Menus Subscribe Search

Follow us


metrosexual

Is the Metrosexual Dead?

• November 19, 2012 • 5:30 PM

Metrosexual

Your typical metrosexual (PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK)

There was a death announced last week, and whether it was untimely or not, or even genuine, can remain a topic for the cyber garrulous.

The passing was of the metrosexual.

The word is that British journalist Mark Simpson coined “metrosexual” in 1994, that being the word because Mark “The ‘Daddy’ of the Metrosexual, the Retrosexual & Spawner of Sporno” Simpson tells us so. For a definition, I offer excerpts from the Urban Dictionary, with charming stylistic peculiarities intact:

A new name for something quite old. Men with taste & style who know about fashion, art, and culture have always existed. In past centuries, these kinds of men were in the uppercrust of society (more leisure time). … An American Metrosexual is like your average European male. In France or Italy, men can be manly and work on cars and know about art and fashion at the same time. They are cool with that and don’t need some special name for the less “masculine” side.

Being more Oscar than Felix, the term never really applied or appealed to me, but I’ve still taken notice that University of Cincinnati sociologist Erynn Masi de Casanova assures us metrosexual has run its well-groomed course.

Casanova presented her findings, “Is the Metrosexual Extinct? Men, Dress and Looking Good in Corporate America,” over the weekend at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in San Francisco. The takeaway is that while what the term describes is alive and well, especially in matters sartorial, the descriptor itself is passé.

In the best Generalissimo Franco tradition, reports of its death have occurred with regularity. Helene Shugart, a communications prof at the University of Utah, described metrosexuality’s “historical moment” four years ago, historical moment (and the even blunter “fleeting trend”) being a nice way of saying we hope it’s dead because we’re in the middle of its autopsy.

But this latest dispatch from the other side is sprinkled with a dash of research. Casanova (what a great name for someone studying dandies) based her determination “on interviews with 22 men in which the word, ‘metrosexual,’ came up in the conversation,” according to a release from her home institution.  The interviewees were professional men from New York, San Francisco and Cincinnati, and ranged in age from 24 to 58. It’s not exactly the most convincing display of academic rigor, and even Cosmopolitan, in announcing that “There Are No More Metrosexuals,” hedged its bet by asking its readers if they concurred.

Even as the metrosexual met his maker among the anthropologists by the Bay, the New York Times was explaining how to survive the current plague of hipsters, another term that has been eulogized repeatedly (and commercially). Casanova argues that we no longer need the term “metrosexual” because they have become us; has hipster described the same trajectory?

Michael Todd
Most of Michael Todd's career has been spent in newspaper journalism, ranging from papers in the Marshall Islands to tiny California farming communities. Before joining the publishing arm of the Miller-McCune Center, he was managing editor of the national magazine Hispanic Business.

More From Michael Todd

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and PSmag.com, delivered straight to your inbox.

Recent Posts

September 23 • 2:00 PM

Why Don’t More Women Commit Corporate Fraud?

Would having more female leaders reduce corporate crime? We don’t know, but the research suggests it’s likely.


September 23 • 12:00 PM

A Brief History of the Loch Ness Monster

From 1933—and possibly much, much earlier—to just this past May, people have been claiming (and staging) sightings of the famed water cryptid.



September 23 • 10:00 AM

The International Surrogacy Market

In Bangalore, where many women earn just $150 a month working in garment factories, surrogate mothers can make thousands of dollars by carrying others’ babies to term. But at what cost?


September 23 • 8:00 AM

Medicare: Your New Long-Term Care Provider

A 2013 court ruling has paved the way for an incredible, costly expansion of home health care by removing a critical lever the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had to control who receives services, and for how long.


September 23 • 6:22 AM

On the Hunt for Fake Facebook Likes

A new study finds ways to uncover Facebook Like farms.


September 23 • 6:00 AM

The Heist: How Visitors Stole a National Monument

Fossil Cycad National Monument was home to one of the world’s greatest collections of fossilized cycadeoids—until visitors carried them all away.


September 23 • 4:00 AM

Fifty Shades of Meh

New research refutes the notion that reading the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy strongly impacts women’s sexual behavior.


September 23 • 2:00 AM

The Portlandia Paradox

Oregon’s largest city is full of overeducated and underemployed young people.


September 22 • 4:00 PM

The Overly Harsh and Out-of-Date Law That’s So Difficult on Debtors

A 1968 federal law allows collectors to take 25 percent of debtors’ wages, or every penny in their bank accounts.


September 22 • 2:00 PM

NFL Players Are More Law Abiding Than Average Men

According to records kept by USA Today, 2.53 percent of players are arrested in any given year.


September 22 • 12:00 PM

Freaking Out About Outliers: When the Polls Are Way Off

The idea of such a small number of people being used to predict how millions will vote sometimes irks observers, but it’s actually a very reliable process—most of the time.


September 22 • 10:00 AM

The Imagined Sex Worker

The stigma against black sex workers can reinforce stigmas against all black women and all sex workers.


September 22 • 9:54 AM

All-Girls Schools Don’t Make Girls More Competitive

Parents, not educational setting, may be the key.


September 22 • 8:00 AM

The NFL, the Military, and the Problem With Masculine Institutions

Both the NFL and the U.S. military cultivate and reward a form of hyper-violent masculinity. The consequences of doing so have never been more obvious.


September 22 • 6:00 AM

Zombies in the Quad: The Trouble With Elite Education

William Deresiewicz’s new book, Excellent Sheep, is in part, he says, a letter to his younger, more privileged self.


September 22 • 4:02 AM

You’re Going to Die! So Buy Now!

New research finds inserting reminders of our mortality into advertisements is a surprisingly effective strategy to sell products.



September 19 • 4:00 PM

In Your Own Words: What It’s Like to Get Sued Over Past Debts

Some describe their surprise when they were sued after falling behind on medical and credit card bills.



September 19 • 1:26 PM

For Charitable Products, Sex Doesn’t Sell

Sexy women may turn heads, but for pro-social and charitable products, they won’t change minds.


September 19 • 12:00 PM

Carbon Taxes Really Do Work

A new study shows that taxing carbon dioxide emissions could actually work to reduce greenhouse gases without any negative effects on employment and revenues.


September 19 • 10:00 AM

Why the Poor Remain Poor

A follow-up to “How Being Poor Makes You Poor.”


September 19 • 9:03 AM

Why Science Won’t Defeat Ebola

While science will certainly help, winning the battle against Ebola is a social challenge.


September 19 • 8:00 AM

Burrito Treason in the Lone Star State

Did Meatless Mondays bring down Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples?


Follow us


On the Hunt for Fake Facebook Likes

A new study finds ways to uncover Facebook Like farms.

All-Girls Schools Don’t Make Girls More Competitive

Parents, not educational setting, may be the key.

For Charitable Products, Sex Doesn’t Sell

Sexy women may turn heads, but for pro-social and charitable products, they won't change minds.

Carbon Taxes Really Do Work

A new study shows that taxing carbon dioxide emissions could actually work to reduce greenhouse gases without any negative effects on employment and revenues.

Savor Good Times, Get Through the Bad Ones—With Categories

Ticking off a category of things to do can feel like progress or a fun time coming to an end.

The Big One

One in three tourists to Jamaica reports getting harassed; half of them are hassled to buy drugs. September/October 2014 new-big-one-4

Copyright © 2014 by Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.