“Metrosexual” is an oft-used term these days, particularly in reference to fashion. Young male celebrities are often described as metrosexual. And you can find metrosexual clothing, swimwear, makeup, and many other items.
So what does “metrosexual” mean? It is basically a generic term to describe a young man who takes pride in his appearance, wears fashionable clothing and is well groomed. And while he has all the style and panache of a gay man, he’s more likely to be straight. Also, he tends to be an urban professional with high disposable income, much of which he spends on his appearance.
For men in the middle and upper classes being well dressed was always a requirement, particularly professionally. But the metrosexual is different. He dresses uniquely. He doesn’t have a standard style; he has his own personal style. He’s not just another clean shaven man in a suit. He wears one that is distinctive and unique. And he’s fit, strong and looks after his skin and hair.
Needless to say, the metrosexual is not like most men. Blokes generally don’t prize their appearance highly, and are apt to “let themselves go” physically, particularly as they approach middle age. Also, in many countries there is a widely held belief amongst men and women that a man who takes care of his appearance is vain and effeminate, and quite probably gay. So, in nations where there is pervasive homophobia, it is much more likely for men to affect a more rugged, blokey attitude and sneer at the whole idea of being metrosexual.
So there is definitely widespread resistance to the whole phenomena. Because of this many have argued that the metrosexual revolution isn’t anything more than a passing fad. Many have compared him to the dreaded “Sensitive New Age Guy” or “SNAG” of the eighties and nineties. The term was used derisively as often as not back then. And it’s hardly ever used now, if at all.
But it must be remembered that the metrosexual has been around for quite a while already. The label was originally coined by the journalist Mark Simpson in an article he wrote for The Independent back in 1994. He expanded on this in an article for the online magazine Salon, in 2002, after which it became widely popular.
While hardly any prominent males have ever wanted to be called a SNAG, many of today’s most famous celebrities are happy to be known as metrosexuals. These include David Beckham, Ewan McGregor, Orlando Bloom, Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, and Robbie Williams.
There are even a few politicians who have been similarly categorized – Bill Clinton for instance. Although older than most other metrosexuals he does fit this definition well. And many are also calling the new American President, Barack Obama, a metrosexual.
These two examples illustrate one facet that a majority of men find appealing in the stereotype: power. You don’t become the leader of the most powerful nation in the world if you’re a wuss! Unlike the SNAG, the metrosexual hasn’t sacrificed his masculinity. And this is the key to why he isn’t an endangered species doomed to extinction, but is here to stay.