Archive for the ‘Metrosexy’ Category

It’s that time of year where my brain is not up to much for the ‘season’. 2014 hasn’t exactly been my most triumphant year for blogging. I am so grateful for everyone who’s stuck with QRGHQ and for your insightful comments as always. I’m sure 2015 will be more inspired!

But feminist internet land has not been suffering such self-doubt or reticence as I this year. I don’t know if it is just I’m tired of reading the dross or if there’s been more dross lately, but I think we’ve nearly reached saturation point for self-congratulatory, ‘othering’ of everyone else screed from (usually) young, white, respectable nice girls of feminist orientation. Two particularly self-congratulatory feminist bloggers/journalists Glosswitch and Sarah Ditum, both from the New Statesman stable of doom, have produced handy little cut-out-and-keep round ups of their year’s achievements and ‘targets’. Ditum lists her 10 ‘best’ articles and in doing so claims that 2014 was the year she discovered ‘proper’ (aka ‘radical’) feminism. This has given  her a higher calling and a deeper ‘pleasure in politics’ than ever before. But from what I know about ‘radical’ feminism I can only conclude it must be a sadistic form of pleasure indeed. And, as an eagle-eyed twitter pal of mine pointed out, Sarah’s newfound hierarchy of feminists contradicts her claim that she is not one to accuse other women of ‘doing feminism wrong':

Glosswitch’s 2014 ’round up’ also alludes to the notion that some people (not her) accuse feminists of ‘doing it wrong’ and she turns this idea into a satirical list of examples. I don’t get the joke really, because the things she lists in a defensive manner, as if they’ve been ‘falsely accused’ read to me like a list of PR disasters at the very least. From the ‘this is what a feminist looks like’ t-shirt sweatshop debacle, to digs at trans women feminists such as Paris Lees, to unapologetic misandry (for once I feel like defending Ally Fogg here), Glosswitch simply illustrates why #womenagainstfeminism has been one of *the* twitter hashtags of the year, but remains absent from most feminist ’round ups’ of life in the gendersphere in 2014.

Meanwhile Rhiannon Lucy Coslett also of New Statesman (and ‘Vagenda’) ‘fame’ sent her feminist pals on twitter the Christmas image at the top of this post. It’s another attempt at a joke, I guess. But it’s based on the outdated belief, held onto desperately by feminists and their allies, that it’s women (and lady Christmas baubles) who get ‘objectified’ in society and who are expected to look pretty and not much else. Well, apart from the deluge of well-coiffed young men I’ve seen decorating London, Birmingham and elsewhere with their cute Christmas jumpers this year, here’s a Christmas bauble to beat them all. Have a very Metrosexy Christmas everyone! See you in 2015…

The previously shocking phenomenon of men wearing perfume, has become mundane in its ubiquity by now. And men looking pretty in perfume ads is not exactly rare either. So the latest Dior Homme ad starring Twilight heart throb Robert Pattinson almost passed me by. The fact I noticed it enough to stop and think about what it is selling, (apart from top notes of lavendar, sage and bergamot), is mainly due to the fab Led Zeppelin track accompanying the images.

The advert, shown above in its uncensored ‘directors cut’ form, expresses something else commonplace, but probably still worth commenting on: metrosexual machismo. The fragance itself might be screaming ‘IM STILL STRAIGHT’ despite the way it has made the lovely Mr Pattinson sensuous, coquettish, even passive (in this version of the ad, his girl straddles him in bed, and then he’s seen lying back looking all come to bed eyes into the camera). Metrosexuality may have gone mainstream quite a few years ago now, but it’s still not quite out.

Some of the motifs of this advert are positively 1970s in their macho symbolism – the beautiful girl on Robert’s arm reassuring us he’s not, you know… the car he drives down the beach in full on phallic pacifier mode, the red-blooded rock n roll Led Zep track. They all try and comfort the audience, and the man in the street about to indulge himself in some Dior Homme, that men’s self love is not gay. The (post coital?) cigarettes in the (ahem) uncut version of the ad didn’t make it to television,  being just too 1970s and against 21st c health and safety guidelines. And, inspite of the ‘uncensored’ tag, the film as a whole is very safe.

Of course wearing perfume doesn’t make you gay, but it doesn’t keep you straight, either. And I for one would like to see a few more media representations of metrosexuality that celebrate its sexual ambiguity. That is what I love most about it after all.

 

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Thanks to Amanda Kooser at c-net (and to my sister for sending me the link), for alerting me to this fantastic tumblr. ‘Des Hommes et Des Chatons’ does what it says on the tin and juxtaposes photos of hot men with pictures of cats/kittens in very similar poses. I don’t think the concept warrants much analysis, it’s just cute, funny, and clever. Unlike a recent artist’s project, ‘Men Ups’, which seemed to be saying men trying to look ‘sexy’ are laughable, this tumblr celebrates (metro) sexy men in a humourous way. I give it the paws up. What do you think?

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holly

It was a grey afternoon on Finsbury park station. All memories of our blazing hot summer had faded with our tans. We were back to griping about the ‘disruption’ to our North London/Hertforshire train service. Signal failure or something. I went to sit in a covered waiting area on the border of platforms 7 and 8.  Beside the railway a building was being demolished – a college I think. The capital can be mundane sometimes like anywhere else.

But not for long. As well as me and a young lad, staring at his phone hopefully, there was a bleach blonde woman talking very loudly on her device. I started to zone in on her side of the conversation.

‘I just thought I should tell you. She can be very difficult’.

‘We would normally travel with her but I’m doing the launch of the Russian one’.

‘ I think she was pissed off the seasons are so close together. They are just back from Australia and they have to start in the UK’.

‘To be honest that’s all the boys who are forever taking their clothes off!’

‘I’ve told her agent, I put strict conditions in the contract – if she doesn’t behave she won’t get her fee’.

‘There’s you know – dynamics have developed between them. Holly and James don’t get on but Scott’s fine, she’ll be fine with him’.

‘I wanted to be up front about it. It’d be awful if you just got landed with her with no warning’.

Now I haven’t really watched the perma-tanned, coiffed, ripped  Geordie Shore since I wrote about the first episode  a couple of years ago. But I twigged that I was eavesdropping on one of the production staff of the ‘reality TV’ show. The North Eastern extravaganza has indeed done a series in Australia. I can’t really imagine what it must be like for the ‘talent’ as the woman on the platform called the participants in the show. They are professionals now, as she said they have agents and contracts like any actor. But not many actors begin their careers by living in front of the TV cameras full time, and continue to do so with the same group of people for years to come. I’m not surprised Holly is becoming somewhat ‘difficult’. I think if it was me I’d have cracked up by the beginning of season 3.

My train finally arrived. I never heard the end of the peroxide production woman’s phone conversation. But one of her earlier comments kept me thinking on my journey home. She said ‘the boys’ (who must be men by now?!) find life as stars of Geordie Shore easier than ‘the girls’ (young women to you and me). She said the lads just settle in to their new pad, and get on with drinking and shagging whoever they can pull. But the ‘ladettes’ don’t necessarily adapt (or ‘perform’) so easily and immediately. I have often wondered if hetero young men tend to have a bit more of a sense of ‘camaraderie’ than women when embarking on sexual exploits, which, lets face it, are the point of Geordie Shore. The ‘homosocial’ bonding of men in groups, that is somehow, ironically bolstered by ‘homo anxiety’, just isn’t the same in groups of women. As I mentioned when reporting on another metrotastic reality TV show, The Bachelor, alone with a group of gorgeous hotties who he had the pick of, Gavin Henson just didn’t seem very happy. He would probably have had far more fun with the lads on Geordie Shore!

As for Holly, I am afraid I am not going to tune in to see if she survives the next series. And I am certainly not going to watch Lake Baikal Shore, or whatever the Russian version is going to be called. But I do note the importance of this metrosexual, morphing genre of ‘entertainment’ we know as reality TV. And even if Holly is miserable she does get to enjoy this cheering view on waking every morning:

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federer

Last year I commented on Rafael Nadal‘s adventures  – not his shock defeat in the second round at Wimbledon, but his panic when a designer watch he was sponsored to wear at the French Open was stolen (and later recovered).  This year, though the metrosexual champ fell at Wimbledon’s first hurdle tennis-wise, he did not make the headlines for suffering any sartorial crises.

But Roger Federer has. In his first round match Federer sported orange-soled tennis shoes but was banned from wearing them in further matches.

‘Tournament rules state that competitors “must be dressed almost entirely in white” and the powers-that-be have deemed that brightly-coloured soles were a step too far.’

Whilst my readers know I am one of the most enthusiastic promoters of metrosexuality there is, Roger does look a bit sad having fussed about with fashionable footwear now he is out of the competition. A question of misplaced priorities? Also I and others have wondered if Serena  Williams’ bright red shorts under her white Nike tennis dress would also break the rules. This picture fails to show off their flamboyance well but when she is lurching for a ball and her dress flips up you can see them bright as day.

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So far the Women’s Champion of the world has not been reprimanded for her fancy pants. Maybe there is some sexism here with women being allowed to get away with a bit more glamour than men on court? Or maybe Serena,  unlike Roger who is another casualty of this year’s curse of the top seeds, is allowed to get away with it because she’s so brilliant a player.

Whatever the reason for this (metro)sexual inequality, I think it highlights it’s time for the All England Club to relax its clothing rules. It is making waves with other initiatives such as equal prize money for men and women. And Andy Murray emphasised just how much better women’s tennis is getting when he only half-joked on twitter that he’d like to play a match against Serena. So allowing a bit of colour on court seems the least the Board can do.

If the authorities want to ban something, though, why not those speedophobic long baggy shorts all the men players are wearing this year? I can barely get a glimpse of ass!

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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

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As David Beckham hangs up his custom-made designer football boots for good, I would like to say a few words in honour of the metrotastic sporno star.

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Terrible pun headlines aside, most of the response to this news has been kind to the ageing footballer, remembering Becks as an honourable captain of England and a committed team player. One journalist did say that at times he could be a petulant peacock, but can’t we all?

However if you thought this is the last we will see of the man of many hairstyles, on our TVs, in our newspapers, and in our underwear, then think again. For Beckham isn’t retiring at all. His main ingredient in his career portfolio over the last few years has been his tarty metrosexual display. When he was given the illustrious job of carrying the Olympic torch to the London stadium last year, it wasn’t in recognition of his passing skills, but rather for his untiring service to metrosexuality.

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I think it’s interesting that in the same week a much loved star of pitch and beauty parlour has been celebrated, journalists and a certain Labour politician have been going on about a so-called crisis of masculinity.

I will write a proper response to that soon. But I think it’s worth pointing out that one reason sports journalism doesn’t completely annoy and depress me unlike most mainstream media output, is that it is positive about men and what they do. Beckham has been a perfect subject for all those lovely long column inches, and will continue to be so for many years to come. I’ll only get maudlin if he hangs up his hair gel for good.