Chapter 1: Introduction
The Problem and Its Setting
In the times today, people are currently living a progressive life in a progressive age where they have become more meticulous and self-aware about their looks and environment, and thus wanting to have self-identity. With all the resources at hand, each with external and internal factors to be considered, things are changing – for better or for worse. However, as time pass, we get to know more and discover new things around us and in ourselves. The combination of visual and auditory information plus the growing market has now made a new addition to our ranks: the metrosexual.
Changes in culture and attitudes toward masculinity, visible in the media through television shows, have changed traditional masculine norms. Patterned after the controversial homosexuals or gays, who already exist everywhere in the world, the metrosexuals have taken the fashion world by storm. As Mark Simpson put it, “For some time now, old-fashioned (re)productive, repressed heterosexuality has been given the pink slip by consumer capitalism.1 The stoic, self-denying, modest straight male didn’t shop enough (his role was to earn money for his wife to spend), and so he had to be replaced by a new kind of man, one less certain of his identity and much more interested in his image – that’s to say, one who was much more interested in being looked at (because that’s the only way you can be certain you actually exist). A man, in other words, who is an advertiser’s walking wet dream.” Today, there are people, specifically men, who fit this description. He is the new male ideal; the metrosexual man.
The term metrosexual is a neologism derived from metropolitan and heterosexual coined by Mark Simpsons, a British and outspokenly gay social “commentarist,” who first published the term in a 1994 article called “Here Come the Mirror Men,” which ran in Britain’s Independent.2 Metrosexuals are defined as men who spend a certain amount of time and money on their lifestyle, specifically their appearance. The metrosexual is not afraid to embrace his feminine side. They are men of style, sophistication and security.
Able to navigate the social setting, they are informed, influential, intriguing, and very much in vogue these days. They are thought to be vain, and are usually obsessed with the male fashion as well. The typical metrosexual is a young man with money to spend, living in or within easy reach of a metropolis, hence the term “metro” — because that’s where all the best shops, clubs, gyms and hairdressers are. Unlike homosexuals, metrosexuals are straight and they are real men although some mistake them to be homosexuals. Metrosexuals only made their appearance after cultural changes in the environment and changes in views on masculinity, and are usually characterized by their appreciation for literature, cinema, or other arts, has a flair for cooking and an eye for interior design. In other words, he is a man who seems stereotypically gay except when it comes to sexual orientation. Simpson explains in his article “Metrosexual? That rings a bell…” that “Gay men provided the early prototype for metrosexuality. Decidedly single, definitely urban, dreadfully uncertain of their identity (hence the emphasis on pride and the susceptibility to the latest label) and socially emasculated, gay men pioneered the business of accessorising—and combining—masculinity and desirability.”
While shopping, grooming and preoccupation with appearance have long been associated with women, blurring gender roles in society are making male vanity socially acceptable (Cardona, 2000).4 It also has become acceptable for men to exhibit other feminine characteristics including sensitivity, devotion and showing emotions. These men have, “embraced customs and attitudes once deemed the province of women”. Factors including media, changing family roles, the women’s movement and shifting agents in self-esteem development are contributing to this trend in which traditional notions of gender roles are bending and a new man is emerging.
The purpose of this research was to find out second year college students’ perceptions in terms of their metrosexual behavior and identify factors contributing to this current trend in society. The variables of self-esteem, the role of the media and shift to egalitarianism were tested as possible predictors of metrosexual behavior. The study is conducted so that the researchers could have a better understanding on how people react with the metrosexuals, the idea of them, and how they are perceived in the society. Also, this will help us to know first how people become a metrosexual, the external or internal factors that affect a man to become a metrosexual and the effect it has in their personalities, then how these metrosexuals affect the society around them.
The researchers aimed to inform everyone about the metrosexual men and their standing in the society. In addition, they aimed to know the understanding and perceptions of the students regarding metrosexuality, how metrosexuality affects their personalities, and attempt to bring out correlation on metrosexuality perception among college students.