Has Shane Warne Ditched His Metrosexual Masculinity? The Mail thinks so:
‘just as you think SHANE WARNE has gone and cashed in every last one of his man points in his pursuit of the fragrant ELIZABETH HURLEY, he goes and emerges with this hulking chunk of macho posturing.
I’m no expert on Aussie-rules marriages but I find it interesting that Shane’s rebooted testosterone seems to have occurred around the same time as he slipped that sparkler on Elizabeth’s ring finger. If I were a conspiracy theorist I might suggest that his weight-loss, metrosexual dressing and baby’s-bottom facial appearance were mere smoke and mirrors, designed to lure Elizabeth into a quick trip down the aisle – and now that he has made his conquest, he’s about to morph back.
The turnaround looks remarkable, with Shane performing an arm-fold barrier and quasi-uninterested stare while his fiancée goes for a full-on bestowed kiss and neck clasp to gain his attention. This could signal the tipping point, where the power starts to turn in Shane’s favour, meaning we should look out for Elizabeth getting a ‘My little beer-belly and hair frizz’ kit as a gift from her groom.’
The Mail are being very contradictory here, because initially they said Hurley was responsible for Warne’s metrosexual transformation, suggesting men only prettify themselves under the influence of bossy women. Now they are hinting that he only went metro to woo Liz, and now she has agreed to marry him he has reverted to ‘macho’ type.
In doing so the Mail are deliberately ignoring the throbbing pink elephant in the room: men’s ‘desire to be desired’ on their own terms. As Mark Simpson has said recently, in relation to another metro man, DJ Phillgood, a rapper who wears bright lipstick and floral print tights:
‘What I do think links this to metrosexuality is the way that DPhill (like Andej Pejic) is keen to assert that he is going to wear what he damn well wants to wear and to hell with what’s ‘appropriate’ to his sex. Or genre.’
And as Simpson has also pointed out on a number of occasions, the mainstream British press is in general, quite ‘metrophobic’, even though it fills its papers with Metrosexy images of pretty young male celebrities. So the negative reactions to Warne’s metrosexual ‘makeover’ have been quite predictable.
But also as Simpson has pointed out, the media is obsessed with comparing ‘feminine’ ‘faggy’ ‘metrosexuals’ with red-blooded, uber-masculine, authentic Real Men – ‘retrosexuals’. As Simpson has said, this is a false dichotomy, because ‘retrosexual’ images of masculinity, e.g. the trimmed beard and loafers look, are just as primped, just as commodified, just as metrosexual as any other. Look at the photo- see Shane’s designer trousers, accessorised with a fashionable belt. See his trendy shades and pumped triceps. And I am sure he didn’t forget to moisturise that day.
This photo of Beckham was labelled ‘retrosexual look’ so really it is just another ‘metrosexual look’:
The main point being, that metrosexuality for me, represents the culture we live in, it is not merely a ‘style’ or characteristic of masculinity (that many, including masculinity ‘experts’ in academia think it is). You can’t ‘reject’ metrosexuality and choose an alternative mode of being a man. There is no ‘opposite’ of metrosexual. Metrosexuality breaks down the gender binary itself, which is why I am so fascinated by it.
However, I think I differ a little from Simpson in that I take ‘retrosexual’ media claims quite seriously. I do not declare the retrosexual ‘dead’ as he does. Because I think the discourse of retrosexual masculinity is very important, and as the above article in the Mail shows, alive and well in Metrosexy 2011. As I have written previously:
‘ I am not prepared to just laugh off this retrosexual resurgence in media discourse. I think it is a sign that whilst ‘the retrosexual’ as a character who actually rejects metrosexuality and all the grooming that goes with it, is dead in the water, the *idea* of the retrosexual is still very attractive to many people.
And in mediated masculinities, *ideas* of masculinity are just as important if not more so, than the actual buffed, big titted specimens walking our streets.
It could be argued that ‘retrosexual’ just means ‘metrosexual denial’ and you can’t have one without the other. If you could, we’d all be totally liberated! The fact that Simpson came up with the term ‘retrosexual’ himself, in his exploration of metrosexuality, really does suggest that the two concepts go hand in hand.’
As Simpson said about Warne, even though he has embraced his metrosexuality with panache, there remains a tiny bit of denial even in him, as he said, despite his appearance, ‘I am still a man’.
But being a man in the 21st century is much more flexible than it used to be, and articles such as this one are just holding onto an outdated myth of ‘macho’ masculinity. Unfortunately it is a myth that is taken seriously by many. Hopefully we will see Shane soon back in peacock mode and the Mail will have to eat their words.