Thursday, 17 November 2011

Metro vs. Macho

Metro: A heterosexual, usually urban male who pays much attention to his personal appearance.
Macho: Having qualities considered manly, especially when manifested in an assertive or dominating way.

    In the past the term metrosexual didn’t exist. Of course people had metrosexual traits but it was widely considered that men were men, who did masculine things like chopping wood, whilst women were women who did feminine things like frolicking. However, as society has progressed, it would seem that these terms have been broken down.
    Metrosexuality itself was introduced as a concept in 1994 by the journalist Mark Simpson, as it was noticed that heterosexual men had begun to embrace things traditionally associated with women. Shopping for Tom Ford and groomingwith L'Oréal became things for the modern man and thanks to poster boys such as David Beckham and Nicholas Hoult it would now seem that metrosexuality is normal.

    People no longer need conform to the traditional traits associated with their respective genders and sexualities. A heterosexual woman can be a strong assertive figure like Beyoncé or Margaret Thatcher, just as a heterosexual man can have a vulnerable side and proudly cry in public like Prince Charles on Diana’s death or alternatively a butch rugby player during a rom-com - or so we think?
      As a homosexual who enjoys fashion, shaking my booty to Beyoncé and Mariah Carey ballads from the 1990s, I rarely face troubles concerning my disposition – I seem to fall into my stereotype. However, even in a day and age when metrosexuality is regarded it is clear that it is yet to be completely accepted outside the celebrity world – we still expect men to be men and women to be women.  People still seem to be completely offended by the idea that men and women can spend equal time on their appearances – it’s reversed sexism.
     Having spent the past few years in a day boys’ house I have noticed countless boys struggle over this issue. It seems that every event calls for boys to ice themselves in otherwise unused aftershave as they ponder 'Should I be as manly as King Kong or as metrosexual as a Ken doll?' No doubt, these fears translate into society - will a potential employer take me seriously if I put enough product in my hair to grease a cake tin or will a girl be attracted to me if I don't? 

     And this is where the trouble lies – girls and the generalised idea of what women want. Is it metrosexuality or is it masculinity? Do you want Chuck Bass or do you want Heathcliff? In a recent GQ article written by Victoria Coren, titled ‘Man Up!’ it was suggested that heterosexual men should be able to wire a plug, read a map and pitch a tent, all of which I can proudly just about do. However, I’m not proud of these because I’m a man but because they are useful skills for anyone to possess regardless of gender or sexuality. These are things which the modern person ought to be able to do - not just the modern man.
         She goes onto say ‘don’t dither’ – referring to men who spend ages over their look, ‘avoid cowering – nobody wants to see you shrieking at a spider' and ‘Be the first to say I love you’ – arguably so that she doesn’t have to put herself in that vulnerable position. Once again these are traits which ought to be universal and not just for men alone – shrieking without serious reason should just be banned full stop.

      Whilst Coren is clearly yearning for metro men to become more macho, it is widely considered that other heterosexual girls want the same. They want men to be masculine yet groomed, strong yet gentle, confident yet vulnerable, have swag yet not strut, be perfect yet flawed. Girls want men to be walking talking contradictions and whilst as humans there are innate contradictions in ourselves, to demand them to be demonstrated is just plain out rude. When the concept opposites attract was thought up it hadn’t occurred to me that these opposites were supposed to be innate within ourselves.
      What we mustn’t forget, however, is that these are generalisations. In reality all women have varying opinions on the matter of Metro vs. Macho, just as men do. Preferred characteristics will differ as will ideal looks and interests. All men are different as are women. No one man is a perfect specimen for everyone. We can’t all be 50/50 metro-macho jugglers. As humans we are innately androgynous – we have both masculine and feminine qualities to various degrees. And it is time for us to stop placing each other in boxes and understand that masculinity, femininity and metrosexuality are just concepts which we all fall under regardless of gender.

       Boys embrace both your masculine and your feminine sides as suits – although bear in mind that skipping showers isn’t manly, it’s just wrong. The term metrosexuality was invented so that heterosexual men could embrace their feminine sides without fear of having their sexuality question. Today we shouldn’t care what people think of our sexual orientation and we shouldn’t be so stereotypical. Sexualities and traits have patterns but these are not concrete. Being yourself is and hopefully always will be what’s most important, whether you are metro or macho is so 1990s. 


  1. you are right! being yourself is the thing today! :D and hopefully in the future too..interesting writing. you think a lot of things, and its good!

  2. Fantastic post! Totally agree with you on this one.
    What a good read, thanks for sharing