Is being called a metrosexual an insult?

Narcissistic and self obsessed or just a man who likes to look after their appearance and feel confident about looking good?

When it comes to being labelled as a metrosexual then there’s usually no shades of grey to what people think, they’re pretty black and white in their opinions on this matter. In my research for this I came across a forum discussing this exact topic and here’s a flavour of some of the responses to the question ‘is being called a metrosexual an insult?

If I were a guy, I’d be pretty offended’

‘Yes, it’s another made up label‘

‘nah, just a synonym for vain.’

‘No. I think it just means you like to shop and to look good.’

‘Not really. I bet you probably understand a lot more about women than other straight guys.
And yes, I’m stereotyping.’

‘What the hell is metrosexual?’

As you would expect on a forum, there were some pretty offensive remarks too with the usual morons linking metrosexuals with homosexuals and making derogatory observations. However, what the forum did reveal is that there’s still a bit on unrest out there by certain quarters of the population when a man decides to spruce himself up a bit. Having said that, this forum was back in 2011 and things have changed since then. It would be interesting to see what a new forum on the subject would say.

What is a metrosexual?

It was the British journalist Mark Simpson who first coined the phrase ‘metrosexual’ back in 1994, referring to an urban male of any sexual orientation who spends time and money on their appearance, cultivates an aesthetic lifestyle and is highly fashion conscious. He is the type of guy who might have adorned the pages of Esquire, GQ or The Face back in the eighties but now he’s everywhere and he likes to shop…

So what do you think about that?

Mark Simpson’s definition of a ‘metrosexual’ clearly labelled them as a consumer group that could be targeted by particular luxury brands and there’s no doubt that certain brands have done very well out of them. Brands such as Burberry, Michael Kors and Coach have brand strategies aimed at ‘metrosexuals’ and grooming products such as ‘Nivea for Men’ have clearly defined objectives to penetrate the ‘metrosexual market’.

Another view….

The rise of the ‘metrosexual has also inspired many humorous observations about the way they behave. Here’s the Urban Dictionary’s take on metrosexuality:

You might be “metrosexual” if:

  1. You just can’t walk past a Banana Republic store without making a purchase.
  2. You own 20 pairs of shoes, half a dozen pairs of sunglasses, just as many watches and you carry a man-purse.
  3. You see a stylist instead of a barber, because barbers don’t do highlights.
  4. You can make her lamb shanks and risotto for dinner and Eggs Benedict for breakfast… all from scratch.
  5. You only wear Calvin Klein boxer-briefs.
  6. You shave more than just your face. You also exfoliate and moisturize.
  7. You would never, ever own a pickup truck.
  8.  You can’t imagine a day without hair styling products.
  9. You’d rather drink wine than beer… but you’ll find out what estate and vintage first.
  10. Despite being flattered (even proud) that gay guys hit on you, you still find the thought of actually getting intimate with another man truly repulsive.

The personification of the metrosexual

When you ask people to think about a metrosexual who is in the public eye then most people usually think about David Beckham. In many ways David Beckham personifies what metrosexuality is all about. His penchant for style, plethora of hair styles and his highly-groomed look bear all the hallmarks of the metrosexual and brands fall over themselves to be linked with him and have the Beckham seal of approval on their products. Women love him and men would like to be like him so in many ways he occupies that coveted position of being someone who is admired by both sexes – a marketers dream!

Other celebrities who regularly get listed in the top metrosexual lists include Jake Gyllenhall, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Hugh Jackman. It’s not really a bad list to be associated with really. I think most men wouldn’t mind being in that company.

The fact is, metrosexuality has become mainstream. There’s nothing unusual about men wanting to look good, buy nice clothes and be well presented. Surely, it’s what every discerning male should aspire to be like?

What do you think? It would be interesting to see if views are still divided on metrosexuality or have we become more accepting? Please share your thoughts here.