of psychiatry, the Diagnostic and Stastical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders. This news will hopefully please Juliet Jacques who has recently published her final column in her Guardian Transgender Journey series. Her writing has shown that far from being ‘weird’ or ‘sick’, trans people’s experiences, feelings and ideas can be representative of the human condition as a whole. I only hope that the DSM maintains this sensible streak and deletes narcissism from its statutes too. But the problem with narcissism is that it is not possible to separate it into a ‘separate gender’ (though I’d argue our attempts to do so with trans identities fail too). So if we admit that narcissism is not a problem, we are conceding that everyone, men and women and those who identify as neither, have a touch of the Little Richard about them.

And that is even to MetroAuntie, quite a scary thought!

I interrupt my blog break momentarily…

The latest series of Celebrity Big Brother is upon us in the UK. I am not watching, but I am getting the gist via twitter. I am kind of suprised anyone watches the granny of reality TV shows these days. With young bucks such as Geordie Shore and TOWIE having upgraded and spray-tanned the genre, the BB franchise is looking a bit old and tired.

So are some of its contestants. Julie Goodyear is an old dame of soap, but not really delivering the goods these days. And Julian Clary, another old dame, though still witty, is just not cutting it for me.

One comment by Clary quoted a number of times approvingly on twitter demonstrates clearly how out of touch he and his fans are. He asked Mikey The Situation Sorrentino,

‘What’s your function?’

Well, darling, it’s obvious! The Sitch, star of Jersey Shore, the  show that brought reality TV preening and plucking into the  ‘teenies’, and which spawned imitators like the orange-tastic Geordie Shore, has a very clear function. One that he carries out extremely successfully.

The Situation’s function is to get his tits out and look pretty.

As you can see in the photo above, from the opening night of CBB, he is performing his function to the letter.

One reason Julian Clary and those who still fawn at his middle aged, camp schtick, is behind nos jours, is that now, in metrosexual  culture, young, heterosexually -identified men can get away with being as camp as Christmas without having to be ‘gay’, or even considered ‘unmanly’ by their bros.

In a new book, entitled ominously ‘How To Be Gay’, the middle aged gay author David Halperin tries to save the dying swan that is ‘gay style’, and though I haven’t read it yet, seems to fail.

As this rather critical review  says:

‘Back in the 1960s, Susan Sontag – whose Notes on Camp articulated in a few fleet aphorisms most of what Halperin spends more than 500 pages paraphrasing – welcomed a new gay formalist style in criticism by declaring: “In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art.”

Having trudged through Halperin’s tract, I have a proviso to add: what we definitely don’t need is an academics of Eros.’

I agree. Because Mikey Sorrentino and metrosexy young men are giving us all the ‘erotics’ and ‘style’ and ‘aesthetics’ we need in the 21st century. In HD.

This is the ‘end of gay’ and the continuation of metrosexuality.

And I am rooting for Mikey to win CBB. He already has won. Game Over.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/aug/16/celebrity-big-brother-2012-summer?newsfeed=true