A new documentary titled Mansome (see the trailer here – and features Morgan Spurlock, Will Arnett, and Jason Bateman) examines the “metrosexual revolution” in the United States:
“I don’t highlight my hair, I’ve still got a pair,” [Brad] Paisley sings in his hit, “I’m Still a Guy.”
But a new documentary called “Mansome” finds that more men care about what they look like. And for them, getting pampered the way women have for so long doesn’t mean being any less of a man…
Many men are throwing out the rigid definition of masculinity — “avoiding femininity, emotional restriction, avoiding of intimacy, pursuit of achievement and status, self-reliance, strength and aggression, and homophobia, ” Latham wrote in his 2011 Psychology Today article, “Where Did all the Metrosexuals Go?”
“There is a growing body of research showing that men are rejecting these narrow gender stereotypes and exploring different ways of expressing what it means to them to be a man,” said Latham. “One way of doing this is men’s increased focus on personal appearance.”
There could be a pretty interesting story here. I would be interested in seeing how the documentary ties in marketing and advertising to these changes. Isn’t Spurlock’s ironic moneymaking ability tied to discussing/exploiting particular social issues for marketing purposes – look no further than his documentary The Greatest Story Ever Sold. I’ve been particularly amused by the Dove commercials about “manhide.” Imagine marketers salivating at the idea of selling products to a whole other gender.
At the same time, this sort of documentary seems like it could end up being hokey and only travel in gross stereotypes rather than really tackle the profound gender issues in our society in recent decades. Spurlock, Arnett, and Bateman all have the potential to be mawkish rather than profound…so perhaps I’ll have to check out this film and report back. Thus far, the reviews at RottenTomatoes.com are not good: only 24% fresh.
How does this “metrosexual revolution” fit with arguments that males are encouraged to be violent in our society through means like movies and video games? Has the “gentler male” view won out?