The Old Media Metro-Phobia

Posted: February 5, 2012 in Fag Up!, Masculinities, metrosexuality, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

In a very recent article in the UK paper, The Telegraph, we were told that David Miliband has been railing at the Labour Party. His brother continues to bumble and fumble his way through running the opposition, whilst David follows in his true Big Brother, Tony Blair’s footsteps, and makes oodles of cash for doing not much. But he interrupted his entrepreneurial mission to write what is reportedly a rather bitter and ressentiful piece in the New Statesman (lefty) magazine. The Telegraph journalist writes:

‘In this fraternal battle royal, there never was a rule of primogeniture. Combat politics, as Bette Davis said of growing old, ain’t for sissies. If this mincing paean to metrosexual narcissism cannot get over his defeat, and knuckle down to fighting from within the shadow cabinet for whatever social democratic beliefs he claims to hold, that is his choice. It may be a betrayal of the movement he affects to serve. The averagely lachrymose 16-year-old X Factor reject may handle defeat with far more grace and maturity. And it may rankle that we taxpayers are obliged to supplement a political dilettante’s colossal income. But these are the rules, and he may play by them if he wishes.

In short, by all means let this snivelling poltroon of a fallen princeling stuff his pockets to his heart’s content, while popping along to the House of Commons every once in a while to sob into his nosegay over a crashing sense of entitlement denied. But, Lord above, let him be guided by the example of the Duke of Windsor through his long years of exile, and do it quietly. From this David, a period of silence would be most welcome – and if it didn’t end until Doomsday, that would be far too soon.’

 Now I am no fan of any of the Milibands, or Blair, or the Labour party. But metro-phobia gets on my nerves! And I call it when I see it.  David is described as:
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‘this mincing paean to metrosexual narcissism’.
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And it is the word ‘mincing’ that gives the game away. For ALL men politicians are ‘paens to metrosexual narcissism’ – hell, nearly all men are. But mincing? The writer has conflated metrosexuality with cliched slurs about homosexual men, just to stick the knife in. As I said in a private correspondance to Mark Simpson, not so long ago, on reading a blogpost about homophobia in sports – metrophobia is employed in the media with as much regularity as homophobia, it does the job of homophobia, and it is accepted.
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The Telegraph piece compares Miliband the elder unfavourably to X factor contestants, saying:
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‘ The averagely lachrymose 16-year-old X Factor reject may handle defeat with far more grace and maturity.’
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which I find to be quite a clever comparison. BUT the focus on ‘crying’ and being ‘lachrymose’ seems to me to suggest that metrosexuals – and he uses the word elsewhere – are ‘sissies’. In the comments discussion on my review of Simpson’s book Metrosexy, at the Good Men Project, we discussed whether or not metrosexuality does indeed include men becoming more able to show emotion. I agreed that along with narcissism and body consciousness, men these days are changing and expectations on them are changing. BUT this doesn’t mean that being ‘metrosexual’ means being ‘soft’. There are still plenty of perfectly turned out metrosexual men who are as repressed and determined to be seen to be ‘tough’ as their fathers and grandfathers were. And those who show some emotion are not necessarily ‘weak’ in any way at all, let alone ‘mincing’!
The journo calls Miliband the elder:
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‘this snivelling poltroon of a fallen princeling ‘
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and well, I agree to a point. But that has nothing to do with his metrosexuality! Mark Simpson identified the ‘new metro politics’ back in 2010 and made it clear that Cameron, Clegg, Obama and the Milibands are all metrotastic, as was Tony Blair.  Maybe the only one who fell short of the metrosexual ideal was Gordon Brown, and look what happened to him!
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I find metrophobia fascinating and deeply troubling.
Comments
  1. […] The Mail article seems to be suggesting that as soon as a man applies moisturiser he is in danger of bursting out crying. […]

  2. […] by the press, including sportsmen such as Shane Warne and Ronaldo and politicians like David Miliband. It is not as straightforward as Sociological Images make […]

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