The Calico Cat
A weblog about business, economics, law, politics, and current events - nothing about cats
Metrosexual: I Hate That Word
Definition of "metrosexual"
The latest buzzword making its way across both cyberspace and regular space is "metrosexual". What's the definition of metrosexual? Some define metrosexual as "a straight man in touch with his feminine side". Others define it with more specificity, such as "a straight man, who lives in an urban environment, who is into designer clothes, art museums, musicals, and other non-macho pursuits." And one internet jokester defined a metrosexual as a person who is sexually attracted to Geo Metros. Besides the quip about Geo Metros, the theme behind all the definitions is that the metrosexual is a straight man, but he's interested in things that the stereotypical gay man is interested in.
Dave Beckham is often pointed out as someone who is metrosexual.
"Soccer star David Beckham, who recently posed for a gay glossy and has dressed up in sarongs and pink nail polish, is the metrosex ideal -- adored by gays and women alike."
(See Charlotte Observer: Local guys could use 'Queer Eye'.) Sarongs and pink nail polish? Sorry, that's not anything but just plain weird!
The popularity of the TV show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" is supposedly another manifestation of the popularity of metrosexuality. And on a recent South Park episode, it is said that the men in town all became metrosexuals. (South Park is not a show that I watch, so I can neither confirm nor deny.)
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean said he was a metrosexual. I wouldn't take that too seriously, because a politician would say anything to get himself elected. Not that I understand how being a metrosexual would win him any votes. But in any event, he's not one because most definitions indicate that the metrosexual is urban (thus the "metro" in the word), and Howard Dean is from Vermont where the biggest town is Montpelier.
Who is promoting the word "metrosexual"?
It's obvious to me that there is an unholy alliance of three forces that are promoting the use of this new term. First there are marketing people who believe that if they can convince men that they are metrosexuals, then they will spend a lot of money on shoes, clothes, makeup and handbags (just like women do) and the companies that sell these things will make a lot of money.
The second force behind the new term is gay people themselves, who see this new "metrosexual" term as helping to make gay people seem cool. They envision a future where instead of gay men trying to act straight, straight men will be trying to act gay.
Finally, the news media loves this word, because they like anything new that gives them something to write about. And the news media is also in cahoots with marketing people (who do you think buys all their ads?).
Why I hate the word "metrosexual"
The very word "metrosexual" calls people's sexuality into question. It's as simple as that. The things that metrosexuals are supposed to like, such as good clothes, art museums, and the theater, are the very things that I had thought just meant that you had class and cultural sophistication. Since when did all of these things become associated with one's sexuality?
I have seen several articles that talk about how the new metrosexual term is taking away the "stigma" associated with non-manly pursuits (presumably wearing decent clothes included). (See for example this article at CentralMain.com.) Hello! Get real here. By assigning sexuality to buying a good suit, you are creating a stigma where none existed before.
I read one person's definition on the internet that a metrosexual was someone who has books in his house and has actually read them. Huh? I thought a person who has books that he read was called "educated", not "metrosexual." Do men have to eschew reading to prove that they're not gay?
Marketing people are totally screwed in the head if they think the use of a new word like "metrosexual" will help them sell stuff. The average guy does not want to be thought of as gay, or even feminine. If you imply some sort of gay sexual connotation to buying an expensive suit, I suspect that you will sell less expensive suits and not more of them. If you want to sell something to a man, you have to demonstrate how it will help him get sex with women, not how it will help him become like women.
Are you only a real man if you wear ratty old clothes and spend all your free time watching football on TV? This is what someone seems to be trying to tell us. I urge you never to use the word "metrosexual" except in articles like this where you write about how dumb it is.
posted November 25, 2003